The Global Work Of Art: World's Fairs, Biennials, And The Aesthetics Of Experience

Hardcover | February 16, 2017

byCaroline A. Jones

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Global biennials have proliferated in the contemporary art world, but artists’ engagement with large-scale international exhibitions has a much longer history that has influenced the present in important ways. Going back to the earliest world’s fairs in the nineteenth century, this book argues that “globalism” was incubated in a century of international art contests and today constitutes an important tactic for artists.

As world’s fairs brought millions of attendees into contact with foreign cultures, products, and processes, artworks became juxtaposed in a “theater of nations,” which challenged artists and critics to think outside their local academies. From Gustave Courbet’s rebel pavilion near the official art exhibit at the 1855 French World’s Fair to curator Beryl Madra’s choice of London-based Cypriot Hussein Chalayan for the off-site Turkish pavilion at the 2006 Venice Biennale, artists have used these exhibitions to reflect on contemporary art, speak to their own governments back home, and challenge the wider geopolitical realm—changing art and art history along the way. Ultimately, Caroline A. Jones argues, the modern appetite for experience and event structures, which were cultivated around the art at these earlier expositions, have now come to constitute contemporary art itself, producing encounters that transform the public and force us to reflect critically on the global condition.

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Global biennials have proliferated in the contemporary art world, but artists’ engagement with large-scale international exhibitions has a much longer history that has influenced the present in important ways. Going back to the earliest world’s fairs in the nineteenth century, this book argues that “globalism” was incubated in a centur...

Caroline A. Jones is professor in the History, Theory, and Criticism section of the Department of Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is the author of several books, including Machine in the Studio: Constructing the Postwar American Artist and Eyesight Alone: Clement Greenberg's Modernism and the Bureaucratiz...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:400 pages, 11 × 8.5 × 0.98 inPublished:February 16, 2017Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022629174X

ISBN - 13:9780226291741

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“This is a wide-ranging and ambitious account of the history of biennial-style exhibitions. Displaying Jones’s broad knowledge of exhibition history, the history of philosophy, and current theoretical debates, The Global Work of Art covers great ground and should be of interest to art historians, historians of exhibitions, curatorial studies students, and curators. Here is a significant contribution to the study of contemporary art.”