Martin Gayford reminds the world through Bloomberg that the Venice Biennale is coming and its more than just and art show:
To describe the Venice Biennale as an exhibition isn’t so much an understatement as a complete misunderstanding: It’s a vast empire of art, with exhibitions large and small, national and international, spread all over town and out into the lagoon.
The section under the control of the director, this year Daniel Birnbaum, fills warehouses originally built to supply the Venetian navy throughout a lengthy war. That’s only one part of it. Among the national representatives, the biggest name is the American Bruce Nauman, godfather of Britart and originator of many current avant-garde ideas (he was making art in neon long before Tracey Emin, for example).
This time, to add to the confusion, the German representative is British — Liam Gillick — a move that is a sneaky bit of conceptual art in itself, undermining nationalism. The artist in the actual U.K. Pavilion, meanwhile, is the film and video maker, Steve McQueen.