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The Venice Biennale

Can A Painter Win The Venice Biennale?

by Paddy Johnson on June 10, 2011
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One of the great opportunities Venice affords is the chance for artists to fully transform a space. Nearly every pavilion gets a complete makeover every two years, but this came to mind particularly when looking at the exceptions. Take Canada’s Steven Shearer, a well-known painter and sculptor represented by Gavin Brown’s Enterprise. He’s worked in large formats before. In 2008, he produced a bad boy metal-music flop of a show at The New Museum that included a giant room-sized cube made of black PVC pipe. This year though, only a tiny bronze maquette of this same piece was on display in the Pavilion and it looked like it was for sale.  Add to this, a vetrine full of sub-standard sketchs and a poem in which the individual words did more to express the abject than their combination, and you’ve got a pavilion people will discuss almost entirely in the negative.

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