the devil of contemporaneousness…

“But, once again, the devil of contemporaneousness does its deed: whereas the system of modern art was territorialized in a centrifugal structure of centers and peripheries around modernity’s historical monopoly in the liberal-capitalist enclave of the North Atlantic, we now face a regime of international generalization transmitting the pandemic of the contemporary to the last recesses of the earth. In fact, the main reason for the craze surrounding the contemporary art market in recent years (and for its not having immediately collapsed after the plunge of global capitalism) has been the market’s lateral extension: bourgeoises who would previously buy work within their local art circuits became part of a new private jet set of global elites consuming the same brand of artistic products, ensuring spiraling sales and the celebration of an age in which endless “editions” allow artworks to be disseminated throughout an extended geography. In turn, each enclave of these globalized elites drives the development of a contemporary art infrastructure in their own city, using a standard mixture of global art references and local “emergent” schools. Contemporary art is defined by a new global social context in which disenfranchised wealthy individuals (who have abdicated their roles as industrial and commerce managers to the bureaucracy of CEOs) seek a certain civic identity through aesthetic “philanthropy.” In this fashion they interact with a new social economy of services performed by artists, critics, and curators—services with symbolic capital that rests on an ability to trade in a semblance of “the contemporary.”

Contemporary art thus becomes the social structure defined by the dialectic between the new private jet set and a jet proletariat“.

Autor: Cuauhtémoc Medina

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