From Walter Robinson:
From Sarah Douglas:
In Italian, the slogan for the 52nd International Exhibition of the 2007 Venice Biennale, June 10-Nov. 21, 2007 -- "pensa con i sensi, senti con la mente" -- sounds like an advert for a breath mint. In English, that’s "think with the senses, feel with the mind" -- and just plain bad advice.
The Italian pavilion, the warren of galleries that hosts the main part of the exhibition, features individual rooms filled with works by curator Rob Storr’s usual suspects -- Gerhard Richter (a particularly gummy assortment of smear abstractions), Louise Bourgeois (a grid of not-half-bad grid drawings done in blue pen), Ellsworth Kelly (they looked better a few months ago at his New York gallery), Robert Ryman, Nancy Spero, Kara Walker, Susan Rothenberg, Thomas Nozkowski.
For this we come to Venice? Oi.
"I'm only now learning about art," said this fund fellow, as the boat neared the Isola, and Kosuth's project swam into view. He gestured vaguely around and added, "And this...world."From Randy Kennedy:
In any event, as the boat neared the island it moved into the eerie glow emitted by its buildings. Kosuth had covered the monastery's exterior with fluorescent tubing spelling out words in various languages. The effect, at night at least, is otherworldly, with the words illuminating the hundreds of revelers on the lawn.
But the light was not strong enough to blind us from real-world concerns. "Forget the money! The bureaucracy!" said Kosuth's dealer Sean Kelly, as he described the ordeal of arranging such an ambitious installation in Venice (It’s on view through November). Money again! By then we had landed on the Isola, which resembled a sort of Kythira for partying art folks—prosecco, canapes, chatter. The mood there was typical of the first few days of the Biennale. The art world, having just landed, seemed at once weary and excited, at once enervated and invigorated. Veterans of the festival circuit looked around with expressions that said both: "Oh no... this again?" and "Oh boy! This! Again!"
The city is so packed during the day, but at night it’s like a film set you have all to yourself. You never know what’s going to come your way. Tonight, the curators of an unlikely show of trippy paintings by the spiritual guru Adi Da Samraj (also known as Bubba Free John; born Franklin Albert Jones in New York; now residing in Fiji) took me along some winding alleyways for an unofficial late-night visit to the show. The other (very late) night, I got a chance to hear the amazing blues-marinated voice of the Italian singer Paolo Conte, who The Times once described as having a face that is “part Florentine fresco” and “part Venetian carnevale mask, with a nose straight out of Dante.”From Carol Vogel:
Normally the installation at the Arsenale has a hodepodge effect, but under Mr. Storr, it is more coherent, looking like a carefully conceived museum exhibition rather than a random assemblage of works. Among the standouts are a pair of tapestrylike hangings fashioned from discarded soda cans by the artist El Anatsui, who was born in Ghana and lives in Nigeria; though steeped in African culture, their shimmering patina evoked the luster of a painting by Gustav Klimt.
For the first time the Biennale is also including comics. The North African artists Eyoum Ngangue and Faustin Titi have created original drawings for a comic book about displacement, depicting a young African boy’s failed crossing from Tangiers to Europe in search of a brighter future.
From Charlotte Higgins:
France and Germany are the must-see pavilions this year, if you're lucky enough to get in. But after hours of speeches, crowds and queuing - I need a little lie down.
If Tuesday, VIP day at the Venice Biennale, was a bit frenetic, Wednesday was a mess: the Giardini now opened up for the official press days and became a nightmare. You couldn't move in the supposedly tranquil gardens for the crowds, or for bumping into people from the UK.
The entire staff of the Tate had apparently appeared, but the pristine white trousers of the exquisitely turned out and beautiful young contemporary curators were sprayed with mud as the heavens opened and the rain poured down furiously. I stood under my umbrella for about an hour of grotesquely tedious speeches by various dignitaries for the official inauguration of Felix Gonzales-Torres's American pavilion. Not fun.
Image above: The work How To Blow Up Two Heads At Once, by Yinka Shonibare from Nigeria is exhibited at the African pavilion.
Labels: Venice Biennale 2007