Project ’1975′ Essay Gerardo Mosquera

In every newsletter of the exhibitions of Project ’1975′ a guest curator or art critic writes an essay on the topic of post-colonialism in contemporary art. The second one is by Gerardo Mosquera: curator, critic and art historian based in Havana. He is Adjunct Curator at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, and advisor at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam. He is also a member of the advisory board of several art journals. Mosquera co-founded the Havana Biennial in 1984, and has curated many international exhibitions.

Art and Cultural Interactions in a Globalised World

The relationships between contemporary art, culture and internationalisation have been silently yet dramatically transformed in the last fifteen years. We have left behind the times of art trends and manifestos. The key issue for contemporary art today is the tremendous expansion of its international circulation. There are approximately 200 biennials and other periodic artistic events in the world, only to mention one aspect in the growth of art circuits. This explosion involves a vast multiplicity of new cultural and artistic actors circulating internationally and whoe ither did not exist before or were confined to local environments. See Universes-in-Universe just to have an idea of how diverse the international art circuits are today.

For example, several Asian Pacific countries have virtually skipped modernism and passed directly from traditional culture to contemporary art. This change has initiated very dynamic cultural negotiations between artistic practices, contexts, traditions, international circuits, markets, audiences and other agents. It seems set to continue in a twofold way. On the one hand, it contributes to the development of ever-increasingly globalised art scenes as a result of the growth of international art networks, events, communications and global public spheres, together with the activity of emerging cultural subjects from all over the world. On the other hand, it stimulates the new energy that is producing valuable art locally in areas where, for a variety of historical, economic and social reasons, one would not expect to see works that could be interesting beyond their local circumstances. Most of this activity is “local” in the sense that it is the result of artists’ personal and subjective reactions to their contexts, or because it seeks to create a cultural, social, or even political impact in the artists’ direct milieux. But these artists are frequently well informed about other contexts, about mainstream art, and are also looking for an international audience. Sometimes they move in and out between local, regional and global spaces. Usually their art is not bound to nationalistic modernism or to traditional languages even when it is based on vernacular cultures or specific backgrounds. Contexts themselves are becoming more global through their interconnection to the world.

Download the smba-newsletter-no.-120 to read the full article.

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