A look at the growth of biennial exhibitions and other transnational art events in the 1990s can not pass the man from Ghent Jan Hoet.
- De Zee, Ostend’s tribute to the late curator and museum director Jan Hoet, by curator Phillip Van den Bossche
- Zoe Leonard’s Sun Photographs
- De Zee includes a generous number of Flemish artists, with younger practitioners invited to make new work for the occasion.
- De Zee: an interesting case study in the ‘art walk’ > example of complicity between contemporary art and tourism.
- Jan Baldessari’s Brain/Cloud
- Kris Martin’s Altar on the beach, where it captures the sea in the framework of Van Eyck’s Ghent Altarpiece.
- Bill Viola’s The Arc of Ascent beautifully installed at the old Cinema Capitole on Langestraat,
- James Lee Byars’ eerie moon sculptures
- Rodney Graham’s large format photograph Lighthouse Keeper with Lighthouse Model.
- (Z)art, which Hoet curated at the Galerie Abtart in Stuttgart
- La Mer à boire (Volvo S60), Pascale Marthine Tayou.
In his book Art Incorporated Julian Stallabrass analyses the growth of biennial exhibitions and other transnational art events in the 1990s, singling out tourism and municipal prestige as underlying motives. In extreme cases these events favoured work by and for the international art elite over art produced by locals or addressing their concerns. One example he gives is an edition of the Havana Biennial where venues were apparently closed and video exhibits turned off once the international set had moved on after the gala opening.
Reading this over Christmas reminded me of a recent visit to De Zee, Ostend’s tribute to the late curator and museum director Jan Hoet. I arrived at the last stop in my tour, the Thermae Palace, with half an hour to spare before the advertised closing time. I was let in, but only once the venue’s guardians had found the keys. The door had…
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