Noah Horowitz 2017-11-30 21:43:46
After a turbulent year of geopolitical tension, protest and social polarization, we have spent a great deal of time considering the themes to profile in our feature section for this issue, which spotlights some of the most pressing cultural developments of the past 12 months. What follows is guided by our fundamental belief that the role of art in today’s frenetic climate is more urgent than ever. In the American context, one of the foremost issues concerns public funding and the ongoing role of the National Endowment for the Arts. Though the NEA’s budget is miniscule relative to other federal line items, Lindsay Pollock adeptly underscores this funding’s continued criticality, particularly for smaller institutions, which often leverage public contributions to galvanize other donations. Important events that have raised the bar for multicultural dialogue and shined light on underrecognized yet thriving art scenes in 2017 have included the inauguration of Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa in Cape Town and the opening of Prospect.4 in New Orleans (the largest biennial in the United States outside of New York City). Similarly, “Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA” signaled the vitality of Latin American art and its complex and decisive relationship with Greater Los Angeles. The influence of its accompanying scholarship and the ambitious trans-institutional collaborations that were instigated are likely to reverberate for years to come. And, as Diana McClure argues, in a year that included such pivotal events as documenta 14, Skulptur Projekte Münster and the Venice Biennale, art’s essential relationship to the environment, to technological and scientific innovation and to identity politics was ever-present—as it will surely remain as we look ahead to 2018, and well beyond. Noah Horowitz Director Americas, Art Basel
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