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Regular version of the site

Article

Curating Resistances: Ambivalences and Potentials of Contemporary Art Biennials

Culture, Communication & Critique. 2014. Vol. 7. No. 1. P. 76-91.

The idea of enabling resistant narratives to neoliberalism through dialogical and participatory works, steadily informs the agenda of perennial large-scale exhibitions of contemporary art (biennials) around Europe and the world. Somewhat paradoxically, the proliferation of such shows since the early 1990s depends on this very neoliberal model that values culture for its measurable outcomes. By discussing such predicaments of the “biennial phenomenon,” this article lays out its ambivalences and potentials within the current political–economic context. Moreover, through looking at the case of the 7th Berlin Biennale (2012), a controversial exhibition that prioritized activism and the “real effects” of art in society, the article suggests that such biennial complexities could be better addressed through ethnographic methodologies.