This article examines the role of contemporary art in a post-9/11 context through The American Effect exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York in 2003. This exhibition displayed a range of artworks from around the world that specifically engaged with, commented upon and interrogated the USA's pre-eminent position as a global superpower. In the politically charged climate after 9/11, the exhibition offered itself as a critical voice amid the more obvious patriotic clamour: it was one of the places where Americans could ask (and answer) the question, `Why do they hate us so much?' Although The American Effect claimed to be a space of dissent, it ultimately failed to question, let alone challenge, US global hegemony. Instead, the exhibition articulated a benevolent patriotism that forced artwork from other nations into supplicating and abject positions, and it obscured the complex discursive networks that connect artists, curators, critics, audiences and art museums.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Political Science and International Relations