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Posted inArt

Photos from the 54th Venice Biennale, Part 1

The voluminousness of the Venice Biennale can be overwhelming, much like the city of Venice itself. Talking with Venetian friends, I heard the city described as a “creature,” a labyrinthine monster that will suffocate you if you don’t know how to find the campos, or other open-air spaces where you can stretch out and breathe. Inhabited by more tourists than actual residents, the city is shaped by the pre-conceived notions of its visitors; in short, Venice is a place that does not fully exist. The same feeling follows you into the exhibitions of the Biennale.

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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