Like the international financial markets, the art museum is a controlling Western institution.
In her new book on changing patterns of cultural production and consumption, Fatima Bhutto posits that it’s not American pop songs but K-Pop that has become the soundtrack of globalization.
Following the template of NYC, the primary way of seeing in the global city remains, above all, “move on there’s nothing to see here,” and the deprivation of sight is commensurate with a new kind of colonialism.
Think of T.J. Demos’s The Migrant Image as a field guide to art for those interested in the politics of human rights, globalization, migration, and war.
SANTA FE, New Mexico — SITE Santa Fe claims to have established the first international art biennial in the United States. The year was 1995, the theme was “Longing and Belonging,” the raison d’être was to create a global exhibition in lil’ ole Santa Fe, and the response was so strong, according to the organization’s current director and curator, Irene Hofmann, that “SITE Santa FE” shifted from the name of a biennial to a cultural institution with full-time programming the very next year.
The Financial Times kicks off a polemical article with the knock-out sentence, “Europe as a cultural centre is in danger of being eclipsed by the Middle East as western heritage industries struggle with swinging austerity measures.” Speaking to the recession-induced cuts to Western cultural organizations, the Times argues that the Middle East’s status as the locus of international money (based on oil and human capital) make it a more stable patron of the arts, and thus “the new cultural capital of the world.” Including a quote from Met director-emeritus Phillipe de Montebello, the argument runs that as water flows downhill, culture flows toward money. This is a stupid, reductive way to think of a globalizing art world that has never been larger or more universally accessible.