Carol Vogel reports from Venice with a quick rundown of the biennale exhibitions and yawn about the parties:
There were also fewer flashy parties, fewer celebrity sightings among the national pavilions and an absence of hit-you-over-the-head installations. The organizers tried to play down any financial pressure this year but acknowledged that they had $1.4 million less in their budget to work with than two years ago. To make up for the shortfall, they raised the entrance fee from $21.25 to $25.50. Still, everybody wanted to be included. “No artist said no,” insisted Daniel Birnbaum, this year’s artistic director. “No projects didn’t happen.”
Yet many artists had to pay for their own projects, whereas in flush times financing is less of an issue. “It’s like being invited to a party and then asked to bring your own food and drink,” one artist was overheard to grumble.
The quieter Biennale, which runs until Nov. 22, had a certain power. “There’s no gigantism, no ostentations,” said Tom Eccles, director of the Bard Center for Curatorial Studies in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y. “But that’s a good thing. In dealing with the crisis everybody had to think harder and make choices. As a result you have to look a little more carefully.”
A More Serene Biennale (New York Times)