Iam grateful to Peter Flügel, Jonathan Friedman, Stuart Morgan, Vivian Schelling and Chris Wright for their helpful comments on an earlier draft. I also benefited from the comments of three anonymous reviewers for this journal. A first version of this paper was delivered at the Biannual Conference of the German Society of Anthropologists, Heidelberg, 3–7 October 1999. I am grate-ful to Dorle Drackle for having invited me. The paper is integrated into the research projects on ‘Artists as anthropologists. Recent trends of globalisation’ (University of East London) and ‘Globalisation, indigenous influences, and art production in Buenos Aires’ (University of Hamburg) [Schneider 1999], as well as into a book project, Crossing borders. Contemporary artists and anthropology by Arnd Schneider and Chris Wright. The support of the German Research Council (DFG) for the period 1999–2002 (Senior Research Fellowship) is gratefully acknowl-edged.