At the Venice Biennale of 1993, the Austrian pavilion featured an audio installation, Garden Program, created by the artist Andrea Fraser, that allowed visitors an unusual peep into an important meeting of the Biennale’s national commissioners, as they debated whether the principle of national representation, the central organizing principle of the world’s oldest and most canonical biennial, still had a raison d’être in a rapidly globalizing, post-Cold War world (Weibel 1993). Fraser’s ingenious work was a tongue-in-cheek collage of sound clips with recordings from the deliberations surrounding plans for the 45th Biennale di Venezia, the first since the end of the Cold War. 1 The recordings usher us into a moment of uncertainty, a roomful of confused, contradicting voices, each looking for ways to handle the challenges that a transformed geopolitical condition confronted the institutions of the art world with. 2 In their anxiety to be global and therefore in keeping with the times, curators from the more established art centres of the metropolitan West spoke for an inclusion of artists from ‘elsewhere’ into the Western art system by proposing that existing pavilions be opened to participants from the ‘peripheries’ in the Eastern and Southern hemispheres. ‘A very civil idea’ was how Achille Bonito Oliva, the Director of the Biennale, described what he further termed a gesture of ‘cultural hospitality’ (Fraser et al. 1993: 187). As opposed to such moves that – in an inverted spirit of patriotism – questioned the rationale of a national pavilion, the response of nations from Latin America, or those from Eastern Europe, or Central Asia, newly born following the demise of the Soviet Union, was not entirely surprising. Their spokespersons made a forceful claim to a demarcated, non-shared space, now due to them as independent nations, to be able to showcase their national cultures on an equal footing with Western nations (Fraser et al. 1993). In what today has the appearance of a single world that has discarded its former tripartite division, the intimate connection between art and national identity retains its hold over imaginations in diverging, though mutually constitutive ways. While older, metropolitan nations strive to establish their ‘cosmopolitan’ credentials by offering to share their exhibition sites with art from the hitherto neglected backwaters of the globe, latecomers in the race for nationhood cling to the view that art bearing exclusive national labels is one effective way of catching up with the present.