Video (1hr, 26min)

As many commentators have argued in the last ten years or so, we live in the age of biennials. These perennial, generally large-scale and “global” exhibitions have become the cornerstone of contemporary art. But what does a biennial do? What does it offer those of us who experience, study, exhibit in, or pay for them?

In this talk, scholar Anthony Gardner explores these concerns while discussing the growth of biennials in Asia, including the focus on exhibitions rather than on artworks per se, as well as the transformations of biennials in recent years, part of a new, “fourth wave” of biennials after the apotheosis (and, perhaps, exhaustion) of biennials since the 1990s.

Free and open to the public with registration.

Image: The Gwangju Biennale 2016.
Image: The Gwangju Biennale 2016.

Anthony Gardner is Head of the Ruskin School of Art at the University of Oxford, where he teaches contemporary art history and theory, and a Fellow of The Queen’s College. He has published widely on subjects including postcolonialism, postsocialism, and curatorial histories, and is an editor of the MIT Press journal ARTMargins. Among his books are Mapping South: Journeys in South-South Cultural Relations (Melbourne, 2013), Politically Unbecoming: Postsocialist Art against Democracy (MIT Press, 2015), and the anthology NSK From Kapital to Capital (with Zdenka Badovinac and Eda Čufer, MIT Press, 2015). His latest book, co-authored with Charles Green (University of Melbourne), is Biennials, Triennials, and Documenta: The Exhibitions that Created Contemporary Art (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016).

Anthony Gardner’s talk is part of The Ha Bik Chuen Archive Project (2016–2019), generously supported by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust.

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