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Posted inArt

Seeing Through the Crowds at the 2011 Venice Biennale Part I: The Giardini and Pavilions

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.

Posted inOpinion

Allora & Calzadilla’s Hole-y Piano

This video was produced for MoMA’s ninth installment of the Performance Exhibition Series, which features Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla, more commonly referred to as Allora & Calzadilla, and the staging of their haunting performance “Stop, Repair, Prepare: Variations on Ode to Joy for a Prepared Piano” (2008). The duo will be representing the United States during the next Venice Biennale in 2011.

Posted inArt

Art Basel Miami in Pictures

There’s no point in giving you a “review” of the mothership of art fairs in Miami, Art Basel Miami Beach, so I thought a photo essay with some observations were more appropriate.

I admit that I got a little bored after three hours of wandering around. I found myself seeing the same thing and getting the same numbness I get during marathon holiday shopping trips or walks through ancient souks … there’s only so much merchandise you can see in one stop.

It was still refreshing to see some galleries display the prices of their wares freely, and examples of excellent abstraction by names mostly absent from the art history survey books, but I was most shocked to discover what must be the most awful Basquiat I have even seen in my life.

Posted inArt

Cutting the 2011 Venice Biennale Jargon

Curated by Bice Curiger, best known as the editor-in-chief and co-founder of the respected art magazine Parkett, the 2011 Venice Biennale will be titled ILLUMInations, in a play on words and typography that now comes standard for big deal exhibitions. The name is a combo of “illuminate” and “nations,” terms that Curiger uses to refer to the “dissemination” of the “current developments in international art.”

In other words, the Biennale will take as its theme the spread of ideas and artistic currents beyond the limitations of national boundaries and identities, taking on culture at the international level rather than on a country-to-country basis. Yet the Biennale is known for its use of national pavilions to stage exhibitions as something akin to national artistic showcases. How do you go post-national with a nationally and politically charged event?

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