Multinational art

In the dash to internationalism the national //--> is trampled underfoot, argues Laura Gascoigne.

In November, Lund Humphries celebrated 75 years of publishing books on British art with an anniversary talk at google_ad_width = 970; the ICA titled ‘Is there such a thing as British art?’ It was chaired by Tim Marlow, now of the Royal Academy, and debated src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show_ads.js"> by a panel

composed of Iwona Blazwick from

the Whitechapel, Emma Dexter from the British Council and artists Nathan Coley and Yinka Shonibare. Don’t ask me what was said,
as the
event was so oversubscribed I couldn’t get a ticket.

British art is on a bit of a roll. True, no YBAs made it onto ArtReview’s Power 100 list last year, but Cameron’s gift to his new ‘bro’ Obama of a Henry Moore print of

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Stonehenge did seem to reflect a newfound confidence in our national art. It certainly upped the ante on the special gift-giving relationship after the src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show_ads.js"> boxed set of classic American film DVDs presented
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by Obama to Gordon Brown in 2009. But google_ad_slot = "6023194682"; while national pride in the art of the past still
QQ:768975
seems permissible, it has started to google_ad_client = "ca-pub-3967079123942817"; look iffy when applied to the present. Patriotism has no place in a global art world. Hence the further questions raised by the Lund Humphries debate: “Is there an inherent, identifiable ‘Britishness’ in the art
made in these islands today? Or is any notion of a culturally significant Britishness now redundant?”

In his autumn pep talk to participants in the 56th Venice Biennale, President Paolo Baratta recalled the reaction against national pavilionism in 1999 that prompted the creation of the International Exhibition “to offer the world a global sounding board”.

The man in charge of this year’s sounding board is Nigerian Okwui Enwezor and his exhibition, inclusively titled All
the World’s Futures, will invite visitors to “read the Giardini with its [sic] ramshackle assemblage of pavilions as the ultimate site

took over several rooms of Tate Modern in 2013. I remember it as a pleasantly shambolic collection of brightly coloured ephemera google_ad_width = 970; with interleaved bank notes representing capital. When the rooms google_ad_client = "ca-pub-3967079123942817"; were cleared, the Museum was

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put into storage. It was an early purchase by the African Acquisitions Committee.

I’m wary of art acquisition src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show_ads.js"> by committee, believing that great collections are formed by individuals, but acquisition by foreign art committee – if you can //--> still say ‘foreign’ – is far more

worrying. On its leader page the Russian-owned London Evening Standard welcomed the Tate’s
2012 announcement of its international activities on the
grounds that

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its
ambition to “build itself up as an international brand… can only help to add to London’s image in the world”. Hang on there, Lebedev. Tate & Lyle is an international brand. The Tate is, or was, a

the problem
of filling this vast unwanted space /* xin2 */ on the cheap by shopping in relatively undeveloped markets. But it could shop even more cheaply at home if it was prepared to look at national artists without international reputations.

“Real Art history is always part of national history,” wrote the Russian critic Boris Groys a few years ago. “There

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is a global art market, but there