Globalization as a phase in the geo-political transformation of the world is at once a transformation of art – of the conditions of its production, and possibilities of its diffusion and dissemination and presence. At the same time, artists, and above all the institutions of art, are faced with the questions as to the extent to which the concept global can and must be thought – and how this reflects back on its own methods of working. By means of artistic approaches and documentary materials, the exhibition The Global Contemporary. Art Worlds After 1989 examines the way in which globalization, both with its pervasive mechanisms of the market and its utopias of networking and generosity, impacts upon the various spheres of artistic production and reception. The critical analysis of the key institutions and dispositives of the art world seeks to illustrate the manner in which globaliza tion has both shaped and itself become a theme in artistic production that intentionally creates and reviews its own conditions and parameters. With The Global Contemporary. Art Worlds after 1989 the ZKM | Karlsruhe, as a utopian factory and work place in the best sense of the meaning, itself plans to thematize these conditions, which also influence everyday life beyond the art world: to make the museum itself a site of contemporaneity – a place in which local experiences of time subvert the unity of the new universal time.
At the same time, one of the integral aspects of the exhibition is its self-reflective dimension. In a specially organized artist-in-residence program more than twelve international artists discuss the issues surrounding the project, and help to throw critical light on the exhibition’s concepts. This critical discussion will take place in the studio inside the exhibition space in which visitors, mediators and artists realize artistic-educative projects, workshops and temporary presentations, and thus together help shape and co-author. Lastly, the critical, scholarly discourse initiated at the inception of the research project Global Art and the Museum (GAM) will be pursued throughout the course of the exhibition before being published in a comprehensive catalog.