The streets of Venice. Photo AFC
I write about the Venice Biennale and Art Basel for the L Magazine this week. The teaser below.
Am I an uncultured asshole for missing cars, consistent Internet access, and a navigable map? I feel like one, particularly because a giant wave of relief swept over me when I arrived in Basel for the art fairs — a city without the low-tech “charm” of Venice.
Between the Venice Biennale and the Art Basel fairs, I've seen more contemporary art at once than probably any other time in my life. This kind of sensory overload results in a desire to talk about anything other than contemporary art. But one can't be in Basel without participating in the discussion. And though I have done literally nothing else for days, I still have only one experience — my own — to relay.
Perhaps if I had seen a little more good work over past couple of weeks, I'd be more excited about the ensuing discussion. For all the talk of poor economies producing great new art, there's been surprisingly little to show for it. June 3rd marked the opening of the 53rd Venice Biennale, the biggest and most well-known survey of contemporary art — and this year, also the most lackluster. Of course, even the most cohesive curatorial practice can't bring into focus the current state of art making, but this one mostly tells us what we already know: inconsistency in all professional practice remains inevitable.
Comprised of two main attractions — individual pavilions mostly at the Giardini in which nations compete for the Golden Lion Prize, and a curated show at the Arsenale (and the Giardini) — attending the event is like going to an amusement park at the Olympics. Audience lines form outside many of the pavilions, and a couple of days after the show opens, the winner is announced.
To read the full piece click here.