The Guardian sums up the Istanbul Biennial which was a politically charged shout out to alternative visions of the current world order:
If you believe the curators of the Istanbul Biennial, the most political since the fall of the Berlin Wall, we are in the End of Days. The crisis has come like an avenging angel to cleanse the earth and art with it. In this final reckoning, there will be no place for the hedonistic nihilism of the last 20 years, nor for the artists who have become playthings of the rich. Only politics can save us now. All that remains is to pickle Damien Hirst, stuff Sarah Lucas and put Tracey Emin to bed. The tumbrils that took Bernie Madoff and Lehman Brothers will soon be back for Saatchi and Serota. And as if on cue, Istanbul was deluged on the biennial’s opening night by an apocalyptic storm, one that killed 32 people in a suburb built on sand during the last speculative building boom.
Art biennials are expensive, often largely irrelevant affairs, and not usually marked by calls for a new world order. But Istanbul’s curators, the Croatian all-female collective What, How & for Whom, are seeking nothing less than a refounding of art on Brechtian principles, as a motor for social change. Art, they say, has lost its way, while the public (who spend less than 30 seconds in front of the average video piece) are too gullible to notice. […]
The biennial’s manifesto claims that “politically neutral art is a means of policing the art world”. Then comes the rub: it believes in a just world order, but “communism is still the only name for that desirable project”. And no, nobody’s laughing. To prove the point, the Russian collective Chto delat re-examine the whole Soviet project and its aftermath before proposing an alternative version.
Yet somehow the biennial escapes its own rhetoric
Istanbul Biennial’s End of the World Show (Guardian)