MORE ON THE VENICE BIENNALE
With pavilions from a record 77 countries, approximately 40 collateral exhibitions, and Daniel Birnbaum’s globe-spanning "Making Worlds" presenting 90 artists [see Artnet News], Apr. 30, 2009 , the 53rd Venice Biennale, June 7-Nov. 22, 2009, promises to be an overwhelming experience. Herewith, a selected guide to some of the more high profile events:
* The François Pinault Foundation at the Punta della Dogana debuts Venice’s newest cultural center, sited in the 43,000-square-foot 17th-century customs house given a $71-million modernization by starchitect Tadeo Ando. The selection of trophy works from Pinault’s collection is co-curated by Alison Gingeras and Francesco Bonami and extends as well to the Palazzo Grassi.
* "In-finitum" at the Palazzo Fortuny is the third and final cross-cultural extravaganza, courtesy of Belgian antiques expert Axel Vervoordt, in a series that began at the 2007 biennale. Among the artists in this examination of the human quest for perfection are Pierre Bonnard, Berlinde de Bruyckere, Eugene Delacroix, Lucio Fontana, Anselm Kiefer, Giovanni Battista Piranesi and Diana Thater.
* Robert Rauschenberg, "Gluts," presents selections from the Pop master’s scrap-metal assemblages from the 1980s and ‘90s at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, in a show organized by Susan Davidson and David White. About the "Gluts," Rauschenberg said, "Greed is rampant. I’m just exposing it, trying to wake people up. I simply want to present people with their ruins."
* "Sarajevo: Rebuilding a World / Future Post History," an exhibition by conceptual artist Braco Dimitrijevic along with Renzo Piano’s design for the new Ars Aevi Museum in Progress planned for Sarajevo. The show is located on San Servolo Island in Venice.
* "Danger! Museum," an installation by Russian artists Vladimir Dubossarsky and Alexander Vinogradov at the Palazzo Bollani near the Giardini.
* More Russian art in Venice -- "This Obscure Object of Art," a show of contemporary Russian art sponsored by the Stella Art Foundation at Ca’ Rezzonico in the Dorsoduro, and "Unconditional Love," including a new video by AES+F as well as works by Marina Abramovic, Wim Delvoye, Dasha Fursey and several other artists in an exhibition organized at the Arsenale Novissimo by the Moscow Museum of Modern Art and others.
* John Cale (the onetime-Velvet Underground guitarist), "Wales at Venice," a new audio-visual installation by the veteran musician at the Ex-birreria on the Giudecca.
* "No Reflections," an installation of new works by Martin Boyce at the 15th-century Palazzo Pisani Santa Marina in Cannaregio, sponsored by "Scotland and Venice 2009."
* "Il Mito," an installation by Marc Quinn on the myth of Romeo and Juliet and the theme of love, at Casa di Giulietta in Verona -- a bit of a trek from Venice.
* "East-West Divan: Contemporary Art from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran" at the Scuola Grande della Misericordia in Cannaregio, a show organized by Turquoise Mountain.
* "Glass Stress," a show of contemporary glass artists organized by the Mjellby Konstmuseum at the Istituto Veneto di Scienze Lettere ed Arti, Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti, Campo Santo Stefano.
* "Padiglione Internet by Miltos Manetas," the first ever internet pavilion, which opens its virtual doors only during the dates of the show at www.padiglioneInternet.com
One additional tendency regarding the biennale’s regime of national pavilions involves a kind of cultural repatriation, bringing artists of global note, many living in New York, London or other international art capitals, back home to their native land. Thus, Iván Navarro represents Chile (the exhibition is housed in the Artiglierie in the Arsenale), Lucas Samaras represents Greece (in the Giardini pavilion), Zilvinas Kempinas represents Lithuania (Scuola Grande della Misericordia), Krzysztof Wodiczko represents Poland (Giardini pavilion) and Paul Ramirez Jonas represents Honduras (Artiglierie, Arsenale).
101 TOKYO FAIR GETS UNDER WAY
101 Tokyo Contemporary Art Fair, Apr. 2-5, 2009, now in its second year, gets under way at Akiba Square in the heart of Tokyo’s "electric town" district. Approximately 30 galleries are participating, hailing from South Africa, Hong Kong, Austria, the U.S. and Mexico, as well as Japan. For more info, see www.101tokyo.com.
BRANDHORST MUSEUM TO OPEN IN MUNICH
Supercollector Udo Brandhorst opens his namesake museum on Munich’s "Kunstareal" section on May 18, 2009. The new Museum Brandhorst, designed by Berlin-based architects Sauerbruch Hutton, holds a collection of more than 60 works by Cy Twombly, as well as a "panorama" of art by artists ranging from Joseph Beuys and Mario Merz to Mike Kelley and Isaac Julien. Admission is free. For more info, see www.museum-brandhorst.de
AMERICAN SURREALIST: LEON KELLY
The American Surrealist painter Leon Kelly (1901-82), who was celebrated in the 1940s but died in relative obscurity, comes back into public view this month with a dual exhibition of over 250 works held at Gratz Gallery & Conservation Studio in New Hope, Pa., and Francis M. Naumann Fine Art in New York City, Apr. 16-June 5, 2009. Accompanying the exhibition is a monograph, Leon Kelly -- American Surrealist, the first major work on the artist, including an essay written by Surrealism expert Martica Sawin as well as a detailed chronology by Naumann, a Surrealist scholar in his own right. For further information, see www.gratzgallery.com and www.francisnaumann.com
PARADISE LOST: PERSIA FROM ABOVE
A series of topographical photographs of Iran from the 1970s, originally produced with the support of Empress Farah but derailed by the 1979 Iranian revolution, go on view for the first time at the Leila Taghinia-Milani Heller Gallery on East 78th Street in Manhattan. The 29 photographs are the work of Swiss aerial photographer Georg Gerster, who made over 100 flights over the Persian countryside. Accompanying the show is a new book, Paradise Lost: Persia from Above (Phaidon, $59.95), which includes a foreword by Maryam Sachs, who brought the book project to fruition. A book-signing is scheduled at the gallery, Apr. 4, 6-8.
MADELEINE ALBRIGHT’S PIN COLLECTION AT MAD
It’s no April Fool’s joke -- the Museum of Arts and Design announced on Apr. 1, 2009, that it would exhibit an impressive 200 pins from the collection of former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who regularly wore various brooches while performing her diplomatic duties. According to the museum, "Read My Pins," Sept. 30, 2009-Jan. 31, 2010, explores the ways that Albright used her arsenal of pins strategically to communicate subtle and overt political messages. For instance, after Saddam Hussein referred to her as a serpent, she wore a golden snake brooch during her next meeting on Iraq. The show coincides with the publication of a new book, Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat’s Jewel Box (HarperCollins).