A man and a woman are sitting on a bench while looking into the camera


Nothing to Declare? − World Maps of Art since '89

Nothing to Declare? is the question posed by the exhibition project at the Academy of the Arts in Berlin on Pariser Platz. It was conceived in cooperation with the ZKM as a follow up to the large show in Karlsruhe, “The Global Contemporary. Art Worlds after 1989” (2011/2012).


The rhetorical question of the title plays with today’s situation of a globalized world in which artworks of various origins travel from exhibition to exhibition and cross state borders and at the same time call up the question of whether they can be understood everywhere independently from their regional context.

At the center of the Berlin show is a documentation which presents four thematic areas of the globalization process as focal points in the world of art, such as: art exhibitions that juxtapose the theme of globalization as an artistic practice; the world-wide boom of museums of contemporary art; or the so-called alternative spaces, with the question of which of the various concepts can be realized. In a third chapter, the international art market will be analyzed and finally a fourth section visualizes the rapid, worldwide spread of biennials which define the new art regions and serve as “relay stations for a worldwide distribution of art” (Hans Belting). The panorama projection “trans_actions: the Accelerated Art World 1989-2011” by Stewart Smith, Robert Gerard Pietrusko and Bernd Lintermann, developed at the ZKM | Institute for Visual Media, uses comprehensive data to analyze the time lapse and the geographic spread of the global practice of art.

These structural changes also correspond with the formation of a new critical practice in the arts. With their personal view of the geopolitical and cultural changes, fifteen selected artworks expand the panorama.

Since 2006, the research project Global Art and the Museum (GAM) has dedicated itself to this question with numerous events at the ZKM | Karlsruhe including conferences, workshops, summer academies, and three publications. The ZKM exhibition “The Global Contemporary” was a first account taking of 2011/12. In March 2013, the publication “The Global Contemporary and the Rise of New Art Worlds” appeared, which summarizes the research results of GAM and documents the exhibition “The Global Contemporary.” The well-known magazine “Publishers Weekly” introduces this new MIT press publication in its recommended publications for Spring of 2013. The volume sketches how the geography of the arts has changed since the end of the Cold War. Today, contemporary art no longer has to be defined, exhibited, interpreted, or acquired according to a blueprint created in New York, London, Paris or Berlin. The art world has become art worlds. Especially with the emergence of new art scenes such as those in Asia, the Middle East, or the explosion of biennials, globalization of the arts is comparable with that of the greater world economy. The book presents in detail a new cartography in light of the globalization process as well as the increasing significance of contemporaneity in the last twenty years. Available at the ZKM | Shop.

Category: Exhibitions