Since we were unable to make the trip to Venice this year to see the 56th Biennale curated by none other than Okwui Enwezor, we’ll take Amy Goodman’s coverage of the exhibition which surveys global trajectories of politics and upheavals since the Biennale’s inception in 1895.
August 10: Art & Protests at the Venice Biennale Highlight Labor Conditions, Climate Change and Austerity
EXCERPT: “In May, Venice shut down Iceland’s pavilion after the artist Christoph Büchel, working in collaboration with the Muslim communities of Venice and Iceland, turned a 10th century church that had been closed down for 40 years into a working mosque. Police claimed the art project was a “threat to public safety.” Last week, the Gulf Labor Coalition staged an hour-long occupation of the second floor of the Israeli Pavilion. The group has also protested the use of migrant laborers to build Guggenheim’s new museum in Abu Dhabi. We discuss past and present protests at the Biennale with Marco Baravalle, a Venice-based artist, activist and author who spoke at a panel discussion organized by the Gulf Labor Coalition called “Who Needs Museums and Biennales?” Baravalle also examines the impact of climate change and austerity on life in Venice.”
August 10: Art and Social Change: Creative Time Summit at Venice Biennale Features Artists and Democracy
EXCERPT: “As part of the Venice Biennale, the oldest and most prestigious international art exhibition, a New York-based group, Creative Time, is hosting a three-day summit dubbed ‘The Curriculum.’ Speakers include Afghan President Ashraf Ghani with his daughter, the artist Mariam Ghani, members of Spain’s left coalition Podemos, as well as the famed Italian political philosopher and activist Antonio Negri. We speak with organizers Anne Pasternak, the new president of Brooklyn Museum, and president and artistic director of Creative Time; and Nato Thompson, chief curator of Creative Time and author of the new book, ‘Seeing Power: Socially Engaged Art in the Age of Cultural Production.'”
August 11: Art, Politics & “All the World’s Futures”: Okwui Enwezor, First African Curator of Venice Biennale
EXCERPT: “Enwezor has been widely credited for bringing political art back to the 120-year-old festival. He says he was partly inspired by the 1974 Venice Biennale when part of the exhibits were dedicated to Chile to protest the U.S.-backed coup that overthrew Chile’s democratic government. ‘Artists have a lot of meaning they produce that can allow us to look at the world in deeper, meaningful and more probing ways,’ Enwezor says. As part of this year’s seven-month exhibit, there is an epic live reading of all three volumes of Karl Marx’s ‘Das Kapital.'”
August 11: “Freed But Not Free”: Artists at the Venice Biennale Respond to the #BlackLivesMatter Movement
EXCERPT: “After the fourth day of protests over Michael Brown’s death, authorities have declared a state of emergency in St. Louis County, drawing worldwide attention. We look at the state of the Black Lives Matter movement and the art world with two participants in the Creative Time Summit alongside the Venice Biennale in Italy. ‘At the moment we are dealing with Black Lives Matter and the violence against black and brown people in the United States, Europe is experiencing incredible deaths of black people here too,’ says author Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, noting the ‘perilous state of people worldwide that have been subjugated to white supremacy and capitalism.'”
August 12: Artist Emily Jacir Brings the Palestinian Experience to the Venice Biennale
EXCERPT: “… we speak with one of the most celebrated Palestinian artists, Emily Jacir. In 2007, she won the Golden Lion here at the Venice Biennale for her work “Material for a Film,” a large-scale installation based on the life of Palestinian writer Wael Zuaiter, who was assassinated near his home in Rome, Italy, by Israeli Mossad agents in 1972. For years Jacir has created groundbreaking art to capture the Palestinian experience and other issues.”
August 12: Artist Mariam Ghani, Daughter of Afghan President, Takes on U.S. Abuse from Guantanamo to Abu Ghraib
EXCERPT: “We are broadcasting from the Creative Time Summit here at the Venice Biennale, which on Tuesday featured a public discussion between Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his daughter, the acclaimed artist Mariam Ghani, who is based in Brooklyn. She joins us to discuss how she has worked for the past decade on a number of art projects looking at how the United States responded to the Sept. 11 attacks. Along with the artist Chitra Ganesh, Ghani created an “Index of the Disappeared” — a physical archive documenting post-9/11 detentions, deportations and renditions. Ghani and Ganesh also created “The Guantanamo Effect” — an interactive digital archive defining, illustrating and linking key terms and events in the so-called global war on terror.”
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Putting together my virtual Venice visit. This top Democracy Now! interview from the Biennale (and especially the part about climate change) brought this beautiful piece by Chip Lord immediately to mind: brought this piece by Chip Lord immediately to mind:
Venice Underwater 15 from Chip Lord on Vimeo.