“A glum trudge,” a “morose, joyless, and ugly” exhibition that “beats the visitor up with political theory rather than giving us the pleasures and stimulations of great art.”1 The consensus gleaned from the reviews is that Okwui Enwezor's decision to focus the 56th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale on investigating and critiquing the place of art within advanced neoliberal capitalism is “hypocritical” due to the fact of art's existence as a “bastion of privilege,” a luxury good for the top percentile of the global one percent.2 The basic tautological lesson from these reviews is that a critique of capitalism is disqualified by participation in the capitalist economy (just as Occupy Wall Street was disqualified by activists using iPhones). Until the contradictions of culture under capitalism are resolved, these critics imply, a principled renunciation of any sector of the public sphere contaminated by the market is the...
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September 01 2016
All the World's Futures: The 55th Venice Biennale
All the World's Futures: The 55th Venice BiennaleMay 9–November 22, 2015 multiple venues, Venice, Italy
Online Issn: 1937-2108
Print Issn: 0001-9933
© 2016 by the Regents of the University of California.
African Arts (2016) 49 (3): 86–87.
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All the World's Futures: The 55th Venice Biennale. African Arts 2016; 49 (3): 86–87. doi: https://doi.org/10.1162/AFAR_r_00303
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