Biennales, Triennales and Documentas

Subject AHIS90007 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2011:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

On campus

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 2
Total Time Commitment: 120
Prerequisites: Admission to the postgraduate diploma or fourth-year honours in art history, Master of Cinema Management, Master of Arts and Cultural Management (Moving Image), Bachelor of Creative Arts (Honours), Master of Arts in Art History (Advanced Seminar and Shorter Thesis)
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.

The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Prof Charles Green


Charles Green

Subject Overview:

This subject examines the exhibition of contemporary art in international survey exhibitions since the 1960s, delineating the methods that curators and directors have tested in response to the needs of art museums, bureaucracies, artists and publics across a range of geographic settings. The subject will examine a sequence of exhibitions from Australia and overseas, including early, national pavilion-based Venice Biennales, the director-driven 1970s Documentas, the 1980s global circuit of Biennales (including Sydney's), the newer Asian biennales (including Brisbane's Asia-Pacific triennials), the commercial art fairs (Frieze and the New York Armory Show). The subject considers these exhibitions' impact on contemporary art, as well as the roles of sponsorship, philanthropy and exhibition directors.

  • have an understanding of key issues in the contemporary art curatorship and exhibition of international art;
  • be able to conduct independent curatorial research using catalogued sources and bibliographical indexes;
  • be familiar with the key issues in the curatorial practice of international contemporary art survey exhibitions such as Biennales, Triennales and Documentas;
  • be equipped with the relevant skills and methods to critically examine the different curatorial models of contemporary survey exhibitions;
  • have an overview of the history of Biennales, Triennales and Documentas within recent international art;
  • understand the role of recurring contemporary art survey exhibitions in preparation for a career in the industry;
  • gain an understanding of the selection policies of curators;
  • be able to understand the major theoretical and curatorial debates on international survey exhibitions, and be able to relate these to exhibitions in Australia; and
  • gain a knowledge of the changing nature of the installation and display of contemporary art.
Assessment: A research essay of 2500 words 50% (due during the semester) and a take-home examination of 2500 words 50% (due during the examination period). Students are required to attend a minimum of 75% of classes in order to qualify to have their written work assessed. All required written work must be submitted in order to pass the subject.
Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available from the bookshop.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • be able to research through the competent use of the library and other information sources, and be able to define areas of inquiry and methods of research in the preparation of essays;
  • be able to conceptualise theoretical problems, form judgements and arguments and communicate critically, creatively and theoretically through essay writing, tutorial discussion and presentations;
  • be able to communicate knowledge intelligibly and economically through essay writing and tutorial discussion;
  • be able to manage and organise workloads for recommended reading, the completion of essays and assignments and examination revision; and
  • be able to participate in team work through involvement in syndicate groups and group discussions.
Related Course(s): Master of Art Curatorship (Coursework and Minor Thesis)
Master of Arts and Cultural Management
Master of Arts in Art History (Advanced Seminars and Shorter Thesis)
Master of International Studies
Postgraduate Diploma in Arts and Cultural Management
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Art History
Art History
Art History
Art History
Moving Image

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