The Art Angle Podcast: Why Art Biennial Superstars Exist in a Parallel Universe
Writers Ben David and Kate Brown discuss our Biennial Art Project.
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You’ve heard quite a bit about major international exhibitions on the Art Angle recently—the Whitney Biennial, the Venice Biennial, and most recently Documenta, which comes once every five years to Kassel, Germany. On their own, each of these are closely watched events by art mavens looking to spot the next big trend in contemporary art. But they are also just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to a circuit of exhibitions that pop up around the world, from Athens to Bangkok to Cuenca to Dakar to, well, you could keep going on down through the alphabet.
With the newest Documenta now open, we asked ourselves: What if you could go to every one of these biennials? What kinds of trends would you see? To answer the question, our writers looked at the artists included in hundreds of such exhibitions held since the last Documenta in 2017, to find out which names came up most. The answers that emerged were surprising, frankly, even to us, revealing a list of biennial artist superstars who have dominated the conversation among curators in the last five years. These figures make art cut to fit the biennial circuit. They even have their own means of economic support.
To talk about the findings of our Biennial Art Project, today we have a conversation between two of the writers who worked on it: Ben Davis, our National Art Critic, and Kate Brown, our European editor.
You can read more about the full project, which includes an extremely long list of all the artists in our data set, which galleries represent them, and an essay on what it means to be a biennial artist on Artnet News and Artnet News Pro.
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