The World as Gallery: Conceptualism and Global Neo-Avant-Garde

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This article examines recent claims that conceptual art was the first truly global art form, by analysing its material circuits of production, exhibition and distribution. Undertaking a close analysis of artistic developments in various regions of the world in the postwar era, it seeks to show that existing narratives—either that conceptual art was specific to US and Europe, or that it was a 'spontaneously global' phenomenon—are both reductive. Instead, conceptual art is redefined as the crystallisation and institutionalisation of an already relatively generalised Modernism, yet one whose material conditions must be contextualised within the economic and socio-political 'internationalism' of the end of the post-war era. Despite this, the 'global imaginary' of conceptualism can obscure these material specificities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-111
Number of pages31
JournalNew Left Review
Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2016


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