Globalisation Cultural

 Cultural Globalization betwee n Myth and Reality: The Case of the Conte mporary Visual Arts Lara Buchholz and Ulf Wuggenig I. Introduction Soon after the concept of globalisation ascende d to one of the “most fashionable buzzwords of contemporary political and academic debate” (Scheuerman 2002), it began to fuel discursive effects in the art field as well.[1] During the last decade the world of “international contemporary art” increasingly began to understand itself as part of a “global” space, with globally recruited artists, globally acting curators, and Biennales spread around the four corners of the world (cf. G riffin 2003, Bydler 2004, Sassen 2004, Wu 2005). With the documenta 11 in Kassel in 2002 at the latest, globalisation became a popular, wide ly used term among art critics and curators for depicting recent tendencies in the artistic field. We want to scrutinize whether this talk not only refl ects a new discursive trend, but also corresponds to change s in the social organization of the field of art. To what extent has the globalisation of the art field actually progressed? What structural consequences do the  presumed cha nges bring abou t? We will begin with a s hort introduction into the g eneral social scientific discourse on globalisation and then outline aspects of the discussion on cultural globalisation in order to develop a theoretical framework. Afterwards, we will trace how the art field itself has discussed the issue of art and globalisation before we will critically dissect some of its strong claims empirically. 2. Discourses on (Cultural) Globalisation Meanwhile, the social scientific discourse on globalisation has produced a large body of literature with a great variety of definitions of the very phenomenon it purports to analyse. Some of the more prominent accounts of conceptualizing globalisation refer to ideas such as “actions, that is to say, the effects of actions over distances”, “time and space compression”, “global integration” and “accelerated interdependence”, a “new order of inter-regional power relationships” or to a subjective factor such as “the increasing consciousness of the global condition” (cf. Held and McGrew 2000, p. 3). One definition, which encompasses temporal as well as spatial aspects, conceives globalisa tion as a “process of the deepening and acceleration of boundary crossing transactions (…) which incurs simultaneous spatial expansion” (Menzel 2001, p. 226). Another approach pays especially attention to increasing reciprocal interdependenc ies, thus writing in the tradition of theories of differentiation by Adam Smith, Herbert Spencer and Emile Durkheim: “Globalisation refers to a set of  processes that increasingly make s the parts of the wo rld interdependently integrated” (Roberts and Hite 2000, p. 16). In addition, one finds theoretical perspectives, which seek to connect objective aspects of the globalisation process with changes of subjective consciousne ss. According to Robertson (1992, p. 8), for instance, globalisation “refers both to the compression of the world and the intensification of consciousness of the world as a whole.” Lechner in turn (2005, p. 330) conceives it as “the worldwide diffu sion of practices, expansion of relations across continents, organisation of social life on a global scale, and growth of a shared global consciousnes s.” The work by All an Cochrane and Kathy Pain considers a variety of important dimensions, except subjective aspects. In t heir view globalisation denotes the expansion of social relationships beyond regional and national state  borders. It leads to growing density of w orldwide interaction, mad e possible by e lectronic flows and communication networks. Moreover, the increasing availability of products from vastly distant cultures, the rise in migration and the strengthening of a global infrastructure

Transcript of Globalisation Cultural

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  Cultural Globalization between Myth and Reality: The Case of the Contemporary VisualArtsLara Buchholz and Ulf Wuggenig

I. Introduction

Soon after the concept of globalisation ascended to one of the “most fashionable buzzwordsof contemporary political and academic debate” (Scheuerman 2002), it began to fueldiscursive effects in the art field as well.[1] During the last decade the world of“international contemporary art” increasingly began to understand itself as part of a “global”space, with globally recruited artists, globally acting curators, and Biennales spread aroundthe four corners of the world (cf. Griffin 2003, Bydler 2004, Sassen 2004, Wu 2005). Withthe documenta 11 in Kassel in 2002 at the latest, globalisation became a popular, widelyused term among art critics and curators for depicting recent tendencies in the artistic field.We want to scrutinize whether this talk not only reflects a new discursive trend, but alsocorresponds to changes in the social organization of the field of art. To what extent has the

globalisation of the art field actually progressed? What structural consequences do the presumed changes bring about? We will begin with a short introduction into the generalsocial scientific discourse on globalisation and then outline aspects of the discussion oncultural globalisation in order to develop a theoretical framework. Afterwards, we will tracehow the art field itself has discussed the issue of art and globalisation before we willcritically dissect some of its strong claims empirically.

2. Discourses on (Cultural) Globalisation

Meanwhile, the social scientific discourse on globalisation has produced a large body ofliterature with a great variety of definitions of the very phenomenon it purports to analyse.Some of the more prominent accounts of conceptualizing globalisation refer to ideas such as“actions, that is to say, the effects of actions over distances”, “time and space compression”,“global integration” and “accelerated interdependence”, a “new order of inter-regional powerrelationships” or to a subjective factor such as “the increasing consciousness of the globalcondition” (cf. Held and McGrew 2000, p. 3). One definition, which encompasses temporalas well as spatial aspects, conceives globalisation as a “process of the deepening andacceleration of boundary crossing transactions (…) which incurs simultaneous spatialexpansion” (Menzel 2001, p. 226). Another approach pays especially attention to increasingreciprocal interdependencies, thus writing in the tradition of theories of differentiation byAdam Smith, Herbert Spencer and Emile Durkheim: “Globalisation refers to a set of

 processes that increasingly makes the parts of the world interdependently integrated”(Roberts and Hite 2000, p. 16). In addition, one finds theoretical perspectives, which seek toconnect objective aspects of the globalisation process with changes of subjectiveconsciousness. According to Robertson (1992, p. 8), for instance, globalisation “refers bothto the compression of the world and the intensification of consciousness of the world as awhole.” Lechner in turn (2005, p. 330) conceives it as “the worldwide diffusion of practices,expansion of relations across continents, organisation of social life on a global scale, andgrowth of a shared global consciousness.” The work by Allan Cochrane and Kathy Painconsiders a variety of important dimensions, except subjective aspects. In their viewglobalisation denotes the expansion of social relationships beyond regional and national state

 borders. It leads to growing density of worldwide interaction, made possible by electronic

flows and communication networks. Moreover, the increasing availability of products fromvastly distant cultures, the rise in migration and the strengthening of a global infrastructure

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that the operation of emergent globalised networks permits have a growing interpenetrationof people as their consequence (cf. Cochrane and Pain 2000, pp. 15ff.).

All these definitions of dominant versions of the academic globalisation discourse share anessential difference to previous, more conflict orientated theories like dependency theory,

imperialism or world system theories which likewise dealt with inter- and trans-national aswell as with global processes without, however, using the term globalisation (cf. Frank 1971,Wallerstein 1979, Galtung 1980). Instead of critically highlighting social polarisation, one-sided dependencies, and asymmetrical relationships between social units – such as centres,semi-peripheries, and peripheries in world system theory – globalisation theories especiallyemphasize integration, reciprocal interdependencies or a commonly shared consciousness.Giddens, for example, who early advocated the use of the term globalisation (cf. Giddens1990), stresses interdependency when connecting globalisation with “the intensification ofworldwide social relations and interdependences. Globalization refers to the fact that we areincreasingly living in one world, where our actions have consequences for others and theworld’s problems have consequences for us” (Giddens 2001, p. 74).

 Nevertheless, after its assertion on a broader basis, the concept of globalisation began partlyto play a role within the frame of critical theories against which it was originally created aswell. Yet, whereas critical sociologists like Pierre Bourdieu or Immanuel Wallersteinconsidered globalisation being a myth or an imposed discourse, Antonio Negri and MichaelHardt deploy the term in an attempt to conceptualise a new era of global domination. Others,like Galtung (2000a) in his more recent work, try to combine critical and descriptiveapproaches, what we consider to be a fruitful idea.

In a lecture in Athens in 1996 Bourdieu denounced the talk of “globalisation” as “a myth inthe strongest sense of the word”, as a “power discourse, an idea power” (Bourdieu 1998, p.34), a position that he repeated in Tokio in 2000, when he stressed, that “globalization” is a“descriptive as well as prescriptive pseudo-concept, which by now replaces the notion‘modernization’” (Bourdieu 2003, p. 202). Correspondingly, Bourdieu coined the notion of a“politics of globalisation”, underlining that there are no determinist social laws or tendenciesand that there are alternatives to this kind of politics. In a similar way, Immanuel Wallersteinadopts a rather sceptical attitude towards the discourse on globalization: “The 1990's have

 been deluged with a discourse about globalization. We are told by virtually everyone that weare now living, and for the first time, in an era of globalization. We are told thatglobalization has changed everything: the sovereignty of states has declined; everyone'sability to resist the rules of the market has disappeared; our possibility of cultural autonomy

has been virtually annulled; and the stability of all our identities has come into seriousquestion. This state of presumed globalization has been celebrated by some, and bemoaned by others. This discourse is in fact a gigantic misreading of current reality - a deceptionimposed upon us by powerful groups, and even worse one that we have imposed uponourselves, often despairingly.” Wallerstein (1999). On the other hand, Antonio Negri andMichael Hardt (2000, p. XI) not only point to a new, sovereign global power, namely“Empire”, but they also stress in a rather deterministic manner an “inexorable andirreversible globalisation of economic and cultural exchange processes.” By contrast to

 preceding critical macro-theories, however, they maintain that this form of power cannot beidentified with a territorially delineated centre; it rather signifies a decentralised anddeterritorialised apparatus of domination: “In contrast to imperialism, Empire establishes no

territorial centre of power and does not rely on fixed boundaries or barriers” (p. XII). Asidefrom their attention to domination, Negri’s and Hardt’s thesis of deterritorialisationconverges with assumptions of mainstream globalisation theory. In a popular textbook on the

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subject, for example, Waters underlines that the specificity of globalisation lies in the factthat it results in “greater connectedness and deterritorialisation” (Waters 1995, p. 136).

George Ritzer sought to challenge mainstream theories of globalisation in a slightly differentway. He reproaches them to identify globalisation primarily with symmetrical flows or more

or less balanced interactions of the local with the global. Such accounts would ignore theimperialist expansion tendencies of nation-states or enterprises, their ambitions to power,influence and profit as well as the hegemonic relations thereby established. Accordingly,Ritzer (2004) launched the term “grobalisation” (in contrast to “glocalisation”), which linksglobalisation with growth and which refers to similar processes of power and influence asspecified in theories of dependency, world system, or imperialism. The driving sub-

 processes of such “grobalization” processes are, however, not located in a quasi anonymous,non-territorial power structure (like in the approach of Negri and Hardt), but attributed to thedynamics of capitalism (cf. e. g. Amin 2001), Americanisation (cf. e. g. Bourdieu 2003),Western cosmology (cf. Galtung 1996), or McDonaldisation (cf. Ritzer 1993, 2004).

 Nevertheless, these critical approaches did not develop an analytically specific perspectiveon the very process that we are primarily interested in, namely cultural globalisation in themore narrow sense of culture. Yet, different social spheres (e.g. economy, politics, popularculture, art) display dissimilar, relatively autonomous development patterns, which are notreducible to each other. That is one of the reasons why theoretical approaches, which are

 based on the idea of social differentiation, in contrast to anti-differentiation approaches likee. g. those of Wallerstein or Giddens seem to be especially fruitful for the analyses ofquestions regarding the globalisation of culture and art. Arjun Appadurai (1996), forexample, distinguishes in his globalisation studies between flows of images, histories andinformation (“mediascapes”), flows of cultural and political ideologies (“ideoscapes”),finance flows (“finanscapes”), and flows of migrants, tourists and refugees (“ethnoscapes”).All these “disjunctive” flows proceed according to “their own restrictions and incentives”.For our purposes, however, Appadurai’s initial differentiation does not go far enough.Considering the flow of images, for instance, it is in no way irrelevant whether one dealswith flows in high art (e.g. the fine arts) or popular art (e.g. film, TV, popular music).Perhaps in regard to this omission, Appadurai later introduced the term “artscape”(Appadurai 2003, p. 236). Yet in comparison with the field concept (cf. Martin 2003), whichBourdieu (1993, 1996) and his school (e. g. Verger 1987, Pinto (ed.) 2002) heavilyemployed for the analysis of art and legitimate culture, the notion “artscape” appears diffuse.It tends to underestimate relations of power as well as processes of asymmetric exchangeand “inchange” – the intra-actor effects of exchange and interaction.

The tendency to disregard aspects of power and conflict can also be discerned in DianaCrane’s meta-typology of models of cultural globalisation which pays great attention toapproaches emphasising positive aspects and externalities of globalisation processes.Against cultural imperialism theories, she especially highlights accounts like those ofAppadurai. According to Crane they stress more or less symmetrical interactions withincultural flows or networks: “In contrast to cultural imperialism theory in which the source ofcultural influence is Western civilisation, with non-Western and less developed countriesviewed as being on the periphery – as the receivers of cultural influences – the cultural flowsor network model offers an alternative conception of the transmission process, as influencesthat do not necessarily originate in the same place or flow in the same direction. Receivers

also may be originators. In this model, cultural globalization corresponds to a network withno clearly defined center or periphery (see, for example, Appadurai 1990). Globalization asan aggregation of cultural flows or networks is a less coherent and unitary process than

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cultural imperialism and one in which cultural influences move in many directions. Theeffect of these cultural flows, which Arjun Appadurai identifies as consisting of media,technology, ideologies, and ethnicities on recipient nations is likely to be culturalhybridisation rather than homogenisation” (Crane 2002, pp. 3f.). In addition, Crane points toreception theories as they are typically found in the mass media research wing of Cultural

Studies (cf. e.g. Barker 2000, pp. 114 ff., 259 ff.). They tend to emphasise the sovereignty ofconsumers in the appropriation of globally distributed cultural goods, or the culturalembeddedness of reception processes (cf. Wu 2005 for contrasting mass media and artreception in this respect). It seems worth stressing that Crane’s portrayal of culturalimperialism theories is much too simplistic as she argues that they would operate with theassumption of conscious domination intentions. Yet, there are complex and highlysophisticated imperialism theories which are neither actor-oriented nor intentionalist butemphasise structure, as for example, the position in a (worldwide) division of labour, that isto say, the position in global exchange and inchange processes. These approaches arededicated to the analysis of the effects of differing structural positions for systemsreproduction and the intended as well as paradoxical outcomes with respect to the units

involved. Crane ignores elaborated dependency and world system theories such as those ofJohan Galtung (1980) or Samir Amin (2001). Both approaches are based on homogenisationassumptions but do not rely on those binary centre-periphery models, attributed to thistradition by Crane and a broad cultural studies literature following Tomlinson (1991).

In our view, however, the analytical options highlighted by Crane are not satisfying as theytend to capture globalisation processes in a one-sided, euphemising way. For specifying theimplications of globalisation in the realm of high art, we will therefore operate with conflicttheoretical tools and perspectives, like Bourdieu’s concept of the ‘field of art’. Generallyspoken, Bourdieu conceives the realm of cultural production as a “game” functioningaccording to a relatively autonomous logic of competitive exchanges. The concept of thefield of art is in so far especially fruitful for analysing effects of international exchange

 processes as it does not rely on an interactionist perspective but conceptualises the dynamicsof high-culture as objectively and relationally structured by the unequal distribution ofartistic and symbolic capital. Bourdieu elaborated these notions and a general theory ofcultural fields in the context of his analysis of the French literary and artistic sphere (cf.Bourdieu 1996). In connection with Pascale Casanova’s (2004) further elaboration of thisapproach for as the space of world literature, it promises to offer a fruitful theoreticalframework for analysing the relationship between globalisation and the field of art.

One of the central debates in the literature on cultural globalisation concerns the question

whether high or popular arts have progressed further with regard to globalisation processes.On the one hand, Victoria Alexander holds that popular culture demonstrates more distinctsigns of globalisation by dint of its highly commercial and heteronomous nature: “Fine artscirculate internationally in patterns considerably different from those of the popular arts. Oneobvious difference is that the markets for fine arts are smaller and more decentralised.Moreover, the global context is highly commercial, and while non-commercial art is part ofthe global economy, it plays a relatively minor role in it” (Alexander 2003, pp. 166f.). DavidHeld and his collaborators assess the difference between high and popular culture in asimilar way: “Elite cultures, high culture, academic and scientific cultures (...) are drownedin the high seas of business information systems and commercialised popular culture. Nohistoric parallel exists for such intensive and extensive forms of cultural flow that are

 primarily forms of commercial enrichment and entertainment” (Held et al. 1999, p. 368). Onthe other hand, Malcolm Waters maintains precisely the opposite thesis in his standard workon globalisation theory. By referring to cultural diffusion processes at the end of the last

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century, he arrives at the conclusion that high culture has played the role of an avant-garde incultural globalisation: “By the end of the 19th century, a global but mainly European culturaltradition had been established in which the same music, the same art and the same literatureand science were equally highly regarded in many parts of the globe. (…) However, popularculture remained nation-state specific until the development of cinematographic and

electronic mass mediation” (Waters 1995, pp. 142f.). Waters’ claim is echoed in recentGerman cultural sciences in which the higher degree of globalisation in the realm of highculture, specifically that of the fine arts, is particularly emphasised: “In almost no othersphere of culture is the shrinking of North and South, of East and West so intense as in thefine arts” (Kramer 2001, p. 178).

While it is beyond the scope of this contribution to empirically compare the level ofglobalisation in popular culture and high culture, Waters’ remarks sensitise for another mainquestion at stake in debates around globalisation: the question of its beginning and ofdecisive historical breaks. One may derive very different assumptions about the kind andextent of globalisation processes whether one conceptualises them as a phenomenon of the

end of the 19th century or of most recent history as, for example, Appadurai (2003, p. 234)does: “When I talk about the ‘age of globalisation’, I wish with that to describe an historical

 break which is registered in the last half of the recently ended century and here, above all, inthe last twenty years.” Sociological or historical approaches on the macro-level even holdthat globalisation began very much earlier in history. Thus, not infrequently, it is related toWestern expansion or to the development of (proto)capitalism around 1500 (cf. e. g.Muldoon 1991, Hall 2003) or to Western modernity (cf. e. g. Giddens 1990). Some authors,such as the economist André Gunder Frank, who is known for having coined the phrase the“development of underdevelopment” in the 1960s, object to such assumptions that they areimplicitly based on the supposition of European exceptionalism and Euro-centrism already

 present in the works of such differing economists and sociologists as Adam Smith, KarlMarx, Max Weber and Immanuel Wallerstein (cf. Frank 1998, pp. 12ff.). His rational choiceapproach, embedded in a macro-historical frame, stresses that global connections, at least atthe level of trade, are a more ancient phenomenon which can be traced back 5000 years ago,a period in which Europe belonged to the periphery, while East Asia dominated the worldtrade. Accordingly, theorists like Gunder Frank who operate with macro historical

 perspectives of the longue durée appear to be little impressed by developments of the mostrecent period such as the emergence of new communication technologies which, accordingto Appadurai, initiated a deep historical break during the last two decades. Against such kindof theories, Frank (1998, p. 343) emphasizes on the base of his empirical material: “Thecurrently fashionable “globalisation” thesis has it that the 1990s mark a new departure in this

worldwide process. (…) Yet this book demonstrates that globalism (even more thanglobalisation) was a fact of life since at least 1500 for the whole world, excepting a fewsparsely settled islands in the Pacific (though only a little while).”

Part of the dissent surrounding the question of the beginning of globalisation is doubtlessdue to the fact, that some processes have their origins centuries ago, while others can bedated to the 19th and 20th centuries. Most social scientists meanwhile take more or less amiddle position between the extreme poles delineated on the one side e. g. by Frank (1998)and Friedman (1994), and on the other by Appadurai (1999). The main-stream position iswell expressed in the following statement by Victoria Alexander (2003, p. 158): “The

 process of globalisation is not new, although global flows have increased to an

unprecedented level.” Stuart Hall takes a similar position while providing a more preciseframework for the different phases of globalisation. Yet he thereby adopts the commonWestern social science, Euro-centric position concerning the origins of capitalism and

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modernity (cf. the critical views on Euro-centrism in the social sciences of Amin 1989, Blaut2000, Collins 1999).

In Hall’s (2003, p. 193) perspective, globalisation dates back to “the moment when WesternEurope breaks out of its confinement, at the end of the 15th century, and the era of

exploration and conquest of the non-European world begins. (…) Somewhere around 1492we begin to see this project as having a global rather than a national or continental character(…)” However, this thesis is connected to the assumption of an acceleration of globalisationin recent time. On that basis, he differentiates between four periods following that historical

 break. After the initial phase in about 1500, processes of globalisation enter a second phasecharacterised by formal and informal colonisation. The third phase, after the Second WorldWar, is marked by the decline of European empires that were dominant during the second

 phase. The fourth period, which is of greatest concern for our research referring to the fieldof contemporary art begins for Hall in “its radically reconstructed, transnational form in themid-1970s.” To this phase, “the current one”, he assigns “the title of ‘Globalisation tout

court ’” (p. 194). Whereas earlier phases were characterised by conquest, trade, direct

colonisation and informal rule, the new global system operates via the market, geopoliticaland global management, and strategic military intervention. According to Hall, culture andthe economy permeate each other, the “movement of power is inseparable from themovement of images, the movement of capital, and the movement of information”. In the“new globalisation” of the fourth period everything appears to be in motion. Even migrationhas witnessed an explosive increase, although it is, as Hall is thoroughly aware,fundamentally subject to restrictions. In contrast to the authors of Empire, the US are seen asthe centre of influence of the informal networks during the most recent phase ofglobalization: “Though Hardt and Negri describe it as a system with no center, post-September 11 developments suggest that it is a global system in which the US as the onlyglobal superpower has overwhelming influence.” (Hall 2003, p. 195). While there are

 problems with Hall’s dating of the beginning of globalisation around 1500, his generalframework may serve us as a reference-point for chronologically anchoring our analysis inthe fourth globalisation period without, however, presupposing a radical historical break inAppadurai’s sense.

3. The field of Art and Globalisation

In the first decade of Hall’s posited fourth globalisation phase, the artist and critic RasheedAraeen – who went on to become the editor of Third Text  – railed against what heconsidered to be a myth, namely the “Internationalism” of contemporary art. In his manifesto

 presented in 1978 at the ICA in London he stated: “The myth of the internationalism ofWestern art has to be exploded. (…) Western art expresses exclusively the peculiarities ofthe West (…) It is merely a transatlantic art. It only reflects the culture of Europe and NorthAmerica. The current ‘Internationalism’ of Western art is nothing more than a function ofthe political and economic power of the West, enforcing its values on other people. (…) Theword international should mean more than just a couple of Western countries (...)” (Araeen1997 (1978), p. 98). Since the time of Araeen’s intervention, the field of art, without doubt,has undergone some changes. In recent years, protagonists in the art world increasingly

 began to associate this dynamics with the emergence of a new, global art space, which would profoundly challenge the predominance of North-Western art. Marc Scheps, for example,asserts in the context of the highly ambitiously organised exhibition Global Art that a strong

globalisation had taken place over the two previous decades. The exhibition, curated byScheps, took place in 2000 in one of the institutional centres of the European art field,namely the Peter Ludwig Museum in Cologne. In an essay for the exhibition’s hefty

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accompanying catalogue he writes that since the 1980s art entered a “global presence” whichmanifests itself in the heightened mobility of artists, in exhibitions of non-Western art in theWest as well as in the dissemination of activities of art institutions in non-Western countries.Accordingly, Scheps concludes that non-Western art contexts have become increasinglyintegrated into a symmetrical worldwide cultural network of connections. Moreover, since

1989, he tells us, art has led a “global dialogue”, enabled through a new visual language, thatis to say through new media and new forms of artistic practices such as video, computer orinstallation art (cf. Scheps 1999, pp. 16 ff.).

Similarly, Christian Kravagna, one of the leading European art critics who has concernedhimself most intensely with non-Western contemporary art, posits a remarkable change inthe art field since the late 1980s, especially with respect to the greater inclusion of actorsfrom countries outside the North-Western corne of the world. He observes a rapid transitionfrom the invisibility of non-European artists to an excessive visibility in numerousexhibitions of art of different regions or in projects, in which “Western and non-Western artare exhibited alongside each other under the sign of ‘global art’” (Kravagna 2004, p. 98; see

also Kravagna 2002). In spite of its neo-primitivist alignment, he thereby regards HubertMartin’s exhibition, Magiciens de la Terre (Paris, 1989), as a decisive turning point.Kravagna furthermore states that non-Western curators, critics and artists are more and moreactively involved in the international business of contemporary art exhibitions.

Yilmaz Dziewior (1999, p. 345), a Hamburg based critic and curator, notes a far greater participation of non-occidental artists in large mainstream exhibitions particularly since the1990s, citing, for instance, the Venice Biennial and Documenta in Kassel. This tendencyattained its climax with documenta 11 in 2002 , organised by the diaspora intellectual OkwuiEnwezor. Also in Kravagna’s (2002, p. 99) view, the nomination of Enwezor as artisticdirector marked a fundamental change: “When the USA residing Nigerian curator waschosen as the leader of documenta 11, this was a clear sign of an opening to non-Western

 perspectives. (…) In a background of questions on Western representation and reception ofAfrican art Enwezor’s appointment holds great significance for a general development if onerealises that almost half a century of documenta history up to 1992 had passed before theinvitation of two African artists to documenta 9.”

Given these statements, it seems to be not surprising that a discussion[2] in one of theleading art-market journals, namely Artforum, classified documenta 11 along with the Venice

 Biennale and a number of so-called “peripheral biennales” of the last decades (like theBiennales and Triennales of Sao Paolo, Brisbane, Dakkar, Havanna, Tirana, Vilnius,

Johannesburg, Istanbul, Cairo and Kwang Ju, cf. Bydler 2004) as examples of a newlyemerging type of “global exhibitions”; not only because of the very choice of the maincurator and the inclusion of non-Western artists, but also for the reason that they took placein locations all over the world (like documenta 11 with its “platforms” in Europe, Africa,Asia, and in the Caribbean region) and that they dealt with issues closely associated with theglobalisation discourse: “This type of exhibition, endowed with a transnational circuitry,assumed the unique position of both reflecting globalism – since these shows happen inlocations throughout the world, however remote – and taking up globalism itself as an idea”(Griffin 2003, p. 153).

For Hou Hanru (1999), tendencies of a globalising art field were especially revealed through

the proliferation of art biennales outside Europe and North America since the 1980s as well

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as the example of the New York Guggenheim Museum, which expanded in the 1990s, whenthe generalization of its “Bilbao strategy” (cf. Thon 2004), still appeared possible to pursue.

The worldwide proliferation of biennales is an interesting phenomenon in connection withthe question of the globalization of the field of art. That is why we collected data on this

 process and depicted some of them in figure 1. The “biennalization of the art world” starts,according to this data, documented in more detail in Buchholz (2005, pp. 67ff.), in the midthof the 1980ies. Since this time the curves of the number of biennales show upwards not onlyin the “West”, but also in the “rest” (for this differentiation cf. Hall 1992, p. 280). Whereasin 1980 there were three biennales of contemporary art in the Northwest of the world, andone in the Southwest, one in the Southeast and one in the Northeast. In 2005 the number of

 biennales had risen from 6 to 49 and the distribution was as follows: 19 in the Northwest, 10in the Northeast, 9 in the Southeast and 11 in the Southwest.[3] This process clearlyindicates a tendency of globalization.

In a recent study art historian and critic Charlotte Bydler (2004) has provided acomprehensive summary of indicators showing an advancement of globalisation in the field

of contemporary art. Her inquiry is not based on quantitative data, but upon “insider perspectives” by curators and critics. It focuses on the globalisation of the field’sinstitutional structures. Bydler not only mentions the rise of “international exhibitions”, butalso refers to other, less well-illuminated aspects in the art discourse. Thus, she highlightsthe emergence of an international job market for artists and curators as well as the growingestablishment of international residence and exchange programmes. She informs that theselast two changes largely rest upon specific legal privileges for artists and curators which, inthe face of usually highly restrictive immigration legislation, facilitated the heightenedartistic mobility. Her remarks remind that the worldwide circulation of people in contrast tothe movement of capital and goods is still subject to severe legal regulations, a discrepancywhich induced Samir Amin (2001) to speak of a “halved globalisation”.

The assumption of a globalising art field is also supported by the sparse sociologicalliterature on the subject. Focussing on the dynamics of the art market, the French sociologist

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Raymonde Moulin captures the development of the last three decades as a trend towards agrowing web of international interdependencies, fostering the circulation of people andartefacts beyond national boundaries. She writes: “The specificity of the last three decades,lies in the fact that the art market regarding extremely expensive works as well ascontemporary works, does not function anymore as coexistence of national markets, which

communicate with each other more or less quite well, but like a global market. Each nationalartistic space is embedded in a world wide system of cultural and economic exchange processes. The circulation of people, works and information, favours the networking of themarket” (Moulin 2003, p. 81). Saskia Sassen (2004) observed, that the proliferation of art

 biennales caused an “intensified transnational engagement of artists, curators, museums andcities” as well as to the rise of “a transnational class of curators”.

Considering all the aforementioned objective indicators in the frame of the concept ofglobalisation provided by Allan Cochrane and Kathy Paine, one arrives at the conclusionthat one may indeed speak of a globalisation of the field of art: First, the dissemination ofnew art biennales in non-Western countries and the international spread of art institutions

like the Guggenheim museum (even if these expansionist tendencies stopped in themeantime), seem to correspond with the idea that globalisation involves spatial extension ofsocial relationships. Secondly, the heightened mobility of artists and curators, the emergingworldwide communication network, and the rise of a job market as well as an art market thattransgress national borders all appear to indicate what Cochrane and Paine considered as acrucial dimension of globalisation processes, namely the increasing density of socialinteractions, partly based on new electronic communications technologies. And, last but notleast, the fact that non-Western artists and curators have been more and more included inmainstream exhibitions and also in so-called new “global exhibitions” during the last 20years seems to resonate with the thesis that globalisation typically results in greater culturalinterpenetration.

But, do these tendencies justify the assumption that the field of art has entered a global agein which old centre-periphery structures become obsolete or the unequal distribution of

 power between Western and non-Western art contexts dissolves? This is what the statementsof Marc Scheps seem to imply: “An emerging network is replacing the structure of centreand periphery. The nodes of this network consist of cultural and artistic centres that cancommunicate with each other at any time in a non-hierarchical way. (…) The disappearanceof the categories of centre and periphery implicates that the differentiation between the Westand the Non-West will become historical memory“ (Scheps 1999, p. 20). These claims areechoed by Dziewior (1999, p. 345) who postulates “a slow, but continual dissolving of the

traditional division of centre and periphery”.Yet, there are also some critical voices in the art field, which call such assessments stronglyinto question and refuse to participate in the euphoria around the globalisation of the artisticfield. Georg Schoellhammer (1999), for example, editor of the Austrian culture and artmagazine springerin, argues that although international exhibitions and trade transports havemade previously unexposed art scenes visible in the West, this trend does not significantlyalter inclusion and exclusion relationships in the field of art; in his view, it rather serves toobfuscate their persistence.

Especially among the diaspora intellectuals involved in the art field there is a wide-spread

scepticism regarding the idea that its structure and functioning has determinedly changed.Thus, in the middle of the 1990s, the artist and critic Everlyn Nicodemus (1995, p. 12) sawno reason for being optimistic about inclusion tendencies with regard to third-world

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intellectuals: “In the Western art field, the tendencies we observe today, its closed circuitsand the extension of its power structure – an internationalisation that seems to counteractrather than facilitate an opening up to a new inter-cultural internationalism – does not inspiregreat optimism.”

Gerardo Mosquera, co-founder of the Havana Biennale, in the meantime active in NewYork, still the “centre of the centre” (Galtung) of the art field, maintains that the field of artfinds itself in a state of transition far from entailing broader participation: “What is called theinternational art scene and the international artistic language reveals a hegemonic constructof globalism more than true globalisation, understood as a generalised participation.”(Mosquera 2003, p. 145). 

Although it has become routine for some artists to exhibit worldwide, the situation shouldnot be overestimated. On the one hand, the number of artists involved remains relativelyinsignificant. On the other hand, existing structures could only be challenged if these artistsgained real agency, that is to say, if they obtained the necessary amount of symbolic capital

and symbolic power in order to take part in the truly relevant moves of the art game:“Regional and international art circulation has dramatically expanded through a variety ofspaces, events, networks, circuits, and electronic communications. (…) Nevertheless, thefact that a certain number of artists coming from every corner of the world are nowexhibiting internationally only means, in itself, a (not so dramatic) quantitativeinternationalisation. But number is not the issue. The question for these new subjects isagency: the challenge of mutating a hegemonic and restrictive situation toward active andenriching plurality, instead of being digested not only by the mainstream, but also by newnon-mainstream establishments” (Mosquera 2003, p. 146). 

Apart from the question of actual structural changes, several critics in the art field argue thatincreasing “cultural interpenetration” did not bear any noteworthy effects on the powerstructure as well; it would be still the Western representational regime that dictates modes ofappropriation of non-Western art, and it would be still the symbolic power of the West thatattributes non-occidental art the role of playing its ‘exotic’, but nevertheless self-assuring“other”. Elsbeth Courth, for example, who as a curator and writer participated in theexhibition Seven Stories about Modern Art in Africa in London (cf. Deliss 1995), observesthat Western primitivist projections still play a significant role in the increasing number ofexhibitions of (previously ignored) modern and contemporary African art since the 1990s.Whereas an old modernist canon of the African ‘tribal’ sculpture has been overcome, the factthat “notions of ‘authenticity’ continue to be applied in this area indicates that the old

 paradigm still retains some force” (Court 1999, p. 157).In a similar way, Christian Kravagna (2004) arrives at the assessment that the heightenedvisibility of non-Western art is not only due to post-colonial discourses of deconstruction,

 but also to an ethno boom and fashion trend for exoticism. Thus, an increasing attention tonon-Western art appears to be also determined by neo-primitivist impulses, which exalt animaginary, irrational “otherness” to Western reason. The ethnologist Jonathan Friedman,who is close to world system theory, goes so far as to establish a tight connection betweenthe manufacture of such neo-primitivism and the postmodernist discourses of the lastdecades in the West. He grasps the postmodernist pole of the cultural logic of the globalsystem by contrast to the modern and traditional poles in the following way: “It defines the

 primitive as all that freedom from civilised control is meant to be, the confusion of the sexes,the liberation of infantile desire and its capacity for merging with the other, the expression ofimmediate feeling, a social existence based on communion rather than social distance. The

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conception of the modern here is that of culture as a set of imprisoning constraints, culture asopposed to nature, and repressive of nature. As such this position is also opposed totraditionalism, which is conceived as an expression of increased control, a reaction to thefalse freedom generated by modernity” (Friedman 1994, pp. 98f.).

Other critics in turn warn to become absorbed in questions of representation or symbolic politics and plead to pay more attention to the fundamental structures of the art system itself.For Rashed Araeen there is no doubt that the consideration of non-Western artists on theinternational scene has grown since the decade when he recited the ICA-Manifesto in thelate 1970s. The “young, post-colonial artists from Africa or Asia” are no longer segregatedfrom their white/European counterparts: “Both of them display and circulate within the samespace and the same art market, recognised and legitimated by the same institutions” (Araeen2001, p. 23). In his view, the concomitant glorification of difference bears no other effectthan the erection of “thick walls of multiculturalism” which serve to protect existingstructures. In addition, Araeen not only dismisses the “politics of identity”, as propagatedfrom Stuart Hall to Homi Bhabha’s “post-colonial theory”, but also questions the Third

Text ’s publication policy. It is important to change the system itself, not just the socialrepresentation within the system. For him, the art system represents Third World artistsmeanwhile to an adequate extent: “There is no point in us representing what is alreadyrepresented by the system. Third Text  should not be considered a ‘black’ art magazine;neither are we representing what is geographically described as ‘Third World’. It was

 perhaps a mistake our trying to represent what was no longer definable in geographicalterms. It should not be our responsibility to represent artists just because they are from theThird World. However, we should continue to publish critical material about artists whosework has been neglected and suppressed” (Araeen 2000, p. 19).

In contrast to Araeen, artist and writer Olu Oguibe even questions that a decisive change hastaken place regarding the amount of non-Western artists represented in the dominantinstitutions of the art field. Oguibe draws on the notion of “culture game”, which reminds ofthe game concept used in Bourdieu’s (1993, 1996) field theory. According to Oguibe a

 presumably global cultural game neither did lead to equal visibility, nor to accessibility.And, the sparse tendencies of inclusion observable have not ceased to follow a hegemoniclogic: The art field merely opens some “rationed slots”, a certain contingent number ofacquisitions of museums as well as a token number of places at important exhibitions.Selection processes themselves are guided by the stigmatising emphasis on the ethnic orregional background of non-Western artists, a procedure that strikingly differs from theselection of their Western colleagues. Inquiring into the backstage of the culture game,

Oguibe eventually holds, one discovers that it is the cynical calculation of an essentiallyclosed field which gives rise to recurrent inclusion tendencies. Oguibe’s observationsdeserve to be cited in-depth as they put the shared assumption of increasing inclusiontendencies by Scheps, Araeen and others, though they are embedded in different explanatoryframes, thoroughly into perspective: “The culture game operates on a number of relatedlevels. There is the systemic, structural level where it is methodologically implemented and

 perpetuated by contemporary art institutions through acquisitions, programming, criticism,and general discourse. On this level the game may take the form of minimal exhibitionallocations for art that comes from a particular province or constituency. Such slots, itappears, are rationed over ten-year periods, and because the opportunity to display is so rare,it becomes the tendency to seek to remedy the situation by consigning all such work to

humongous, inchoate, and badly conceived group or period exhibitions, after which heroicgestures institutions return to their regular, clinical programming, satisfied that they have paid their dues. In other words, every ten years over a designated period, there are huge

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African, Asian or Latin American exhibitions after which the pained rhetoric of institutions becomes, Well, but we just had an African or Asian or Latin American show!  Having stagedthe routine decade shows, museums and galleries feel no further obligation to touch any artor artist from these provenances (…). Ultimately, things degenerate to a game of numbers:We had five Africans in the Biennale, seven Chinese, two Southeast Asians, and even two

 Australian Aborigines. We do our best to ensure that this year’s exhibition wasrepresentative. What is masked in such a seemingly liberal gesture is that Western artists areseldom subjected to the same game of numbers, unless of course, they too belong outside themainstream: folk artists, Northwest artists, Native Americans, self-taught artists, prisonartists” (Oguibe 2004, pp. XIIf.).

Oguibe’s assessment is partly echoed by a statement of Stuart Hall in the context of thedocumenta 11 platform in Santa Lucia. He thinks of the possibility that documenta 11 might not mark a real break in the history of exhibitions, but merely an interlude of “culturaldiversity”: “There has been a certain, rather ambivalent, ‘globalisation’ of the art world. Andyet, at the same time, this is a limited process, which only happens on certain strict terms.

Huge spaces and gaps keep emerging. The agendas of inclusion are short-term and have alimited life and scope” (Hall 2003, pp. 198f.). Accordingly, it seems likely that such new“global exhibitions” do not signal the dawn of a global art world free from old structuringsand inequalities, but merely one of the bigger “rationed slots” in the culture game.

4. Deconstructing myths. Some time series data on the art field in the “new

globalisation” period (1970 – 2005)

One possibility to assess the impact of globalisation processes on the structure of the art fieldconsists in scrutinising the dynamics of the distribution of symbolic capital among Westernand non-Western artists (cf. Wuggenig 2005). Since 1970 the German business magazineCapital has offered empirical indicators by an annually published “artist-ranking”. This listof the worldwide top 100 artists called “Kunstkompass” (“art-compass”) registers thesymbolic capital of artists on the basis of their presence and visibility in the internationalexhibition circuit. The results are based on the consideration of the representation of visualartists in individual or group exhibitions at important art institutions, as defined by the art-establishment, and secondarily, on their presence in leading art journals. In 2001, forinstance, 160 art institutions, 130 group exhibitions and 5 art magazines were considered.First, the art institutions and group exhibitions are classified according to expert ratings.Then reputation scores according to these evaluations are assigned to them. In a second stepthe artists who display the highest frequency in these institutions/exhibitions with high

reputation are determined. They too get scores expressing their symbolic capital. Thismeasure of visibility and symbolic capital was first developed and applied by the Germaneconomist Willy Bongard, who as an art dealer also was part of the art field. Rohr-Bongard(2002, 2003, 2004, 2005) continued the annual surveys after his death.

This procedure is the best available to differentiate the core of the art field, i.e. living artistswith charismatic consecration based on the distinguished approval of the “art establishment”,from the periphery and semi-periphery of artists, who possess neither the symbolic capitalnor the symbolic power that would enable them to participate with decisive moves in thegames of the field or the “culture game” in the sense of Oguibe. Though not without

 problems (cf. Graw 2003), this method of determining the symbolic capital of artists, widely

used in the economics of art (e. g. Frey and Pommerehne 1989, Klein 1993), appears to besufficiently valid and reliable for our purpose, that is to say to analyse effects of the broadlyassumed globalisation of the art field in the last decades on the level of the distribution of

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reputation and power. It concentrates on the dominant pole of the art field, on artistsevaluated by professional critics and curators. It separates them from artists whose success isshort-lived and coupled with the vicissitudes of fashion. And it also separates them fromartists without reputation in the circles of insiders. The available empirical evidence onartistic recognition shows that in contrast to popular myths, like those on the fate of van

Gogh (who in fact was highly respected by art field peers), lack of recognition by peers is acertain sign, that an artist will never become part of the (international) history of art (cf.Heinich 1991). It also demonstrates that high symbolic capital in the visual arts in the longrun can regularly be converted into high economic capital (cf. Abbing 2004). In 1971, togive some examples for these rankings, the artists leading the list were RobertRauschenberg, Claes Oldenburg, Jasper Johns, Jean Tinguely and Yves Klein. In 1986Joseph Beuys, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg and Frank Stella could be found on thetop. In 2000 Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter, Bruce Nauman, Rosemarie Trockel andPipilotti Rist were ranked the highest (cf. Rohr-Bongard 2002, pp. 42, 72, 126), in 2005Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke, Bruce Nauman, Rosemarie Trockel, Louise Bourgeois andCindy Sherman were the living artists with the highest symbolic capital according to this

measurement device (cf. Rohr-Bongard 2005, p. 169).

From the very beginning, the art-compass also displayed the artists’ “country of origin”,which allows us to address questions of inclusion and exclusion through origin and territorialcriteria. For investigating the changes of social-spatial concentration over time, we againused the simple geographical model proposed by Johan Galtung. He drafted a world mapthat crosses the North-South with the East-West dichotomy, thus yielding “four corners ofthe world”. In this cartography, the “Northwest” encompasses Anglo-Saxon North Americaand Western Europe (countries of the EU in the borders before 2004); the “Northeast”includes the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Turkey, the former Soviet republics witha Muslim majority, Pakistan and Iran. The “Southwest” comprises Latin America, Mexico,the Caribbean, West Asia, the Arab world, Africa, South Asia and India; the “Southeast”East Asia, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, China and Japan (cf. Galtung 2000b, p.14.).

There exist at least two very different analytical perspectives for investigating globalisationeffects. Whereas Allan Cochrane’s and Kathy Pain’s approach represents a process-orientedtheory of globalisation, highlighting increasing spatial expansion as well as theintensification and the acceleration of interdependences, one could also deploy an ideal typemodel. Such a perspective conceptualises globalisation as an idealised state of universalorder. It can be invoked as a point of reference for measuring the scale and limits ofglobalisation processes (cf. Held and McGrew 2000, p. 4).

It is characteristic for process-oriented approaches that they tend to exaggerate the scale andrange of globalisation, since there is an inclination to compare the present with the (recent)

 past only. In addition they often concentrate on input factors while outcome factors likeeffects regarding hierarchy, inequality and polarisation for example, are largely ignored.

In view of this systematic bias we will dissect the question of effects not only on the basis of process-oriented approaches, but also with regard to ideal-type models of globalisation. Aconception of an ideal typical state would read as follows: “At the end of the globalisation

 process there will be a single state world, formed by a population considering itself as onenation (or a world nation)” (Galtung 2000a, p. 42). For a start, we take a simple model. It

would suggest high entropy of the social-spatial recruiting of actors occupying positionswith high symbolic capital in the art field. Territorial borders and regional fixations shouldnot play an important role. In such a world status is achieved and not based on ascription (e.

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g. gender, class, “race”, territory). The population of none of the major global regionsshould, by definition, have an advantage in advance. A possible yardstick would be theabsolute irrelevance of territorial origin. Empirically this would imply a balancedrecruitment of successful artists from all four corners of the world, and not, as Araeen statedin the 1970s, “from a select few Western countries”.

The number of artists in the Kunstkompass top 100 that do not originate from the Northwestcan be used as an indicator for effects and implications of the much cited “forced”globalisation of the art field in the past decades. In addition, a test of the deterritorialisation

 proposition of postmodernist theory can also be carried out this way.

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The figures 2–4 display the shares of artists from the Northeast, Southwest and Southeast inthe list of the top 100 artists for the comparatively dynamic period between 1970 and2005,[4]  both individually for these three regions and as the sum for non-Euroamerican art.

The data represented in these figures first of all display the central finding that the sum of theshares of artists from non-Northwest countries – which reached its peak in 2002 – neverexceeded 11%. Moreover, this share had already reached 8% in the early 1970s – making adifference of only 3% in 35 years of the “age of globalisation”. Instead of a linear orexponential increase, which the notion of a globalisation boom over the last three decadeswould imply, we can discern a U-shaped curve. From the middle 1970s, a time when the“international solidarity” of the new social movements was petering out in the West, a

 pronounced decline in the globalisation-effects is visible. This trend was only reversed in the1990s. In this decade, changes in the distribution of symbolic capital first reached

 proportions that can be interpreted as being indicative of an increased globalisation of theinternational art field. However, the change in the 1990s should not be overestimated. Thedata for the last years show that the there is a stagnation around the relatively modest peaklevel of 10-11% since the late 1990s. Moreover, during the period which supporters of the

globalisation thesis conceive as the “global age”, like e.g. Martin Albrow or ArjunAppadurai, artists from three of the four corners of the world, considered separately onlyreached shares of 5% at the maximum. This is demonstrated by the curves referring to artistsfrom the Southwest, the Northeast and the Southeast in the figures 2, 3 and 4.

The data reveal the blatant exclusion of Eastern Europe, Latin America, Australia as well asAfrica and Asia from the centre of the self proclaimed, global art-world. A soberexamination of the distribution of positions in the centre of the art field clearly shows thatinclusion processes have remained very modest. The chances of gaining a position in globalart-history in the 20th or 21st century are strongly and systematically linked to territorialorigin in the North-West. Moreover, taking the strong correlation between territory, culture,

ethnicity or “race” into account, evidently a highly unequal social and cultural distribution ofthese chances persists. The Southeast (including Southern and Eastern Asia) shares only 3-5% of ranked positions between 2000 and 2005. After its complete exclusion in the 1980s, the

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 Northeast, including Russia and the Eastern European countries, is represented with only 3%for the period between 2000 and 2004. The “Southwest”, comprising Latin America, Africaand the Caribbean, was represented by 3-4% from 2000 to 2005. This result also suffices todemonstrate that the strong visibility of African artists at documenta 11 in 2002 as well as inthe Western exhibition circuit in the post-Magicien period after 1990 had no immediate

 bearing on their presence at the very centre of the field of art.

These data, indicating the distribution of symbolic capital in the international field of art provide rather conclusive proof of Olu Oguibe’s “Slot assumption”. For artists from Africancountries, for instance, there has been one single “slot” in the centre of the contemporary art-world since the late 1990s. This “regional slot” has been occupied by William Kentridge and

 by South Africa since 1998. In recent times this country has brought forth a number of artistswho have been present on the contemporary-art circuit, if not present enough to be listed inthe top 100 Capital ranking. Nevertheless, South Africa is not representative of the Africancontinent as it is a “semi-periphery” – in the precise sense of Wallerstein’s (1979) worldsystem perspective – and not a periphery. Structurally, semi-peripheral nations display

characteristics of both central and peripheral nations. Two other countries that alsocorrespond to this category are South Korea and Brazil. Like South Africa, both of them

 boasted one top-100 artist in 2004 (Nam June Paik and Ernesto Neto, respectively).Peripheral countries, or the “Fourth World” in the sense of Amin, however, do not appear atall in the ranking.

One position that opposes globalisation theses captures recent tendencies of transnationalexchange as a process of “trilateral regionalisation”. It was put forward in the context ofdebates about economic globalisation. It also rests upon the fact that two thirds of allworldwide economic activities are concentrated in the “capitalistic triad”, the US, EU, andJapan (cf. Thompson 2000, pp. 110ff.). In the 1990s, these regions encompassed merely 15%of the global population. Samir Amin (2001) had this group of countries in mind when hespoke of a new “collective imperialism” replacing the old imperialism, which was marked

 by sharp internal antagonisms.

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With regard to the centre of the art field, figure 5 illustrates to what extent it recruits fromtwo of the economically powerful regions of this triad: the US and the EU. The sum of thetriad’s proportional representation at the centre of the art field from 1970 to 2005 is between82% and 95%. The respective figures for 2004 and 2005 are 86% and 87%. The statistics for

the EU during the whole period of 1970 to 2004 encompass the 15 member states prior to theUnion’s “Eastern Expansion” in 2004. Furthermore, Switzerland as a non-EU Europeancountry adds a significant share of 3% e.g. in the last three years to the curve depicted. Thus,the triad’s share of successful artists far outweighs even its share of global economicactivity. Yet, if one interprets the economic concentration in these three regions as evidenceagainst the globalisation thesis – which assumes a specific “ideal-type model” interpretationas opposed to a process-oriented one – in alluding to Hirst and Thomposon (1999), whospeak of the “myth of economic globalisation” one could analogically speak of the “myth ofglobalisation of the field of art”.

However, the case of Japan with a share of 0-2% over all the globalisation period considered

 puts the analogy to trilateral globalisation slightly into perspective. Despite its economic risein the 1970s and 1980s, the global visibility of artists from this country has not risenanalogous to its economic upward mobility. From a quantitative perspective, its artistic

 presence in the art field equals that of semi-peripheral countries like Brazil or Korea. Therecourse to “depth culture”, a theoretical construct of Galtung referring to cosmologies orcivilizisations[5], could be fruitful for explaining the under-representation of a nation likeJapan – in comparison with small European countries like Switzerland or Austria (2% in2005), for example. High visibility in the field of art seems to be partly connected witheconomic power and partly with a cultural context characterised by a Christian-Jewishtradition, which in Galtung’s (1996) scheme is part of the occident I cosmology. Thechances of attaining a high international profile are slight if one of these factors is not given.In Japan’s case the „adequate“ cosmology seems to be missing, whereas in Latin America’scase a privileged economic situation is absent. The interaction between economic andcultural factors becomes apparent when one considers the extremely low visibility of artistsfrom economically underprivileged countries with no Christian-Jewish occident I tradition.

These observations allow two conclusions about processes of globalisation in the field of art.First, the importance of economic status suggests that structural factors are crucial forassessing the effects of cultural exchange processes. Contrary to theories of culturalglobalisation, which stress symmetrical interactions within cultural flows or networks, theunequally distributed economic power and “distance to necessity” (Bourdieu) appears to be

important. Notwithstanding, one should keep in mind that the art field functions in arelatively autonomous logic with regard to external economic as well as political influences:On the one hand, the worldwide allocation of legitimate symbolic capital is, as alreadynoted, also bound up with contextual, cultural attributes. On the other hand, symbolicconsecration in the (avant-garde) art field follows an essentially anti-economic logic, as notonly Bourdieu’s critical theory (1996) but also French pragmatist sociology (cf. Heinich2004) and the more enlightened approaches in the economics of art (cf. Chiapello 1993,Abbing 2004, Velthuis 2005) suggest. Thus, massive commercialisation of a national field ofart may have negative effects on the degree of international reputation of its artists. As anexample, figure 4 shows that the change of the position of US art does not correspond to the

 political and military ascent of the US to the “hegemon of hegemones” (Galtung) in the

1990s. Instead, the symbolic capital of US-art declined continuously since the 1970s.The proportion of artists from the US, ranked in the centre of the art field reached its peak in1978 with nearly 50%, but has decreased since then to about 31%. As the time from the late

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1970s was a period of strongly increasing corporate intervention in the US art market (e.g.corporate collecting, corporate sponsoring etc., cf. Wu 2002, pp. 47ff.), this loss ofinternational influence may have been the price of the “heteronomisation” of the US-American field of art.

Secondly, the data suggest that international success in the field of art is still based onterritorial, social and (macro)cultural characteristics, that is to say, highly contextualattributes. Economical and Cultural closure reigns, there is no “universalistic” foundation ofaccess into the field. Thus, the field of art strikingly differs e. g. from a branch of the cultureand entertainment industry like professional sports. There, numerous chances of success,visibility and symbolic capital (at the Olympic Games, for instance) for participants of non-Western, non capitalistic-triad, non Euro-American, non-Christian/Jewish cultural origin or anon-legitimate skin colour exist. Professional sports, a field of popular culture, thereforecomparatively appears to embody a model of universalism, openness and formal equality ofchances much more. Conversely, the field of art turns out to be one of the social sphereswhose social mechanisms of selection blatantly contradict a “universalistic” logic, a feature

that has been assumed to be a central characteristic of institutions of Western modernity. Inthe reception of the highly influential “pattern variables” of Talcott Parsons, ascription,

 particularism and collective orientation are accorded the status of traditional or “primitive”values, whereas self orientation, achievement and universalism are interpreted as modernones (cf. Parsons 1951 and the use of his pattern variables for constructing the opposition oftraditional vs. modern in Wallace and Wolff 1991, pp. 31ff. and Banuri 1990, p. 33).

According to our data, the Northwest clearly dominates the centre of the art field, headed bythe EU-US dyad. Yet, the predominance of this region becomes even more apparent if onetakes into account that the majority of non-Northwestern artists with high visibility lives(lived) and works (worked) in North-Western art metropolises, usually New York, but alsoLondon, Paris, Cologne and Berlin (cf. also the list of the residences of artists in thecatalogue of documenta 11). Real bodily (and not only virtual) integration into one of theseterritorially demarcated areas – which are the centres of art production and the networks ofweak and strong ties of artists, critics, curators and dealers – is in most cases a prerequisitefor success and recognition in the field of contemporary art (cf. Giuffre 1999, Janssen 2001,Heinich 2004). As Raymond Moulin observes, one reason for the high territorialconcentration of art centres in the West lies in the close interdependence of the art marketand the financial market, which in turn, as Saskia Sassen (2000) has demonstrated, tendstowards territorial concentration “The art market displays the two characteristics of being

 both internationalised and simultaneously centralised in a few world metropolis similar to

the financial market network as both universes are interdependent” (Moulin 2003, p. 83.).Consequently, one realizes that greater international mobility of artists and curators - one ofthe indicators for the thesis of globalisation in the art field - does not weaken the territorialgravity of main North-Western art centres; nor does the proliferation of art biennales and artinstitutions outside countries of the Northwest alter the traditional cartography of centres and

 peripheries in the art field, as euphoric voices in the art world have suggested.

For globalisation theories that claim increasing deterritorialisation and that dismiss centre- periphery models (e.g. Hardt and Negri 2000), such regional concentrations represent“anomalies” in the Kuhnian sense which prove difficult to integrate. These highlyspeculative, theories ignore empirical evidence for the persistence of demarcated power

centres. They also ignore, that networks are from being structures being free from hierarchyand exploitation, but are new means and media for highly asymmetric forms of exchange (cf.Boltanski / Chiapello 2005). In some versions of globalisation theory, regional

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concentrations of power – such as manifested in “global cities” (cf. Sassen 2000) – are evenreinterpreted as indicators for increasing globalisation (cf. e.g. Cochran and Pain 2000, p.17).

Centre-periphery models, however, not only allow grasping processes of compression and

regional concentration, they also illuminate that the chances to benefit from emerginginternational “flows” are territorially unequally distributed. The migration of scientists andartists from the peripheries and semi-peripheries to the centres of the Northwest, forexample, demonstrates a classical “brain-drain” pattern. Without doubt, it benefits the“centres of the centres” and the “centres of the peripheries” more than the “peripheries of the

 peripheries” (cf. Galtung 1980). The worldwide dissemination of art biennales and artinstitutions, in turn, does not necessarily mark a sign of globalisation to be celebrated. Onecould instead pose the question to what extent it implies patterns of cultural imperialism thatinvolve the establishment of bridgeheads in centres of the peripheries, supported by aculturally penetrated indigenous elite. One could also ask, whether such cultural bridgeheadsmight serve the development of counter-power in the periphery, as Hou Hanru (1999, p.

347.) assumes, or whether the elites of the periphery tend to lose power due to globalisation:“The local representative (in the centre of the periphery, L. B. and U. W.) will becomesuperfluous under conditions of trans-continental real-time communication; purchases will

 be made directly from the ’centre’, via internet, and delivery follows via centrally controlledchannels. This poses a major threat to the ‘elite’ of the periphery” (Galtung 2000, p. 132).However, bearing in mind the limited importance of e-commerce and the still pronounced‘digital gap’ (cf. Achhar et al (ed.) 2003, p. 10, Warnier 2004, p. 42.) this ‘centre-periphery’scenario would appear to describe a development for the distant future.

Analysing the effects of internationalisation in the field of art suggests that typicalassumptions of globalisation theories, such as deterritorialisation, the acceleration ofworldwide interdependencies, or mutual interpenetration of cultural life, tend to obscure thereality of persisting asymmetries and power structures. What appears as the emergence of aglobal art field turns out to be the business of dyadic regionalization – associated with theworldwide establishment of some institutional satellites and restricted slots for non-occidental artists. The talk about the globalisation of art in important respects seems to referto no more than a myth. Pragmatic sociology postulates that deconstructing such mythsshould not be the whole task for a scientific study of societies and their fields (cf. Heinich2004). Sociology of art also is supposed to explore the logic of such myths in detail and tofind out, why they can gain such high popularity in view of so much evidence to thecontrary.

[1] The notion of globalization was introduced in the social sciences in the 1980s (cf.Rosenau 1980, Levitt 1983, Robertson 1983), and increasingly used since the early 1990s(cf. e. g. Albrow / King (eds.) 1990, Appadurai 1990, Featherstone (ed.) 1990, Giddens1990, Sklair 1991, McGrew 1992).

[2] In this discussion the artists Martha Rosler, Yinka Shonibare as well as “a new class ofcurators” participated, who are active worldwide and thus have a worldwide status. Amongstthem Okwui Enwezor, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Cathrine David and Franceso Bonami are listed.

[3] The four regions of the world were differentiated on the base of a cartography of Galtung(2000) in the following way: a) NORTHWEST: North America (USA, Canada), Western

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Europe (European Union in the borders after the inclusion of countries in 1995, notincluding the eastern countries, which only joined in 2004). b) SOUTHWEST: LatinAmerica, Caribean Countries, Western Asia, Arab World, Africa, Southern Asia, India. c)

 NORTHEAST: former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Turkey, Pakistan, Iran. d)SOUTHEAST: Southern Asia, Eastern Asia, Pacific Islands, China, Japan.

The “Rest” in figure 1 refers to SOUTHWEST + SOUTHEAST + NORTHEAST, the“West” to the NORTHWEST.

[4] The results for the 5 years (1980, 1982, 1984, 1985, 1987) in which the rankings did nottake place or were established using other criteria, have been determined by linearinterpolation.

[5] The use of the notion of an unconscious depth-culture, in the sense of a cosmology, andcontrary to surface culture based on debatable “ideologies” is, in this case, a reference toGaltung’s theory. The notion of deep culture is not essentialist as e.g. Menzel 2001

maintains. Galtung 2003, p. 9 emphasises that it is used as a theoretical construct, an “as-if”concept, in the sense of a fictive supposition that can be referenced for prediction purposes.

Lara Buchholz (DE) and Ulf Wuggenig (DE)Lara Buchholz is a Ph.D. student at the Department of Sociology, SUNY at Stony Brook,

 New York, USA. Ulf Wuggenig is the director of the Institute for Cultural Theory and theco-director of the Art Gallery of the University of Lueneburg, Germany.


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