Biennialization-as-banalization, promotion, and resistance
in Above sea
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Chapter 3 investigates the turn of the twenty-first-century global expansion of Shanghai’s contemporary art vis-à-vis the first international iteration of China’s premier contemporary art event, the Chinese Communist Party-sponsored 2000 Shanghai. The chapter theorizes biennialization-as-banalization vis-à-vis contemporary exhibition practices and the promotion of contemporary Chinese art. The chapter argues that the Shanghai Biennial’s curators’ hopes of harnessing the spirit of Shanghai were ultimately supplanted by a generic brand of global contemporary art that neglected the city’s unique historical features and current concerns. This chapter then examines critical responses to the 2000 Shanghai Biennial and critiques of the global positioning of Shanghai’s contemporary art as seen in Ai Weiwei and Feng Boyi’s counter-exhibition “Fuck Off” and in two related works by artists Zhou Tiehai and Yang Fudong.

Above sea

Contemporary art, urban culture, and the fashioning of global Shanghai

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