The 1990s were characterised, among other things, by the triumph of neoliberal globalisation, although this process had in fact been underway for some time. This aspect would similarly become a fundamental component of art. It can therefore be said that this story began in 1989, the year when the Berlin Wall fell and during which three exhibitions were staged that dealt with art’s global meaning: the Havana Biennial (Havana), The Other Story (Hayward Gallery, London) and Magiciens de la Terre (Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris). But this idea of globalisation was not only thematic; it also became consolidated in the proliferation of worldwide international exhibitions that expressed the fantasy of a borderless planet open to the free circulation of art. Using Stewart Smith’s installation Trans_actions (2012) as its starting point, this talk takes us back to the origins of the biennials and mega-exhibitions of the 1990s by looking at various paradigmatic examples.
Anna Maria Guasch is Professor of Contemporary Art History at the University of Barcelona. She has published extensively on the international art of the latter half of the 20th century and the exhibitions that created it. Her main lines of research today are archive, memory and contemporary art, art history and visual studies and also contemporary art and globalisation. Notable within the latter are her books El arte en la era de lo global (1989-2015), published by Alianza Forma in 2016, The Codes of the Global in the Twenty-First Century (Ediciones UB, 2018) and The Turns of the Global (Ediciones UB, 2019). She has been a visiting fellow at the universities of Princeton, Yale, Columbia and San Diego and also the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, as well as a visiting scholar at the Getty Research Institute.