Tag Archives: Arsenale

La Biennale Saturday Highlights

We started out day two at La Biennale di Venezia by heading back to Arsenale to try and catch some of the things we missed on Friday evening.

There was no shortage of intriguing stuff we’d missed the first time through.


At first, these magnificently detailed old tree drawings, by Belgian artist Patrick Van Caeckenbergh, look like classic black & white photographs.20130818-094803.jpg

The section curated by American photographer Cindy Sherman focused naturally on body image.
This lifelike nude sculpture by Denver artist John DeAndrea is actually a painted bronze.

Sherman also selected a group of early 20th century studio portraits by Belgian photographer Norbert Ghosoland.


After the Cindy Sherman section we encountered a video installation by American Ryan Trecartin. It seems to be investigating effects from today’s outlandish video culture of Vimeo and Reality TV.


We didn’t have enough time to see everything, but we did, of course, make it to the gift shop/café before heading to the next venue.


After a sit and sip, we wandered through the alleyways of Castello to find the much talked about installation by Ai Weiwei, which included 6 metal chambers resting in an old church like so many tombs. Each large box had two small windows for visitors to look through.

It’s what inside that matters, but you’ll have to wait for my detailed report to see the reveal! (or I guess if you’re impatient you could Google it huh?)

The next event we covered was the historic Manet exhibition held at the Doges Palace in St. Mark’s Square.

While not really a part of the Biennale, this unique show brought together many of the artist’s masterpieces and juxtaposed them with works by influential Italian old masters. Most notably, Manet’s Olympia 1863 (which has never before left France) is hung side by side with Titian’s Venus of Urbino from 1538. Seeing this pairing in person is likely a once in a lifetime experience.
Unfortunately the curators chose to ban photography of the exhibition. But a dozing docent gave me the chance to snap this gem.

This important exhibit, which includes works lent by the Musée d’Orsay in Paris and the Uffizi in Florence among many others, has been extended until September 1st, 2013. Do catch it if you can! If not, see my detailed review coming next week.

We finished the day at the closing party for The Museum of Everything, back near Giardini. Live music and video presentations were accompanied by refreshing drinks and snacks. And a vibrant collection of artists, art appreciators, and party crashers was on hand for The Finissage of Everything!


But tomorrow is another day, and The Guggenheim Venice is calling our name as we sleep…




La Biennale Friday Highlights

Just a few quick highlights from our first day at the 55th Art Biennale in Venice.
We woke up late as usual, not good when trying to cram in as much art as possible. I’ll include many, many more examples and other artists in my comprehensive review later next week.
But for now, here’s a glimpse of what we encountered
Our first stop was at The Museum of Everything where we had nice coffee & cakes before seeing the magnificent paintings of Italian “Outsider” artist Carlo Zinelli in their back garden:

Then we moved quickly over to the Giardini where we hit the pavilions of Spain, Belgium & Holland before entering the main exhibition hall.

Lara Almarcegui at the Spanish Pavilion. (above)
J.M. Coetzee curates Berlinde De Bruyckere at the Belgian Pavilion. (above)
And Mark Manders presents a
Room with Broken Sentence in the Dutch Pavilion. (above)
“Outsider Artists” or Art Brut, was a major component of The Encyclopedic Palace (this year’s theme.) there were many intriguing works in Giardini’s main exhibition hall.
Above, Jack Whitten’s large abstract painting hangs behind 387 model houses presented by Oliver Croy and Oliver Elser.

And the re-imagined tarot cards of Aleister Crowley and Frieda Harris (above) are very striking.

I’ve so much more to show and discuss from this part of the exhibition so keep an eye out for my comprehensive review next week.

Popping into the Finnish Pavilion gave us a look into the wooden mind of Antti Laitinen. (above)

At the U.S. Pavilion, Sarah Sze has transformed the entire building into her “Triple Point,” a conglomeration including thousands of objects, both natural, commercial, and faux that stagger the mind. (below)

20130817-024305.jpgAs the Giardini was about to close, we dashed into the Venezuelan pavilion (below) and were really excited to see that they had chosen to highlight “Urban Art” from their fine tradition of graffiti artists.

After being herded out the gates of Giardini, I headed over to Arsenale, which was open till 9pm, to get a head start on tomorrows coverage.
Marino Auriti’s model plan for his Encyclopedic Palace of the World greets you as you enter the main exhibition hall at the Arsenale.

Nearby are photography exhibits by several different photographers. One of the most interesting ones is a series of mind boggling, early aerial shots by Swiss photographer and balloonist Eduard Spelterini, like this image above, showing the city of Cairo in 1904!

One of the next things that astounds the brain is an entire room filled with 207 pages of illustrations by notorious American comic book artist R. Crumb. The Book of Genesis!

and then this happened!
The Japanese artist Shinichi Sawada, who suffers from severe autism, creates these intricate clay sculptures that seem to have appeared from another dimension. (above) An entire menagerie is on display here.

One room not to be missed is filled with Venitians. (above) Polish artist Pawel Althamer cast the faces and hands of dozens of actual local Venetians in plaster and then used grey plastic to represent their bodies in his sculptural installation called, you guessed it, “Venitians.”

One of my favorite discoveries of the day was a wall of large scale collages (above) by German artist Albert Oehlen. He uses the familiar language of mass media and advertising to create an interesting assembly of juxtaposed imagery.

And just after viewing these works, the bells began to sound and I was instructed, in several languages, to head for the exit.

So that’s a cursory glance at some of the great work from Friday’s wanderings. As I stated before, I’ve got so much more to show and discuss, so keep an eye out for my more comprehensive reviews next week, which will include many individual reports on some of the other exhibits and more in-depth info on the ones covered here.

Ciao for now! See you tomorrow.