Installation view, the Arsenal.
Keep in mind this is my first trip to Venice and I’ve only seen the work in The Arsenal, but so far, I’m not impressed. Sure, the space looks great, and the art is displayed flawlessly, but why is so much of it bad?
I twittered yesterday about feeling like I was at an art fair with bigger work because the criteria by which work was chosen is a complete mystery to me. I don’t think that’s a good thing. Only three artists created work worth mentioning at the Arsenal, two of which presented reasonable work. Those highlights below. More on the Biennale after we’ve spent more time there!
Spencer Finch at The Arsenal
This isn’t the first stained glass installation Finch has made, nor is it the best, but it was still a highlight. The piece evokes Gerhard Richter’s stained glass window for a Cologne cathedral.
Aleksandra Mir, Installation view.
Don’t have postcards to send your friends and family at home? Problem solved! Aleksandra Mir’s cards capture waterways around the world, and each is labeled with the word “Venezia” in a variety of fonts. My favorite includes a sailboat and waterfall, with the word “Venezia” in red typeface written across the front.
Paul Chan, Sade for Sade’s Sake, 2009
Using the same light techniques as he employed at The Seven Lights at the New Museum, Paul Chan illustrates stories from the Marquis De Sade. The piece marks the lowest point in the artist’s career, removing all the power from the material source. The wall text describes the work as being intertwined with his philosophical research, though it’s entirely unclear how philosophy informs this work.