Many people love art for its power to transport, whether through a painting that brings us to the banks of the Seine in 19th-century France or an installation that immerses us in a fanciful and imagined alternate world. But what about when art refuses to carry us away, offering instead only blank space, an empty frame staring back at us?
SONCINO, Italy — Having just returned from Venice, with its literal acres of art, crowded parties, Arsenale hikes, and tourists wielding umbrellas through the rain, one exhibition left me gratefully awed. Ca’ d’Oro, an example of late Gothic architecture built between 1421 and 1440, is one of most beautifully preserved palazzos along the Grand Canal.
I’d like to start with a disclaimer: Top 5, 10, whatever lists make me nervous. They feel so definitive, so set in stone, and that makes me uncomfortable. What happens when my opinions evolve (as they inevitably will), or when I change my mind tomorrow, or if I accidentally forget something?
The other day I saw two solo exhibitions: The Words by Jen Mazza at Stephan Stoyanov Gallery and Game Plan by Alighiero Boetti at MoMA. Both artists want to show you what they value in their lives, but they use their inspiration to different ends. Mazza paints unassuming still lifes of books. Boetti, on the other hand, used various lines of attack to realize his many projects, which ranged from sculpture to mail art to collaborative embroideries.
LOS ANGELES — Tucked away in a small corner at LACMA is a new show: Common Places: Printing, Embroidery and the Art of Global Mapping. Culled together from the museum’s permanent collection, the works consist of embroidery inspired by printed paper works.
Editor’s Note: Peter Dobey published a series of photo essays (1, 2, 3) about this year’s Venice Biennale at the beginning of June. This is a long-form essay (to be published in three parts) that explores the work at the Biennale.
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PARIS — It is difficult to write about Venice, just like it is difficult to really SEE Venice. Individual experiences of art fade away into the oversaturation that is the Venice Biennale in the same way the city of Venice is sinking into the Adriatic. There is the ontological experience of Venice and the problem of one’s ability to encounter it. Then there is the physical impossibility to see everything the Biennale offers you and all the things it doesn’t, especially when in Italy.