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Situating Global Art

International Conference from February 12 to 14, 2014

№ 326/2014 from Sep 29, 2014

The InterArt International Research Training Group, based at Freie Universität Berlin, is organizing a conference dealing with the term “global art.” The conference will be held February 12 to 14, 2015. Researchers from Germany and abroad will be discussing the characteristics of global topics in local art forms, exhibition practices, and art criticism. The focus will be on the relationship between situated, local art and the processes of globalization of art. The event is open to the public, and admission is free. Proposals for papers may be submitted until October 20, 2014.

Since the late 1980s, the term “global art” has come to replace both the notions of “modern art” and “world art” when referring to the visibility of today’s art worlds. The discursive shift to global art was accompanied by the emergence of new types of art museums and a proliferation of art events in global cities such as Abu Dhabi, Istanbul, Beijing, or Moscow. In these new kinds of events and institutions, curators and artists seek to break away from the old binaries that have for so long defined the art world: distinctions between modern art and traditional artifact, between the Western center and the Non-Western periphery, or between historical art periods and ahistorical cultural legacies. "Transcending these dichotomies, the term global art has been established to call attention to poly-centered, plural, and transnational art worlds under postcolonial conditions," says Sarah Dornhof, a postdoctoral researcher at the InterArt International Research Training Group at Freie Universität. Yet this process of globalizing art can also be criticized for producing its own hegemonic and exclusive effects. A global conception of art leads to a reconfiguration of the global as well as the local, and therefore to new normativities and power relations.

From this ambiguous point of departure, the "Situating Global Art" conference proposes to focus on recent art practices that are connected to the global art discourse while at the same time queering or resisting the new hegemonic narratives produced by that discourse. They aim to scrutinize the dynamics that unfold between the institutionalization of global art in specific sites on the one hand and local art practices on the other. More precisely, they are interested in the mechanisms, conflicts, and struggles that lead to new hegemonies and exclusions. In addition, they would like to ask how alternative articulations of the local, traditional, indigenous, or tribal become means of constituting site-specific versions of the global.

Time and Location

  • February 12 to 14, 2014
  • Literaturwerkstatt Berlin, Knaackstraße 97 (Kulturbrauerei), 10435 Berlin; subway station: Eberswalderstraße (U2)

Further Information

Sarah Dornhof, Postdoctoral Researcher, InterArt International Research Training Group, Freie Universität Berlin, Tel.: +49 30 838-50333, Email:

Link to the Call for Papers