Venice, Italy. The Biennale is one of the best known international art festivals. The central exhibition welcomes artists who travel from all over the world in venues throughout the city. For art appreciators or not, this art fair presents a great excuse to vacation in one of the world's most beautiful and unique urban centres and indulge in creativity on an international scale. The 2022 fair runs 23rd April - 27 November.
Venice is a city that drips with architectural masterpieces. St. Mark's Basilica and the Doge's Palace. The Campanile de San Marco and the Punta della Dogana. And every two years, the city expands beyond these imposing edifices as the best of the contemporary art community comes to Venice for the la Biennale di Venezia.
The art fair, which began in 1895, welcomes over 500,00 visitors to the Arsenal, Lido, Palazzo Grassi and other museums and galleries across the city. The Giardini Pavilions host permanent structures from 30 countries, plus invited guest countries. This year’s exhibition is the first held since 2019. There are 213 artists from 58 countries showing 1433 works of art conceived specifically for the Biennale. Curated by Cecilia Almani, the exhibition, titled “The Milk of Dreams”, questions how the definition of the human is changing, what constitutes life and the human responsibilities for the planet. Artist were tasked with creating work that focuses on three thematic areas: the representation of bodies and how they are changing, the relationship between individuals and technology and the connection between bodies and Earth.
I visited the Biennale in 2017 and stayed in the attic garret of a small hotel behind the Gritti Palace. It had a rooftop terrace with views over the piazza. This was my first solo trip to Venice, in fact, it was my first solo trip, period. I felt like a traveling Bohemian art-lover, come to appreciate the creativity and the city. Being a proper Bohemian traveller, I carried only a backpack with two changes of clothes for a three-day stay. Included was one light jacket and one pair of sneakers. I needed not read up on how to solo-travel, I was a Bohemian art lover and I knew what I was doing. Only thing I didn't count on was the rain. I always forget about the rain. Needless to say, it rained. From morning to night. I trudged up and down Riva Schiavoni in a skirt and sopping wet sneakers, with nothing to stop me from my quest.
Damian Hirst's 'Treasures from the WRECK of the Unbelievable' was the headline event. Hirst's decade-in-the-making show took over two museums and featured 190 pieces of different sizes and mediums.
The show followed the discovery of a 2000- year-old shipwreck, and the reclamation of its art and treasures.
This was all re-staged fiction, of course, but I hadn't done any research into the exhibition, and, I admit I was slow to understand the concept.
After stumbling upon a bust that looked a lot like Rihanna, including her questionable under-boob tattoo, the penny dropped! That really was a crustacean-covered statue of Micky I saw! And that really is Rihanna!
On my final day, with my all my clothes wet, I persevered until I saw every exhibition the Biennale had to offer. Then I went to the Peggy Guggenheim museum to visit with my favourite Picasso painting, 'On the Beach'.
The history of Peggy Guggenheim and this collection is fascinating and worth a visit. Peggy Guggenheim, whose father died on the SS Titanic, was born in New York City. She relocated to Venice after the war and exhibited her vast art collection at the 1948 Biennale. Peggy lived and exhibited her collection in the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, a mid-18th century building on the Grand Canal, until her death, at which point it became the Guggenheim Venice.
Other Highlights of the 2017 Venice Biennale
NOTES: The Biennale has been postponed until 2022, due to the Covid crisis.