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Claire Tancons’s exhibition-as-procession, “Spring,” Gwangju, 2008. (Work pictured: Marlon Griffith, Runaway/Reaction, 2008, mixed-media performance.) From the 2008 Gwangju Biennale.

the 2008 Gwangju Biennale, Singapore Biennale 2008, and 3rd Yokohama Triennale

Various Locations

Claire Tancons’s exhibition-as-procession, “Spring,” Gwangju, 2008. (Work pictured: Marlon Griffith, Runaway/Reaction, 2008, mixed-media performance.) From the 2008 Gwangju Biennale.

THIS PAST FALL, with the consecutive openings of six “Asian biennials,” the deliquescent 1990s and early-2000s trend toward establishing new large-scale exhibitions in increasingly far-flung locales bore fruit, such as it is. And as might have been anticipated, these shows were also attended by the repeatedly aired critiques that such efforts do little more than adapt a late-nineteenth-century model of display to newly ascendant societies; and, further, serve as highbrow smoke screens cynically deployed in the service of nationalist political regimes, neoliberal economic interests, or narrow municipal agendas. But to make either of these points in the present context is to pick up a debate that has, in fact, faded in the years since the first Gwangju Biennale of 1995. Back then, recall, questions about globalization, and about the place of “Asia” (always a problematic concept in

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