ISSN: 20455836
First published in 2012
2 issues per volume
Volume 2 Issue 1
Cover Date: February 2013
Berlin, Paris, Liverpool: ‘Biennialization’ and Left Critique in 2012
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Authors:  Francis Frascina 
DOI: 10.1386/jcs.2.1.2_1

Berlin Biennale,Paris Triennale,Liverpool Biennial,biennialization,Occupy,left critique

This article examines three European examples of the ‘biennale’ phenomenon from 2012 in order to explore Charlotte Bydler’s insistence that there is no ‘biennial format’, no single ‘biennial discourse’, and the ‘only way to historicize a biennial is to identify its specificity’. It will argue two main points: first, that instances of ‘specificity’, evident in relationships between artworks and audiences, constituencies and communities, are in tension with curatorial conventions of so-called ‘biennial culture’ and ‘biennialization’; second, that responding to conflicting characteristics of biennales is a challenge to leftists wary and weary of, on the one hand, reductive characterizations – treating instances as homogeneous manifestations of the market – and, on the other, melancholic retreats into claims for the power of aesthetic judgments and experiences as counter to capitalism’s culture of spectacle.
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