The politics of identity and recognition
in the ‘global artworld’
Identity politics informed by postcolonial critique dominated the discourses
on the interrelations of globalisation, migration and contemporary art in the
1990s and the early 2000s. The previous chapter characterised the position
from which the struggle for recognition of non-Western artists was launched,
designating it the postcolonial position, in contradistinction to the migratory aesthetics position that gathered momentum in the 2000s. This second
chapter examines the historical role and
Travelling images critically examines the migrations and transformations of images as they travel between different image communities. It consists of four case studies covering the period 1870–2010 and includes photocollages, window displays, fashion imagery and contemporary art projects. Through these four close-ups it seeks to reveal the mechanisms, nature and character of these migration processes, and the agents behind them, as well as the sites where they have taken place. The overall aim of this book is thus to understand the mechanisms of interfacing events in the borderlands of the art world. Two key arguments are developed in the book, reflected by its title Travelling images. First, the notion of travel and focus on movements and transformations signal an emphasis on the similarities between cultural artefacts and living beings. The book considers ‘the social biography’ and ‘ecology’ of images, but also, on a more profound level, the biography and ecology of the notion of art. In doing so, it merges perspectives from art history and image studies with media studies. Consequently, it combines a focus on the individual case, typical for art history and material culture studies with a focus on processes and systems, on continuities and ruptures, and alternate histories inspired by media archaeology and cultural historical media studies. Second, the central concept of image is in this book used to designate both visual conventions, patterns or contents and tangible visual images. Thus it simultaneously consider of content and materiality.
The book addresses – in 66 accessible entries – the global circulation of contemporary art in the moment of its fundamental crisis. By using the term ‘projectariat’, the book detours the classical Marxist concept to talk about the life and work of artistic freelancers – artists, curators, critics, academics, writers, technicians and assistants – who, in order to survive, have no choice but to make one project after another and many at the same time. The majority of projectarians do not own much beyond their own capacity to circulate. Thus, they are torn between promises of unrestrained mobility and looming poverty, their precarity only amplified by the global crisis caused by COVID-19. The book is intended as both a critical analysis and a practical handbook that speaks to and about the vast cohort of artistic freelancers worldwide, people who are currently looking for ways of moving beyond the structural conundrum of artistic networks, where everything that is solid melts into flows – and where nothing is certain except one’s own precarity. The book’s narrative is based on a carefully crafted balance between its three constitutive strands: an uncompromising critique of the cruel economy of global networks of contemporary art; an emphatic, non-moralistic understanding of the perils of artistic labour; and systemic advocacy for new modes of collective action aimed at overcoming the structural deficiencies haunting the global circulation of contemporary art.
four close-ups it
seeks to reveal the mechanisms, nature and character of these migration
processes, and the agents behind them, as well as the sites where they have
taken place. The overall aim of this book is thus to understand the mechanisms
of interfacing events in the borderlands of the artworld.
Chapter 1 (‘Cut and paste’) considers the mechanisms of breaks and
continuities in the history of photocollage with regard to gender, genre and
locations of display. Collage is commonly celebrated as a twentieth-century
art form invented by Dada artists in the 1910s
highlighted in drawing this contrast, since we are inevitably led to
consider not only the music in its technical aspects, but the distinctive character of the ‘artworld’ (Becker, 1982) in which its players
and their performances are embedded.
In this chapter, the concept of the artworld will be used as a basic
approach to understanding jazz improvisation as an organised, collaborative social practice occurring in the context of a specific artistic community. In approaching the subject in this way, it is possible
to move beyond the remarkably tenacious, yet quite
reflects on the role of the artworld in political and social debates. This discussion raises several questions about the place of the arts in societal events: should artists get involved in contentious issues or rather take a back-seat position and stage the dissemination of ideas?
Editors: We are very interested to talk to you about the way the museums are going beyond educational programmes, and now work towards developing empathy. Could you tell us more about Documenta 14 , which in 2017 happened both at its traditional location and in Athens to raise awareness
mainly addressed problematics related to globalisation-from-below, whose
prime actors are the many different types of migrants. Taken together, these
two interrelated discourses have made non-Western contemporary art an
integral and thus visible and officially recognised part of the international discourses on global contemporary art. Chapter 2 developed this line of enquiry
further by tracing how, in tandem with globalisation, the critical debates on
identity politics and multiculturalism in the Western artworld gradually
paved the way, in the 1990s and 2000s, for
The portrayal of tattoos in Sarah Hall’s The electric Michelangelo
and Alan Kent’s Voodoo pilchard
. This question can fruitfully be considered through recourse to Howard Becker’s sociological concept of the ‘artworld’.
Becker defines an ‘artworld’ as the sum total of social relationships and productive forces without whose mutual and carefully orchestrated collaboration no individual work of art could be created or distributed to an audience (Becker 2008 : 35). The concept of the artworld helps to overhaul the longstanding, romantic notion that works of art are the unique products of the individual aesthetic geniuses who produce them
institutional multiculturalism in an increasingly globalised Western artworld. Here in Chapter 3, the perspective shifts from the
institutional and discursive transformations to the question of how these
transformations have altered the careers and work patterns of many artists, and, as a result, undermined the nineteenth-century conception of the
artist as an autonomous, self-governing creator of rarefied objects in pursuit
of her/his own individual vision and signature style. In Johanna Drucker’s
words, ‘We jettisoned the idea of originality a long time ago. But, oddly, we