Saturday, October 19, 2013

Venice Biennale Is a Wonder

"To grow in learning, to open up to the world, seems truly to be finding those to whom we are akin."  --Andre Gide, Concerning Influence In Literature 

From the first of June till 24 November the 55th International Art Exhibition has been taking place at the Giardini and at the Arsenale, as well as in other various Venetian venues. The artistic director of this year's international exhibition is Massimiliano Gioni, a curator and contemporary art critic from New York City.

The scale of this event is mind-boggling, with as many as pavilions representing as many a 90 countries including the Holy See. (Full list here.) Each pavilion showcases a selected artist or group of artists and this year's U.S.A. selection is Sarah Sze. [EdNote: I love how you can Google an artist's name, click on the Images tab and see what kind of work they do. Any time you read about an artist you are unfamiliar with you should try this trick.] 158 artists in all have been enlisted to make this year's event happen.

One has to admire the people who create and manage an event of this scale, especially the creative director Gioni. He wasn't just selected by happenstance, however. He's been co-director of other major events including the Berlin Biennial and this Venice event in 2003. In other words, this isn't his first rodeo.

The setting alone that houses this event is a dream and quite a bit more spacious than the one meter square gallery Gioni opened in Chelsea when he was 29. (You read that correctly: one meter square.)

The theme for the Biennale is based on artist Marino Auriti's Encyclopedic Palace, which was intended to be "the center for all man's knowledge," a museum to house all mankind's greatest achievements. In a NY Times story called Ripples of Rumination Gioni spoke of "the impossibility of capturing the sheer enormity of the art world today."

This is certainly true. As big as this show has been, it's still like a faraway star on a distant galaxy for most Americans, even those who follow the arts in their own constellations and communities here.

For more information, read Carol Vogel's NY Times story, "A New Guide In Venice."

Can't make it to Venice before the end of November? There's plenty to see here, in whatever city you find yourself in. If you're in the Twin Ports,  I recommend Tuesday evening's upcoming opening for Blood Memoirs, curated by  Amber-Dawn Bear Robe at the Tweed. You're also invited to the third annual Goin' Postal Fall Art Show in Superior on Friday evening the 25th. I myself have quite a bit of work here in what feels like my home gallery. I'd love to share it with you. 

Meantime, art goes on all around you. Engage it!

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