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Germany

The Venice Biennale, Viva Arte Viva: The Pavilions, Part One

by Paddy Johnson on May 11, 2017
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Today we spent the majority of our time looking at the Pavilions and we’ll be spending much of tomorrow similarly. Overall, there seem to be fewer people visiting the pavilions and Biennale this year—as evidenced by shortened bathroom cues and the ability to get a cup of coffee in less than hour. It’s hard, though, to discern the reasons for this. It’s not like anyone knows in advance what the shows (or weather) will be like. Still, I wondered if the poor quality of this year’s biennale might have depressed some enough that they took the day off. And perhaps the Americans here are too worried about the President’s recent firing of FBI Chief James Comey to focus on art? I know it’s an issue for me as well as many others I’ve seen over the last two days.

As for the pavilions, it’s a mixed bag—some good, some bad, and some stinky. I mean that literally. At least three pavilions this year need stench warning signs for those with allergies.

I’ll be discussing a lot of the work in greater depth in a separate post. In the meantime, here’s a sampling of what we saw this afternoon.

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Small Town in Germany Hides Dark Secret: Hitler’s Horses!

by Corinna Kirsch on May 20, 2015
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Yes, really.

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AFC Critics Talk About Degenerate Art: The Attack on Modern Art in Nazi Germany

by Corinna Kirsch and Whitney Kimball on April 11, 2014
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Art loved and loathed by the Nazis.

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MATTE: Elisabeth Biondi, “The Pictures Have to Be Strong”

by Matthew Leifheit on October 7, 2013
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Even those unfamiliar with Elisabeth Biondi’s name have probably seen her work. Until she left The New Yorker in 2011, she had been their photo editor for fifteen years. Prior to that, she was the photo editor for Vanity Fair. And before that, she was the photo editor for Geo, a German magazine with a focus on geography, history, and world culture that went out of business in the 80’s. For this interview, I talked to Biondi about what it was like to work with photographers like Annie Leibovitz and Helmut Newton, what life at The New Yorker is like and how photography has changed since she got in the game. The short answer to that last question: video is going to have a much bigger presence in the future.

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