Federica Martini

One Biennale, Many Biennales: From the Universal Exposition to Global Exhibitions

  • Abstract

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Keywords: Biennale, Universal Exposition, Crystal Palace, contemporary art exhibitions, inclusion/exclusion, globalization

From eighteenth-century exhibitions to the contemporary art system, biennales have increasingly provided a venue to reflect on the politics of representation of international art and, more recently, on the challenges brought about by globalization. Today, almost two hundred biennales are active in the world. In this new scenario, biennales have ceased to represent an exception, and have become a common type of exhibition in every continent. They thus provide a privileged observation point on how cultural and national identities are represented in official culture; on the dialectic centre/margins in the geography of artistic production; on the dynamics of inclusion/exclusion in the international artistic scene; and on the «ethnophilia» of the contemporary art system.

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