6 2002: Cosmopolitanism

Exhibitions in this chapter: documenta X (1997, Kassel, Germany); Documenta11 (2002, Kassel, Germany, with Platforms in Vienna, Austria; Berlin, Germany; New Delhi, India; St. Lucia; Lagos, Nigeria)


Documenta11 (2002) is widely considered one of the most important exhibitions in recent decades, recognized for its postcolonial, geographic dispersion of art and also a radical (though not entirely unprecedented) curatorial method, that of diffused curatorship in which the exhibition's director worked closely with a team of collaborators. This chapter will concentrate primarily on two key forces underpinning this millennial mode of exhibition-making and the significant tensions between them: between chief curator Okwui Enwezor's self-conscious destabilization of centralized intellectual and artistic authority across what he described as postcolonial “constellations of discursive domains, circuits of artistic and knowledge production, and research modules,” and his adroitly managerial solution of delegated duties.1


Figure 6.1 Cover of Documenta11_Platform 5, exhibition catalogue, curators Okwui Enwezor et al. (Ostfildern-Ruit: Hatje Cantz, 2002). Courtesy documenta and Hatje Cantz.

Enwezor was consciously seeking a fundamental and ambitious redefinition of the structure and meaning of art institutions according to a decolonized and, by now, ...

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