Winter in America: The 2017 Whitney Biennial

by Andrew Stefan Weiner

It might be that some degree of controversy at the Whitney Biennial is inevitable, given its oft-stated ambition to somehow “take the temperature” of contemporary American art. Yet to agree to this objective is first of all to admit that such a thing is even possible and furthermore that it is desirable, when in fact neither of these points is exactly self-evident. Why shouldn’t some Biennials be more limited and thematic, rather than comprehensive?
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Kathmandu Triennale

Making Place: a report on the first Kathmandu Triennale

by Zeenat Nagree

Outsiders occupy a unique position to look in, to observe or to critique. Patterns and characteristics that are unrecognisable or even irrelevant to insiders come to the fore; insights gained and buried layers exposed. Such encounters are commonplace in the art world, unremarkable almost. Yet, the depth and complexity brought by these encounters deserves particular attention when they involve artistic transactions, sites of visibility, and history writing – occurring in the context of large exhibitions, such as biennials or triennials.
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5th Singapore Biennale

The fifth edition of the Singapore Biennale: It could be worse

by John L Tran

The nine conceptual zones, which include explorations of cultural identity, post-colonialism, agency and psychogeography, are a love letter to critical thinking. With titles like A Presence of Pasts and A Somewhere of Elsewheres it has to be said that the letter is written in purple prose, and a little overdetermined, but still – not bad for an art festival in a country that has draconian gum laws.
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Kochi Mizuris Biennale

Timely Provocations: The 3rd Kochi-Muziris Biennale

by Robert E. D’Souza and Sunil Manghani

Far from the recognised centres of contemporary art of Mumbai and Delhi, the Kochi-Muziris Biennale has generated a great deal of interest among the art fraternity. Now into its third edition, the Biennale’s ‘creation myth’ still pervades with nostalgia for how – ‘against all odds’ – it came to fruition.
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Suzhou Documents

Biennialgram from Suzhou Documents

by Shwetal A. Patel

The co-curators of the inaugural exhibition ‘Histories of a Global Hub,’ Zhang Qing (Founding Director of the Shanghai Biennial and Curatorial Head of the National Palace Museum in Beijing) and Roger M. Buergel (Artistic Director of documenta 12 (2007) and Director of the Johann Jacobs Museum in Zurich), set out to eschew what they saw as the ‘largely exhausted’ biennale format. Describing the latter as a ‘bouquet of arbitrary themes’ with an emphasis on spectacle, they argue for the value of depth and sensitivity in bringing together the ancient and modern in a sustainable, yet rigorous manner.
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Biennials: Four Fundamentals, Many Variations

by Terry Smith

When we look back at the century plus history of recurrent survey exhibitions of contemporary art––those we call biennials, triennials, and (at Kassel, itself expanding) documentas––we can see that they slowly established a set of distinctive protocols, that were formalized during the 1980s, then rapidly replicated throughout the world, while at the same time steadily increasing in size and scope.
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11th Shanghai Biennale

Biennialgram from the 11th Shanghai Biennale

by Rose Lejeune

Curated by artist’s collective Raqs Media Collective, the 11th Shanghai Biennale takes its starting point as the question “Why Not Ask Again? Arguments, Counter-arguments, and Stories”. A multifarious and speculative question that seeks to utilise the Biennale as a site that can offer the ‘arguments and counter arguments of our time.’ Offering an often pessimistic view of the present spliced with glimmers of hope for the future, especially through technology, the Biennale explores how questions ‘happen’ in our world and posits that art-works carry within them possible futures in as much as they are always drafts for the, as yet, untold future in the present.
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11th Gwangju Biennale: A field report, or ‘what do biennials do?’

by Shwetal A. Patel

Amidst atmospheres of uncertainty and infrastructural precarity, the number and scale of biennales has seen an exponential increase over the last 30 years. The Gwangju Biennale – Asia’s largest and longest running – is no exception to this phenomenon. It has in recent years mounted ever more expansive and ambitious exhibitions and public programmes, curated by many of the world’s leading artistic protagonists. This year’s instantiation, under the direction of Maria Lind, revels in and reflects upon these dual trends of expansion and uncertainty.
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What are we building down there? – Interview with Niels Van Tomme, curator of the Bucharest Biennale 7

What are we building down there? – Laura Herman interviews Niels Van Tomme, curator of the Bucharest Biennale 7

In a valiant effort to reimagine what a biennale can be, the seventh edition of Bucharest’s Biennale for Contemporary Art What are we building down there? comes with a concept that is both simple and smart. Rather than housing art in various galleries and venues, Belgian curator and critic Niels Van Tomme reshapes our expectations by integrating advertising billboards in the capital city’s infrastructure…
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