Okwui Enwezor

ONCE EVERY DECADE SINCE 1977, a unique summertime convergence of large-scale European exhibitions—the Venice Biennale, Documenta, and Skulptur Projekte Münster—transforms the ecology of contemporary art into a spectacular field of display, production, multiple curatorial conceits, gossip, and ennui. In previous years when these shows’ cycles have become synchronized, the entire art world has seemed to follow the same route, making the long, exhausting trip from one old European city to another like a caravan trailing a summer carnival. Inevitably, this endeavor was attended by the strange experience of encountering the same people—artists, curators, writers, collectors, and assorted groupies—all over, in different cities, and seeing their enthusiasm in bright, sunny Italy gently turn to jaded fatigue as their travels continued through gloomy, soggy Germany. But this year seemed different.

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