As denizens of the floating art world migrate to Venice (or re-migrate for those who had to be at the Hirst show) for the opening of the biennale, the New York Times is impressed with the Christine Macel’s curatorial turn away from overtly political topics back toward questions of art and the role of the individual artist:
“Viva Arte Viva” begins with a methodological question: What does it mean to be an artist today? It showcases 120 artists, 103 of whom are participating in the Biennale for the first time. Ms. Macel chose to give the Biennale’s Golden Lion for lifetime achievement to the pioneering feminist performance artist Carolee Schneemann, whose work — including her bacchanalian 1964 video, “Meat Joy” — pushes the boundary between dance and visual art. “I wanted to honor someone who’s changed the definition of artist,” Ms. Macel said.
A Venice Biennale About Art, With the Politics Muted (The New York Times)
The Economist reminds us that the growth of the Venice Biennale tracks the expansion of the global art market:
EVER since the Venice Biennale was launched in 1895, individual countries have offered their artists a showcase in national pavilions. Some are financed through their culture ministries, such as Italy’s, others, like Britain’s, through the ministry of foreign affairs. The Ukraine pavilion is paid for by a private collector, Poland’s via multiple sources. For 55 years there were fewer than 20 entrants, but in 1950 the number began to grow. This year, despite last-minute cancellations from Bahrain and Lebanon, there are 89 national pavilions, the highest number ever and up from 77 two years ago, proof of the global spread of contemporary art.
Art as a Political Game (Economist)