, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

From World Art to Global Art. View on a New Panorama

Hans Belting / 2013

Recent books with titles such as World Art History and Global Art History seem to suggest that the two terms can be used as synonyms. But, in fact, world art and global art today have very different meanings, ever since the notion global art came up around twenty years ago. World art is an old idea complementary to modernism, designating the art of the others because or although it was mostly to be found in Western museums. It continues to signify art from all ages, the heritage of mankind. In fact, world art included art of every possible provenance while at the same time excluding it from Western mainstream art – a colonial distinction between art museums and ethnographic museums. World art is officially codified in international laws for the protection of cultural heritage and monuments. Global art, on the other hand, is recognized as the sudden and worldwide production of art that did not exist or did not garner attention until the late 1980s. By its own definition global art is contemporary and in spirit postcolonial; thus it is guided by the intention to replace the center and periphery scheme of a hegemonic modernity, and also claims freedom from the privilege of history (for an overview of publications see: this volume*, pp. 60–73).
This essay was written to prove how the notion of world art and its new companion term global art came into use, how the meaning of the terms changed, and what they reveal about the history of ideas and the inherent notions of art. I hope to make it clear how terminology provides a key to understanding the underlying intentions. However, one and the same notion, namely world art, also changed what it referenced, especially when the term global art came into use. This essay is divided into four parts, and begins with the concept of world art before turning to global art. A Paris exhibition in 1989 serves as a missing link, as it marked the time when world art split from global art. A fourth and final section deals with art history and its new challenges.

World art was initially coined as a colonial notion that was in use for collecting the art of “the others” as a different kind of art, an art that was also found in different museums where anthropologists and not art critics had the say-so. The so-called Atlas of World Art, which John Onians edited in 2004, admittedly corrected this bias by including Western art in such an overview, the only remaining distinction being geographical difference. But up to this date the colonial connotation had been inherent in the conception of world art. It was central to the separation of world art from Western art by the abyss created by art history’s narratives. The Vienna school of art history, a hundred years ago, favored the term Weltkunst in order to expand the discipline’s field of competence. In this sense, Heinrich Glück, in the Festschrift for Josef Strzygowski, in 1934, wrote a study with the title Hauptwerke der Weltkunst. In Germany,
the magazine Die Kunstauktion, founded in 1927, was -relabeled Weltkunst in 1930 since world art had become -attractive for collectors. For some people, world art nourished a feeling of nostalgia whenever they felt dis-illusioned with modern art and longed for a lost past. This is not to say that a general study of art production across the world makes no sense; it depends on which purpose its description serves and whether it includes or excludes the one who is speaking. “World History,” as initiated by William H. McNeill and others in the postwar period, proved to be a successful approach; however, it left no doubt that it included the West and that there was no longer a Eurocentric view of the “other”
as a subject for writing history.1 Ultimately, historians have the same problem with a terminology that distinguishes between world history and global history – despite the obvious need for such a distinction in the global age. History has less of a problem in the case of “world literature” as a comparative field of studies and in the sense that Goethe used the term when he recomposed the German translation of Arab poems in his West-Eastern Divan. After all, translation as a burden and challenge distinguishes literature from the field of art. Colonial trading and collecting of art and artifacts was always directed toward single objects or artifacts, which more often than not were deprived of their history and previous use when they arrived in Western collections. When we look back on colonialism the reader and the collector are two different roles.
The history of the world art discourse also distinguishes the background of two schools which have introduced education in world art into the academic curriculum. There is, on the one hand, the new School of World Art Studies at Leiden University, which was initiated as an interdisciplinary project by the art historian Kitty -Zijlmans and the ethnographer Winfred van Damme.
At Leiden, the global production of today’s art is seen against the presence of the colonial history of the Netherlands.2 And, on the other hand, there is the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts at the University of East Anglia in Norwich whose Department of Art History was renamed in “Departmentof World Art Studies” in 1992. In this case, the Sainsbury Collection of art from Africa and Oceania was presented to the university as a gift, and John Onians, in his Atlas of World Art, paid tribute to the legacy of the Sainsbury collection in his own way.3 The magazine World Art, which was launched by the Sainsbury Centre in March 2011, in its editorial pointed to
“a major change in attitudes concerning what art is.” “World art,” the text continued, “has widely differing resonances,” and is “centered on human creativity […]. The consideration of ancient cultures around the globe must inform a broader rethinking of world art.”
The Sainsbury collection was, however, guided by a Kantian value judgment as an aesthetic postulate. This justified art by what seemed to be its universal and timeless form, purified from whatever content and cultural context. Thus, so-called world art was regarded as evidence that art had always been modern and had always been nothing but form, whatever its cultural conditions may have been. This view served both ends and justified modern art as well as world art. The Sainsbury family enjoyed “primitive” art for the same reasons as modern art, collecting the one and the other side by side. The collector Sir Robert Sainsbury found general consent when he confessed, to quote from the mission statement of the museum, that he had brought together “work spanning 5000 years of human creativity.” This confidence, however, only worked when the two parties were neatly separated: on the one hand the anonymous object, and on the other modern artists who by definition had to be Western and, preferably, British, like Francis Bacon whose work was collected in the 1950s by the Sainsbury family.
The Sainsbury Centre in the meantime acknowledges the fact that a watershed separates the traditional artisan, as he appeared in a colonial gaze, from a postcolonial artist who was born into the diversity and coevalness of “contemporary worlds,” to borrow Marc Augé’s felicitous term, and can no longer be represented by an ethnographic object.4 He or she may work next door as an artist-in-residence. At the British Museum, the Department of Ethnography, with its rich collections also from the Sainsbury family, started an initiative to actively collect contemporary art and to collaborate with artists, mostly of African origin, as a wall text informed visitors to the collection in 2007.5 But artists from the former colonies turned against such Western collections with their postcolonial critique, since these did not allow for the self-representation of their ancestors. Also Western curators of ethnographic museums face a crisis which makes the collection principles and exhibition practices a difficult problem. Sally Price points up the problem trenchantly in her book Primitive Art in Civilized Places, an acerbic account of the appropriation politics of foreign artifacts and religious art in Euramerica.6
World art – a kind of aesthetic appropriation of objects as pure “form” or as proof of individual creativity on a universal scale – was best described in André Malraux’s book Le musée imaginaire7, first published in 1947, a book based on a universal aesthetics despite cultural and historical differences.8 The author, a writer with personal experience of the French colonies in Asia, claimed to have overcome the traditional dualism between (Western) art and (ethnic) world art, which he identified as an outdated colonial attitude. Malraux also applied a Western art concept, the formalism of those days, without regard to the chronology and geography of art history, and compared medieval Western art and Buddhist sculpture or the art of Gandha-ra. Paradoxically, he still worshipped the museum, even if he dreamed of an ideal museum without walls, a museum in the brain or, for that matter, in a book.
World art, in the meantime, matters for identity politics in cultures that had no previous share in colonial selecting and collecting. Their history, whether precolonial or colonial, was embedded in and embodied by objects as items of cultural practice, but usually this was lost with their entry into a Western museum. Neil MacGregor, the director of the British Museum, therefore turned the tables when he published his BBC series A History of the World in 100 Objects in 1996. He gave their history back to the objects and also included modern Western examples or objects with a colonial use among them. The change from the exhibition hall to the text of a book also made it possible for him to include specimens of mass culture from the modern age.
But world art nowadays also receives unwelcome attention due to the growing pressure of repatriation claims from the former colonies. Metropolitan museums of the West, often accused of being outposts of empire and colonialism, today have to rethink their arguments in order to defend their collections. The British Museum is among them, and Neil MacGregor, claimed his museum to be “not only a museum of the world but also a museum for the world.”9 Along these lines he opened a blockbuster show with the Chinese Terracotta Army that attracted large crowds in 2007,10 thus ascertaining his claim not only to own, but also to promote world art. A bookshop on Great Russell Street I came across at the time, unintentionally offered a telling -example for the need of our distinction. The owner of the shop presented two books on world art and one on global art, although all three books were about art from China, side by side in the same window display.11 The catalog of the show at the British Museum across the street shared the window with a book that was dedicated to visits to the studios of living Artists in China, as the title stated, and therefore would not have been possible as recently as twenty years ago.
The relation of world art to modern art, as the very canon of Western art, was linked to the notion of so-called Primitivism, as Robert Goldwater called a certain current of modern avant-garde in his book Primitivism in Modern Painting of 1938, published a few years after the MOMA had launched the exhibition African Negro Art in 1935. Primitivism, one of the basic creeds of modernism, was represented, and representable, for the last time ever in William Rubin’s Museum of Modern Art show of 1984 when its time already was over and the -reviews concentrated almost unanimously on the ethnocentric bias of the concept. The show’s subtitle “The Affinity of the Tribal and the Modern” was an attempt to explain, and to exculpate, the hegemonic appropriation of tribal artifacts by modern artists who borrowed “primitive” forms for their own work, thus translating them into an idiom of modern art. After the fact, the -so-called affinity was celebrated as a proof of the universality and timeless formal value of the modernist canon. But James Clifford, in a review of the show, -objected that one should “question the boundaries of art and the art world,”12 and also opposed the distinction between modernist art and traditional craftsmanship in a colonial discourse.
A few years later, in 1988, Susan Vogel launched the exhibition Art/Artifact in the Center for African Art in New York as an attempt to reconsider the issues of the MOMA show. The debate about art and artifact had been lingering on for quite some time and had divided the exhibition practice of ethnographic museums. However, now the debate took a new turn. The shift happened at a moment when the Western concept of art had lost its clear profile in contemporary practice and had left the definition of art up in the air. A symposium linked to the 1988 show addressed the question “What makes something art?”. Thomas McEvilley, one of the participants, stated that “the boundaries of what had been called art had been stretched to the point where it seemed silly even to bring it up,” and he added that -so-called primitive art “is the only context left, which brings up the question of what is art.” As a result he -proposed “anthropology as a cultural critique, not forcing objects from other cultures into our categories, but rather allowing those objects to raise questions about ours.” The author concluded: “The fact that we designate something as art means that it is art for us, but says nothing about what it is in itself or for other people.”13 In the catalog of Susan Vogel’s show, Arthur C. Danto not only challenged the modernist creed of universal art. He even turned the debate about the so-called primitives on its head and maintained “there is no art more advanced than theirs.”14 In other words, the notion of “art” had lost its clear agenda in late modernism and could no longer be applied to or turned against the ethnographic object. Rather, the debate centered after 1989 on the question of how to deal with the fact that modern international art had lost its geographical frontiers, or home base, and had now ended up in global art, as the new distinction from world art was called. The former dualism of art and artifact was put aside when contemporary art production in a professional sense had become general practice and was no longer the West’s prerogative.

A first step along this road was taken by the Havana Biennial, founded in 1984, at its two venues in 1986 and 1989. With 690 artists from 57 countries, the 1986 Biennial “created a new space, acting as a gigantic ‘Salon des Refusés’,” to quote Gerardo Mosquera.15 The focus on Latin America was a critical response to mainstream art, although the notion of “Third World Art” was only included in the official title for the 1989 venue. The two Havana Biennials still insisted on otherness and proclaimed an alternative internationalism without the dictate of Eurocentrism. Already in 1987, Rasheed Araeen had founded the periodical Third Text as a critical forum “for Third World Perspectives on the visual arts.” The concept of “Third World” went out of use with the end of the Cold War but it served as an interlude -before global art emerged (see: this volume*, pp. 41–48). The third Havana Biennial, in 1989, mixed high art with popular art in order to undermine the Western art system and to insist on local traditions other than art history’s narratives.16
The MOMA exhibition of 1984 had still been a colonial project, although it took place in the postcolonial era. Jean-Hubert Martin was ready to go beyond this divided world by proclaiming division as a practice had to be abolished. Magiciens de la terre, as the participants were called to avoid any protests by Western art critics, was hailed as “the first really global exhibition of contemporary art” (La première exposition reellement mondiale d’art contemporain), to quote the Gazette des Arts (see: this volume*, pp. 66–67 and pp. 212–220). The huge discussion and dissent which his show provoked, was not only due to its location in a former center of colonial politics and modernist Western art. Of equal importance was the unprecedented confrontation of a number of renowned Western artists with an equal number of formerly excluded artists from what had been the colonies. Each artist was given equal treatment, two pages in the catalog, giving only his or her name, work title, and place of birth.
It was a bold step to leave the opposing worlds of modern art and world art behind and to arrive in a shared world of global art. But Martin was accused of continuing the colonial game of the authentic because of selecting so-called “native” artists as the counterparts of their Western colleagues, especially since postcolonial artists working with video and installation already -replaced the former artisans. Martin also invited professional artist, for example, Chéri Samba, who presented his artistic self in the show with a self-portrait and a biography: the anonymous artisan from Africa had become a face with a name and a professional career. In the end the show succeeded in that both parties, even against their will, emerged as contemporaries with a name and a passport. The one no longer looked modern, and the other no longer ethnic in the old colonial sense. A few years later, in 1995, Jean-Hubert Martin became the director of André Malraux’s Musée des Arts d’Afrique et d’Océanie (founded 1962) in Paris. As par-ticipating curator of the first Johannesburg Biennale, -Africus, in the same year, Martin analyzed what he hoped would be a new future for world art, as a contemporary practice, in the museum.17 He distinguished between the ethnographic museum, where everything is explained, and the art museum where living artists, as representatives of human creativity, would honor “art’s heroes and ancestors.” But the boundaries, as he argued, were to become “increasingly unclear, and we have yet to create an art museum […] where artists of all the world can meet […] and compare themselves with historical works.” His own museum in Paris, Martin hoped, would “become such a place” and also artists would be able to take over the former role of anthropologists. At that time Martin did not know that his museum would soon be incorporated in the newly created Musée du Quai Branly in Paris, which opened its doors in 2006 and initially excluded professional contemporary artists from Africa and Oceania in order to celebrate once again the old myth of the arts premiers, a myth from colonial times. André Malraux had founded his museum as a place where ethnic art would be staged as an aesthetic experience, as was the creed of modernist times. In the meantime, however, such a colonial attitude was pass., and it was generally agreed that Malraux’s project no longer represented the global age.18

In 1990, Thomas McEvilley, who had previously contributed to the catalog, reviewed the Magiciens show under the heading “The Global Issue.”<sup>19</sup> Despite all criticism, whether from the right or the left, he acknowledged that the show was a first attempt to curate art in a truly postcolonial way. This was also the general response in the July 1989 edition of the magazine Art in America where a review of the Magiciens exhibition appeared titled “The Whole Earth Show.” The front cover of the same magazine featured a NASA shot of the Earth together with the title “The Global Issue” (see: this volume, pp. 64–65). For the first time the planetary view had been taken from an extraterrestrial position in space.
In order to justify what was a neologism in the art scene, the magazine presented six statements on the global world, including a text by the artist Martha Rosler and one by the anthropologist James Clifford. There was a general feeling about the danger of an unwelcome homogenization and consumer culture, caused by the -euphoria of Theodore Levitt’s view of “the marketing -imagination.”<sup>20</sup> Nevertheless, Craig Owens concluded: “Perhaps it is in this project of learning how to represent ourselves – how to speak to, rather than for or about, others – that the possibility of a ‘global’ culture resides.”<sup>21</sup> Further, the interviews with fourteen “peripatetic artists,” as they were labeled in the same edition, confirmed that a global space for art was in the making.
History writing changed as well with the arrival of globalization. A “New Global History,” as Bruce Mazlish called it, “focuses on the history of globalization” and views “processes that are best studied on a global rather than a local, national, or regional level.”<sup>22</sup> After all, he continued, “globalization is a process now going on around us, while world history stretches in all directions. One speaks of globalization; one can hardly speak of worldlization as a movement operating today.” It was a paradox to write a history not of the past, but of living together on the planet.
Globalization, indeed a road of no return, provided a place for artists who for a long time had been excluded with the label world art. Thus we can call the Magiciens show an intermezzo in which the cards were shuffled again. One could also call it a rite de passage, which marked a one-off transitory event that passed. The project would have been impossible before, and was no longer possible afterwards when globalization had opened up a new territory of art. Both terms, modern art and world art, suddenly looked old. The Magiciens project led into no man’s land where we still are and where we navigate with the help of provisional terminology. The show happened at the same time the posthistory debate reached its climax and the Cold War, with its confrontation of two systems, collapsed. It now seemed that inter-national art, an art between nations, though to be sure Western nations, had been an affair of the modern age and that the term no longer covered a polycentric map where cultures took over the former distinctions of nations.
With the Paris Magiciens show, global art made its entry into the art world. While world art remained synonymous with the art heritage of the “others,” global art by contrast crossed the boundaries and demanded acceptance as a contemporary practice on an equal footing with Western art. As the term global art was not yet acceptable to everybody, in January 1992 the journal Kunstforum International returned to the term “Weltkunst,” but linked it to an explanatory definition of “Globalkultur.” The editor, Paolo Bianchi, reminded his readers that a new kind of ethnicity was transforming the visual arts.<sup>23</sup> Ethnicity had been a concern in the debate on world art, but never in modern art. Now it became an issue in aspirations to identity and difference even for those who presented themselves as postethnic (for example, as “artists from Africa” instead “African artists”).<sup>24</sup> As a result, curators of biennials take over the former “fieldwork” of ethnographers to promote local artists and to create new “art regions” with a common transnational profile.
There was another notable episode in the terminology of the 1980s. Shortly before the term global art became firmly established, the old term world art was given a new significance as a label for the emerging new geography of art production. Thus, Jean-Louis Pradel’s book chose the title World Art Trends. 1983–84 in order to include a few newcomers from non-Western countries among the international artists. This kind of confusion also reached the seventh Sydney Biennale of 1988 which was proclaimed as A View of World Art 1940–1988 (see: this volume*, pp. 60–73). It should be noted that a show in Cologne, seven years earlier, in 1981, with the same time period (1939 to 1981) marked the -inclusion of American artists in what the curators called postwar “Western art” (Westkunst). However, this postwar position no longer represented the new frontiers. It was even attacked in retrospect when in 1989 Rasheed Araeen curated the exhibition The Other Story in London, emphasizing the other, neglected story of modern art.<sup>25</sup> The Sydney catalog explains the 1988 Biennale’s purpose as “an exhibition in Australia of contemporary art both from here and overseas”<sup>26</sup> and as an “attempt to view key developments in world art since 1940 from an Australian perspective,”<sup>27</sup> as against the old center and periphery view from Paris or New York.
The year 1988 also marked the bicentennial of white settlement of Australia, a commemoration that caused a hot debate among the Aboriginal Australians about their participation at the Sydney Biennale. In order to cope with the controversy, the curatorial board commissioned 200 hollow log bone coffins to be created by twelve Aboriginal artists from the Ramingining Artists Community symbolizing 200 years of oppression (see: this volume*, p. 127 and p. 167). But it could not be overlooked that the Biennale was otherwise restricted, as far as Australia’s part was concerned, to twenty-six “European Australians,” among them several pioneers of the modernist movement. Five years later, indigenous Australians entered the official ranks of the contemporary art scene. Three Aboriginal women artists were included among the nine participants from Australia. The Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, launched in 1993 by the Queensland Gallery, Brisbane, was an ambitious attempt at remapping the former art world (see: this volume*, pp. 112–113). Australia in the meantime opted for the Asia-Pacific region as its cultural background. The official acceptance of Aboriginal art as -contemporary art had been heralded by the exhibition Dreamings in 1988, which left behind the ethnocentrism at the Sydney Biennale of the same year. Thus, -Aboriginal art, as a branch of what had formerly been called world art, entered the territory of contemporary art under the auspices of what was now called global art.

The global conditions of today’s art production, to come to my final section, leaves art history with unexpected questions. Can art history become global at all? Who writes art history in the future, and does it need to be art history in the common sense and with a common concept not only of art but also of history? It was not a coincidence that the 2008 Congress of the International Committee of the History of Art (CIHA), which took place in Melbourne, Australia, did not by chance address these questions with such vigor. And because this was so, it changed the history of art history forever. Its title Crossing Cultures, understood as a move in every direction, indicated a shift of perspective that gave up the idea of a privileged viewing point and also the notion of cultures not already penetrated by other cultures. Understandably enough, though, there was still ambiguities in terminology as there were many participants. Conference sections with titles such as “Perspectives on Global Art History” and “The Idea of World Art History” raised the question whether the two notions mean the same at all.<sup>28</sup> If we are willing to use definition as distinction, rather than as affirmation, then the different history of the two terms cannot be overlooked. After the arrival of global art, also world art must be newly defined and, ultimately liberated from its colonial baggage.
The same CIHA congress had a section on global art, but labeled the latter as contemporary art in a new sense. “Writing the history of contemporary art,”<sup>29</sup> to quote the title of Terry Smith’s essay, is a paradox for an art which, in many ways, comes after history and even turns against history. Alexander Alberro, in the same section, concluded that periodizing contemporary art is “subject to a battlefield of narratives and stories.”<sup>30</sup> This conclusion is almost inevitable, since contemporary art is site specific and looks very different when we pass from one local perspective to another. The only consensus was that the term contemporary art no longer merely designates the most recent art, but distinguishes this art from modern art. The term postmodern, however, is not available, as it stood for something inside modernism. Terms like “multiple” or “alternative modernities” are only serviceable to those who want to reclaim a neglected or forgotten modernity of their own.<sup>31</sup> Global art is not only polycentric as a practice, but also demands a polyphonic discourse. Art history has divided the world, whereas the global age tends to restore its unity on another level. Not only is the game different: it is also open to new participants who speak in many tongues and who differ in how they conceive of art in a local perspective. We are watching a new mapping of art worlds in the plural (see: this volume*, pp. 246–254), which claim geographic and cultural difference.
Art history, as I have insisted myself on various occasions, suddenly appears to have been a rather local game that worked best for art from the Renaissance onwards. I have called it a post-Vasarian narrative that does not even adequately describe medieval art and its religious images.<sup>32</sup> To speak of Art History after Modern-ism, as I did in the title of a book<sup>33</sup> which continues the arguments of The End of Art History with reference to the exodus of contemporary art from art history, means art history faces a new challenge after the end of modern-ism. Global art not only accelerates contemporary art’s departure from the guidelines of a linear art history, it also flourishes in parts of the world where art history has never been practiced or where it only followed colonial models. The loss of a central place of art history in art theory and art display may also explain the new role of curatorial studies or visual studies that have replaced art history in the curriculum of art academies such as the Goldsmith College in London. The majority of today’s art curators is trained in political, social, or cultural sciences rather than in art history, and thus tend to emphasize art’s political or cultural agenda as against aesthetics.
However, we need not speak of art history’s crisis unless we are thinking of a necessary crisis. The time has come to rewrite art history in the West as well in order to respond to a new audience that looks at Western art with other premises. I therefore do not share a current trend in US American art history that excludes the rest of the world either by writing “World Art History” on a universal scale and thus restoring an old privilege of the West<sup>34</sup> or by denying that art history can ever work outside the West.<sup>35</sup> Rather, I feel the need to encourage other, new narratives with a local perspective of art history that abandons obedience to the colonial gaze of former world art studies. World art, in the old sense, tended to support the mainstream art discourse via exclusion. Today, we need a new paradigm and a postcolonial discourse for world art studies that are based on comparative studies which are on equal footing. For example, we take for granted the study of Chinese language and history at Western institutions but shut our eyes to the news that the National University of Beijing has opened a Department of Western Classics (Greco-Roman) and supports a bilateral conference with Durham University. In short, world art history is only justified as a cross-cultural project that also admits looking at Western -culture and art history from the outside. This is the challenge of the global age, in which we have to recover our narratives with new eyes.
Yet Western art history also faces a problem on its own territory. This is the noncontinuity of the story that connects premodern, modern, and current art. The linear story in the genealogy of modern art which Alfred H. Barr, Jr. devised for the MOMA in the 1930s, no longer continues to represent art since the 1960s even in the West, as an unsuccessful attempt to prolong this genealogy demonstrated at the Tate Modern in London.<sup>36</sup> And the methods of art history fail to explain the transition from the artwork, with its given place in history and its survival in a collection, to art projects that are ephemeral and badly documented, to give just one example from changing art practice. I am not complain-ing about this turn of events, but I do wonder whether art history needs to look back and discover its own past with fresh eyes. It appears that we have reached a watershed where the West is encountering the same situation as other cultures. Entry into the global age where art production has become general not only marks a beginning but also an end, the end of the old world map of art with its center and periphery scheme.
At the same time, when art production becomes a global condition, the diversity of visual cultures or art histories that appear behind today’s art practice and art theories is something we all have in common. In other words, what at first sight looks like the new homogeneity of a “flat” world, a second glance reveals as a diversity of traditions that demand a similar diversity of local narratives, including that of Western art history. I ventured forth in this direction when, in a recent book, I tried to show that the invention of perspective in Florence in the end turns out to have been a local game and, furthermore, that it responded to an Arab theory of optical perception (called “perspective” in the Latin translation), that, however, represented a different visual culture. It needs a cross-cultural investigation to look at Western art in the new expanded space from the outside.<sup>37</sup>
Today art history faces a challenge of a different kind. The rise of new art worlds in many parts of the world demand a narrative that also takes into account the growing role of economics and the politics of art in describing art. The documentary part of the exhibition The Global Contemporary in 2011/2012, therefore, turned to descriptions that, in contradistinction to the paradigm of self-referential art history (art as a system apart), emphasized the need for geopolitical and institutional aspects beyond issues of style, innovation, and progress (see: this volume*, pp. 50–59). It was the documentation’s aim to create a space for different and even competing histories instead of a single art history. Art’s complicity with contemporaneous social, religious, and cultural worlds was surely always given, but its complicity goes further since art today “has more to do with clarifying cultural identity than with aesthetic feeling,” as Thomas McEvilley wrote in 1995.<sup>38</sup> Art is not only produced “in an atmosphere of global dialog,” as he added, but serves the competition of conflicting politics of representation. The emergence of art spaces, which share the name but not the function of what we called a museum, is part of the game, as also is the spread of art markets to Asia. This new state of things, in retrospect, sharpens the view of what art has been in the past and demands the interaction of different art histories. In other words, the present world leaves most of us in a similar situation in the face of an unwritten history of world art as a joint enterprise.

Translated from the German by Elizabeth Volk.

Dieser Text erschien zuerst in: Hans Belting, Andrea Buddensieg, and Peter Weibel (eds.), The Global Contemporary and the Rise of New Art Worlds, exhib. The Global Contemporary, Art Worlds after 1989, ZKM Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Sept. 17, 2011 – Feb. 5, 2012, Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2013, pp. 178–185.

* “this volume“ refers to: Hans Belting, Andrea Buddensieg, and Peter Weibel (eds.), The Global Contemporary and the Rise of New Art Worlds, exhib. The Global Contemporary, Art Worlds after 1989, ZKM Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Sept. 17, 2011 – Feb. 5, 2012, Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2013.

1.) Bruce Mazlish, “Comparing Global History to World History,“ in: Journal of Interdisciplinary History, vol. 28, no. 3, 1998, pp. 385–395.
2.) Kitty Zijlmans and Wilfred van Damme (eds.), World Art Studies: Exploring Concepts and Approaches, Valiz, Amsterdam, 2008.
3.) John Onians, “A New Geography of Art Museums,“ in: Peter Weibel and Andrea Buddensieg (eds.), Contemporary Art and the Museum. A Global Perspec-tive, Hatje Cantz, Ostfildern, 2007, pp. 124–138; John Onians (ed.), Atlas of World Art, Laurence King, London, 2004. The latter is a book with 68 contributors that intends to cover the whole history of human picture production.
4.) Marc Aug., An Anthropology for Contemporaneous Worlds, Stanford University Press, Palo Alto (CA), 1999, pp. 89ff.
5.) See: Hans Belting, “Contemporary Art as Global Art,“ in: Hans Belting and Andrea Buddensieg (eds.), The Global Art World – Audiences, Markets, and Museums, Hatje Cantz, Ostfildern, 2009, pp. 38–73, p. 56, fig. 8.
6.) Sally Price, Primitive Art in Civilized Places, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago (IL), 1985.
7.) Hans Belting, Art History after Modernism, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago (IL), 2003, pp. 153ff.
8.) Ibid.
9.) See: Belting 2007, p. 33.
10.) The First Emperor: China’s Terracotta Army, The British Museum, September 13, 2007 – April 6, 2008.
11.) See: Belting 2009, p. 43, fig. 3.
12.) James Clifford, The Predicament of Culture: Twentieth-century Ethnography, Literature, and Art, Harvard University Press, Cambridge (MA), 2002, p. 213.
13.) Thomas McEvilley, Art and Otherness: Crisis in Cultural Identity, McPherson, Kingston (NY), 1992, pp. 164–165.
14.) Arthur C. Danto, “Artifact and Art,“ in: Art/Artifact: African Art in Anthropology Collections, exhib. cat., Center for African Art, New York, et al., The Center for African Art, New York (NY) and Prestel Verlag, Munich, 1988, pp. 18ff.
15.) Gerardo Mosquera, “The Third Bienal de la Habana in its Global and Local Contexts,“ in: Rachel Weiss et al., Making Art Global (Part 1): The Third Havana Biennial 1989, Exhibition Histories, vol. 2, Afterall, London, 2011, pp. 70–79, p. 74.
16.) See: Luis Camnitzer, “The Third Biennial of Havana,“ in: Rachel Weiss et al., Making Art Global (Part 1): The Third Havana Biennial 1989, Exhibition Histories, vol. 2, Afterall, London, 2011, pp. 206–214, p. 207.
17.) Jean-Hubert Martin, “Art in a multi-ethnic society,“ in: Africus: Johannesburg Biennale, exhib. cat., Transnational Metropolitan Council, 1995, p. 49.
18.) Bernard Dupaigne, Le scandale des arts premiers: La véritable histoire du musée du quai Branly, Mille et une nuit, Paris, 2006.
19.) McEvilley 1992, p. 153.
20.) Theodore Levitt, The Marketing Imagination, Free Press, New York (NY), 1983.
21.) “The Global Issue: A Symposium. James Clifford, Boris Groys, Craig Owens, Martha Rosler, Robert Storr, Michele Wallace,“ in: Art in America, vol. 77, no. 7, July 1989, p. 89.
22.) Bruce Mazlish, “The New Global History,“ available online at: www.newglobalhistory.com/docs/mazlich-the-new-global-history.pdf, see: p. 5, accessed 09/04/2012. See also: Bruce Mazlish, “On History Becoming History: World History and New Global History,“ available online at: www.newglobalhistory.com/docs/mazlish-on-history-becoming-history.pdf, accessed 09/04/2012. I thank Sara Giannini for this link.
23.) Paolo Bianchi, “Vorwort,“ in: Bianchi (ed.), “Weltkunst – Globalkultur,“ in: Kunstforum International, vol. 118, 1992, pp. 72–291, p. 73
24.) See: Hans Belting, “Contemporary Art and the Museum in the Global Age,“ in: Peter Weibel and Andrea Buddensieg (eds.), Contemporary Art and the Museum. A Global Perspective, Hatje Cantz, Ostfildern, 2007, pp. 16–38, p. 34.
25.) Rasheed Araeen (ed.), The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Post-war Britain, exhib. cat., Hayward Gallery, London, 1989.
26.) Franco Belgiorno-Nettis, “Chairman’s Preface,“ in: From the Southern Cross: A View of World Art c. 1940–1988,“ exhib. cat., 1988 Australian Biennale, Biennale of Sydney, 1988, p. 7.
27.) Nick Waterlow, “A View of World Art c. 1940–88,“ in: From the Southern Cross: A View of World Art c. 1940–1988,“ exhib. cat., 1988 Australian Biennale, Biennale of Sydney, 1988, p. 9, italics added.
28.) See: Jaynie Anderson (ed.), Crossing Cultures: Conflict, Migration and Convergence. The Proceedings of the 32nd International Congress in the History of Art, The Miegunyah Press, Carlton (Victoria), 2009.
29.) Alexander Alberro, “Periodising Contemporary Art,“ in: ibid., p. 938.
30.) Terry Smith, “Writing the History of Contemporary Art,“ in: ibid., p. 918.
31.) See: Araeen’s Magazine Third Text; and books like Dilip Parameshwar Gaonkar (ed.), Alternative Modernities, Duke University Press, Durham (NC), 2001.
32.) Hans Belting, Likeness and Presence: A History of the Image Before the Era of Art, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago (IL), 1994.
33.) Hans Belting, Art History after Modernism, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago (IL), 2002.
34.) For critical reflections on the problems implicated see: David Carrier, A World Art History and its Objects, Penn State University Press, University Park (PA), 2008.
35.) James Elkins (ed.), Is Art History Global?, Routledge, London et al., 2007.
36.) Belting, 2009, p. 46.
37.) Hans Belting, Florence and Bagdad: Renaissance Art and Arab Science, Harvard University Press, Cambridge (MA), 2011.
38.) Thomas McEvilley, “Here comes everybody,“ in: Africus: Johannesburg Biennale, exhib. cat., Transnational Metropolitan Council, 1995, p. 57.

[Dieser Text findet sich im Reader Nr. 1 auf S. 49.]

[Es sind keine weiteren Materialien zu diesem Beitrag hinterlegt.]

Hans Belting

Kunsthistoriker und Bildtheoretiker, war Mitbegründer der Hochschule für Gestaltung in Karlsruhe und leitet derzeit das Forschungsprojekt „Global Studies“ am ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe. Er ist bekannt geworden als Autor von Büchern wie: Bild und Kult, Die Erfindung des Gemäldes, Florenz und Bagdad. Eine westöstliche Geschichte des Blicks, Der Blick hinter Duchamps Tür. Kunst und Perspektive bei Duchamp, Sugimoto, Jeff Wall und zuletzt Faces. Eine Geschichte des Gesichts im Verlag C.H. Beck, München.


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Alberro, Alexander  ·  Araeen, Rasheed  ·  Augé, Marc  ·  Bacon, Francis  ·  Barr, Alfred H.  ·  Belting, Hans  ·  Bianchi, Paolo  ·  Clifford, James  ·  Damme, Winfred van  ·  Danto, Arthur C.  ·  Glück, Heinrich  ·  Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von  ·  Goldwater, Robert  ·  Kant, Hermann  ·  Levitt, Theodore  ·  MacGregor, Neil  ·  Malraux, André  ·  Martin, Jean-Hubert  ·  Mazlish, Bruce  ·  McEvilley, Thomas  ·  McNeill, William H.  ·  Mosquera, Gerardo  ·  Onians, John  ·  Owens, Craig  ·  Pradel, Jean-Louis  ·  Price, Sally  ·  Rosler, Martha  ·  Rubin, William  ·  Samba, Chéri  ·  Smith, Terry  ·  Strzygowski, Josef  ·  Vasari  ·  Vogel, Susan  ·  Zijlmans, Kitty