Caroline Turner is Adjunct Senior Research Fellow and Associate Professor in the Humanities Research Centre (HRC), Research School of Humanities and the Arts, Australian National University. Prior to joining the ANU in 2000 as Deputy Director of the HRC she was a senior museum professional and as Deputy Director of the Queensland Art Gallery organized and curated many international exhibitions including the Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (1993, 1996, 1999). Her edited book Tradition and Change: Contemporary Art of Asia and the Pacific, 1993, was the one of the first surveys in English on this subject. She has written extensively on contemporary Asian art and museums. Her more recent publications include Art and Social Change: Contemporary Art in Asia and the Pacific, Pandanus Books, 2005, and (with Jen Webb) Art and Human Rights: Contemporary Asian Contexts, Manchester University Press, 2016.
Okwui Enwezor has referred to the significance for transnational curatorial dialogue of the Bellagio conference of 1997 (Enwezor 2007). Key issues in the discussions, in which I also participated, included the lack of artists from Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East seen at that time in major international exhibitions, including the Venice Biennale and documenta. In the past 20 years there has been a major change reflecting as Terry Smith has argued that ‘contemporary art is – perhaps for the first time in history – truly an art of the world’ (Smith 2010). Nevertheless, despite the global turn and a growing body of scholarship on contemporary art as global art (Belting 2009), the question of whether art history is global (Elkins 2007) remains. This paper explores these issues and the theme of our workshop through analysis of the work of a number of Asian contemporary artists and the Asian and global contexts for art historical formation.