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Enactments of the Transnational at the New Museum

Sangdon Kim, Little Chicago, 2008. Via the New Museum.
Sangdon Kim, Little Chicago, 2008. Via the New Museum.

Seeing Neighborhoods Anew: Art Institutions' Enactment of the Transnational
Hyun Sook Kim
POSTPONED 3pm Saturday 7 June 2008
$museum admission (12)

In a recent lecture at the New Museum, curator Okwui Enwezor spoke on what Peter Schledhal has cynically described in 1999 as the rise of "festivalism" – large scale, International and highly visible art biennales and exhibitions. The rise of such exhibitions, the massive mobilization of cultural workers and resources necessary for their production, and the inevitable contestations for power, influence, and autonomy of the various players involved inevitably precipitates all variety of strange fruit; the cancellation of the transnational manifesta 6 in 2006 by the government of Nicosia, for example, catalyzed the foundation of Anton Vidokle's monumental United Nations Plaza project in Berlin the following year, which was only the first of three of its manifestations thus far, each growing in complexity and collaborative scope. Enwezor, who is this year's Gwangju Biennale artistic director, theorized in his talk that these kinds of exhibitions are often born in response to traumatic moments in a nation's history; the three primary examples offered of his condition being Documenta's formation in response to the end of WWII (for what could Germany be after this but a cultural power?), the Johannesburg Biennale's foundation as a response to the abolishment of Apertheid, and the Gwangju Biennale modeled in part as a kind of 15 year echo to the unrest of the 1980 Gwangju Democratization Movement. These exhibitions in a sense, Enwezor suggests, negotiate a relationship between history and trauma, and produce temporary sites where international cultural production occurring in a particular locale might suspend even those deepest and most necessary tenets of national identity. It's interesting then, to consider the role of the museum and other large-scale but geographically localized (but temporally unlimited) cultural institutions and their place in civil society. If "festivalism" leads to a disruption, reconfiguration, or perhaps even an affirmation of it's host site's relationship to the past, then on what axis does one locate the quotidian operations of the museum? Tomorrow at the New Museum, sociologist Hyun Sook Kim will lecture on "art institutions' enactment of the transnational," a look at just such questions, the constituting of the local, the contemporary art institution's collapse of such locality, and the changing role of institutions with their relationship to place. This lecture is part of the Museum as Hub program, and furthermore one of the various supporting programs of Insa Art Space's Dongducheon: A Walk to Remember, A Walk to Envision, currently on view at the New Museum's Museum as Hub space.

NOTE: The New Museum has postponed this event to a later unspecified date. This event listing was composed previous to this and published regardless; it will be reposted when the Museum reschedules the event.