Decolonising the Exhibitionary Complex: Australian and Latin American Art and Activism in the Era of the Global Contemporary

  • David CorbetEmail author
Part of the Studies of the Americas book series (STAM)


This chapter problematises the notion of a Global Contemporary, a term arising in the aftermath of the postcolonial turn in the visual arts, critiquing it from an overarching perspective of geopolitical and cultural decolonisation. This perspective foregrounds activist curatorial, artistic and institutional practices, contextualising them in relation to other art forms and academic disciplines, specifically focusing on developments in Australia, Brazil and Mexico. Some key artistic currents, exhibitions, thinkers and institutional critiques from these regions are explored, including an examination of Euro-American modernism and philosophical thought as vectors of epistemic occupation by a hegemonic Northern ‘exhibitionary complex’. It also considers emerging, technologically-connected artistic and exhibitionary incubators, alongside biennials and triennials, as the primary sites of The Global Contemporary. The focus is on exhibition practice, rather than individual artists’ works; intersections with academic, institutional and museum cultures; and with broader notions of place and place-making. This includes a consideration of a worldwide turn towards socially engaged artistic practices; the ways in which the exhibitionary complex is responding to the emergence of new methodologies and identity formations; and possible futures for latitudinal artistic exchange among independent institutions and collectives within a globalised spectacle economy.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of SydneySydneyAustralia

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