Venice Biennale Satellite Event Preview

by Paddy Johnson and Corinna Kirsch on May 28, 2013 · 4 comments Venice

We’re packing our bags for Venice this week. In preparation, we’ve made our own list of satellite exhibitions we’re looking forward to, because let’s face it, if you’re in Venice, you’ll see everything in the Giardini and the Arsenale. It’s all in one space, so it gets done naturally. The hard part is navigating the collateral events and pavilions outside of the Giardini.

Rirkrit Tiravanija’s Pop-Up Kitchen
May 25 – June 1, 2013

I can’t claim to understand this project as art, and maybe it’s not worth trying. Tiravanija’s offering a twist on his free performances where he serves up food: He’s charging for the meals. Now they aren’t considered performances though, so I guess his name is just branding for fine dining? Lunch at the Bauer Hotel costs 50 Euro per person, and dinner at The Palazzo Flangini costs 100. RSVP essential.

Ai Weiwei: Disposition
Sant’Antonin Church and the Zitelle Complex (Zuecca Projects)
Wednesday, May 29 – September 15, 2013
Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 10am – 6pm

Anything Ai Weiwei does makes news, and for that reason we’re including his fringe Biennale exhibition on this list. The German pavilion has culturally adopted the artist, including his work in a group show, but outside the Arsenale, he’ll debut a solo exhibition that’s already started receiving buzz: six half-scale fiberglas dioramas recreating scenes from his 2011 house arrest.

Palazzo Peckham
Castello 270 (The last bridge on the left at the end of the Garibaldi at the road between the Arsenale and Giardini)
May 27 – June 1

New York’s American Medium, Rhizome, and other Internet-friendly types are building out their own pavilion with a week of programming. We’re looking forward to the courtyard screening of videos by Jon Rafman and Karen Cytter, among others (Wednesday, 7 PM); new Rhizome Director Michael Connor in conversation with Oliver Laric and Hito Steyerl (Thursday, 1 – 4 PM); and Andrew Norman Wilson on how to hedge your bets on fantasy stock options with a Power Point presentation (Friday, 6 PM).

Peggy Guggenheim Collection

Lots of reasons to visit this collection, amongst them, some of the strongest turn of the 20th century art work in existence. This year, they have a Robert Motherwell show of collages on view, which sounds a little like the Rauschenberg collage show they had on view in 2009, but only because they both have the same name (I somehow read the exhibition listing wrong earlier and listed this as Rauschenberg). If all else fails, it’s always a trip to visit the dog cemetary Ms. Guggenheim set up in her yard. Those dogs must have led a good life.

Il Palazzo di Everything
29 May–28 July 2013
Serra dei Giardini
Between the Giardini and the Arsenale
Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 10am–8pm

We’ve received no less than four sponsored mailers for the Museum of Everything’s Palazzo di Everything, so we know this collection of untrained, undiscovered artists have a hefty advertising budget. This year, we’ll see more than a dozen self-taught artists including a retrospective of Carlo Zinelli, one of the world’s most significant self-taught Italian artists of the twentieth century (according to the press release). Given the amount of flack Italy has received recently for their tacky pavilions, we’ll wait to see the work ourselves before getting too excited about this claim.

Portuguese Pavilion: Joana Vasconcelos
Riva dei Partigiani/Laguna di Venezia (Next to the Giardini’s vaporetto stop)

Joana Vasconcelos transforms a Lisbon Ferryboat into a floating pavillion and artwork. The project, Trafaria Praia, will address historical similarities between Lisbon and Venice including the advances it made in water, navigation and shipping during the middle ages. There’s a lot of important history to draw from, so we’re looking forward to seeing that, but also; it’s blue, fantastical and beautiful. We can’t wait to see it.

The Lebanese Pavilion: Akram Zaatari
The Arsenale

This pavilion gets a nod even though it’s in the Arsanale because I know and trust the curators. (The last time I was in Venice I randomly met and spent EIGHT HOURS in line with the Lebanese pavilion curators Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, just to see Mike Nelson’s installation at the British Pavilion.) This year, Akram Zaatari creates an installation that weaves aerial footage  into five decades of archival imagery with the intent of showcasing stories of heroism, nationalism and integrity from Arab-Israeli.

Maldivian Coconut (Capriccio)

The online aggregate for artist open calls has moved a fresh crop of Maldivian coconuts from a local palm tree to the canals of Venice. There’s copious amounts of invisible history to this project including references to 12 classical paintings of the Venetian cityscape, a recent tsunami in the Maldives, and the reliance the nation has on the fruit. Its displacement probably won’t make you think of any of that, but perhaps the conversations led by WOOLOO will.


Carmen Hermo May 28, 2013 at 11:08 am

Just want to point out that the Peggy Guggenheim Collection is showing Robert Motherwell collages, not Rauschenberg…

Paddy Johnson May 28, 2013 at 11:36 am

Wow. My bad on that one. I changed it – thanks for the correction.

mxaxm May 31, 2013 at 11:25 am

I’m drooling over your itinerary. Please feel free to let me know about any dog art works. And, yes, I think Peggy Guggenheim’s dogs had a beautiful life.

Dong Shao June 3, 2013 at 9:14 am

Venice is mostly known for the tourist attractions but very few people know that, there are so many enjoyable events and festivals in city which can add extra craziness in their Venice tour.

In my Venice trip of 2009 I had attended Venice Film Festival and head for the beach event as well.

I have written about traveling experience on the link below,

Before reading your article I had no idea about Venice Biennale Satellite Event and other festivals, which you have mentioned in your article.

I will definitely plan another trip to Venice to attend some of these festivals. Thanks for posting such informative article.

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