• contemporary art world;
  • place and placelessness;
  • Tibetan artists

The contemporary art world is often imagined as a placeless utopia where artists are free to circulate and their nationhood or ethnicity is of little relevance. However, this essay argues that the art world is actually a rather difficult domain to enter and inhabit. For a group of contemporary Tibetan artists, it initially seemed to offer an escape from the strictures of their home locations and an arena in which to unite when geopolitics otherwise divided them. But as their experiences of participating in a number of exhibitions reveals, the art world is a very real place, with its own boundary markers and criteria for inclusion and exclusion. It may not always be a paradise.