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.