The Biennial Reader

Edited by Marieke van Hal, Solveig Ovstebo and Elena Filipovic for Hatje Cantz, The Biennial Reader “explores the artistic, theoretical, political, and other ambitions of such large-scale exhibition projects against the grain of their resulting exhibitions.”

The book is the offspring of the 2009 Bergen Biennial Conference (see program, participants, streaming video, review by Quinn Latimer). Commentary by Gerd Elise Mørland at

Texts include:

  • Lawrence Alloway, “The Biennial in 1968” (1969)
  • Daniel Buren, “Exhibition of an Exhibition” (1972) and “Where Are the Artists?” (2004)
  • Gerardo Mosquera, “The Marco Polo Syndrome: Some Problems around Art and Eurocentrism” (1992)
  • Thomas McEvilley, “Arrivederci, Venice: The Third World Biennials” (1993)
  • Michael Brenson, “The Curator’s Moment: Trends in the Field of International Contemporary Art Exhibitions” (1998)
  • Sabine Marschall, “The Impact of the Two Johannesburg Biennials on the Formation of a ‘New South African Art’” (1999)
  • Donald Preziosi, “The Crystalline Veil and the Phallomorphic Imaginary” (2001)
  • Carlos Basualdo, “The Unstable Institution” (2003)
  • Charlotte Bydler, “The Global Art World, Inc.: On the Globalization of Contemporary Art” (2004)
  • Marian Pastor Roces, “Crystal Palace Exhibitions” (2004)
  • Okwui Enwezor, “Mega-Exhibitions and the Antinomies of a Transnational Global Form” (2004)
    George Baker, “The Globalization of the False: A Response to Okwui Enwezor” (2004)
  • Elena Filipovic, “The Global White Cube” (2005)
  • Paul O’Neill, “The Curatorial Turn: From Practice to Discourse” (2007)
  • Oliver Marchart, “Hegemonic Shifts and the Politics of Biennialization: The Case of Documenta” (2008)
  • Simon Sheikh, “Marks of Distinction, Vectors of Possibility: Questions for the Biennial” (2009)
  • Yacouba Konaté, “The Invention of the Dakar Biennial” (2009)


  • Bruce W. Ferguson and Milena M. Hoegsberg, “Talking and Thinking about Biennials: The Potential of Discursivity”
  • Caroline A. Jones, “The Historical Origins of the Biennial”
  • Federica Martini & Vittoria Martini, “Questions of Authorship in Biennial Curating”
  • Gerardo Mosquera, “The Havana Biennial: A Concrete ‘Utopia’”
  • Jan Verwoert, “The Curious Case of Biennial Art”
  • John Clark, “Biennials as Structures for the Writing of Art History: The Asian Perspective”
  • Maria Hlavajova, “How to Biennial: A Consideration of the Biennial in Relation to the Art Institution”
  • Rafal Niemojewski, “Venice or Havana: A Polemic on the Genesis of the Contemporary Biennial”
  • Ranjit Hoskote, “Biennials of Resistance: Reflections on the Seventh Gwangju Biennial”
  • Raqs Media Collective, “On Curatorial Responsibility”
  • Vinicius Spricigo, “Changes in Strategies of (Re)presentation at the São Paulo Biennial”