Accepted paper:

Trouble in Shangri-La: Tibetan Artists' Travels in the Global Contemporary Artworld


Clare Harris (University of Oxford)

Paper short abstract:

This paper addresses the panel theme by examining a recent entry in the international artworld: ‘Tibetan Contemporary Art’. It questions the rhetoric of ‘global’ contemporary art and investigates how the logic of particular artworld locations can be negotiated – or not.

Paper long abstract:

Like Shangri-La, the global contemporary artworld is often imagined as a utopia where artists are free to circulate and nationhood and ethnicity are irrelevant. However, this short paper will argue that it is actually a rather difficult place to inhabit for a group of contemporary Tibetan artists. Although the contemporary artworld has sometimes seemed to offer them an escape from the strictures of their home locations and an arena in which to unite when geopolitics otherwise divides them, transnational Tibetan artists have found that the artworld can be a challenging environment with invisible boundary markers and unstated criteria for inclusion and exclusion. As their experiences of participating in a number of international exhibitions reveals, it may not always be a paradise.

panel P19
Anthropology in the contemporary artworld