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PRINT September 2019

THE STORYTELLERS

Henry Taylor, I became . . . , 2016, acrylic on canvas, 71 7⁄8 × 71 3⁄4". Central Pavilion.

ONE WOULD BE FORGIVEN for thinking the large-scale biennial has run its course. Since the onslaught of globalization, these exhibitions proliferated under the prevailing belief that supranational and geographically dispersed structures might overcome cultural, racial, and ethnic hierarchies, as well as Eurocentric bias. But we have entered what might be called a postglobal phase in history and culture, and the very premise of allocating power according to the twin mandates of geographic diffusion and international inclusion has come to mask the way that power now operates, accrues, and is reified. In the case of the global exhibition—and the Venice Biennale in particular, whose organizing principle inescapably revolves around the nation-state—we can no longer ignore persistent issues of privilege and access (e.g., what does it mean to require the beholder to cross the globe, not

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