Updated: May 19
Art Biennale, in Venice, Italy is one of the best known international art festivals. The central exhibition welcomes nearly 100 artists from all over the world in several venues throughout the city. For art appreciators or not, this art fair presents a great excuse to visit one of the world's most beautiful and unique urban centres and indulge in creativity on an international scale. The fair will next be held 23rd April - 27 Nov 2022.
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.
I visited the Biennale in 2017 and stayed in the attic garret of small hotel behind the Gritti Palace. It had a roof-top 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 it's art and treasures.
This was all re-staged fiction, of course, and as I had done no research into the exhibit, I admit to my embarrassment that it took me a while to understand the concept.
After stumbling upon a bust that looked a whole 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.
Postponed for a year due to Covid, the 59th edition of the Venice Biennale will open 23rd April, 2022. It will run for seven months until 27th November. After foolishly missing 2019, I am booking my hotel garret room for 2022 right now!
Other Highlights of the 2017 Venice Biennale
NOTES: The Biennale has been postponed until 2022, due to the Covid crisis.