The 2013 Venice Biennale opened under the title The Encyclopedic Palace to great expectation. Tow events have marked this year’s edition: the participation of the Holy See, and the selection of the highly qualified Massimiliano Gioni as artistic director, the youngest in the 110-year history of the Biennial. “After 14 years working with traditional curators, I thought it was time to have a man of the next generation,” said Paolo Baratta, President of the Venice Biennale.
Gioni´s energy and organizational skills inspire enthusiasm among the visitors. He has been called “a rising star”, but in fact he is a very reliable individual with an acute eye for art, who moves forward with firm steps. At 39, Gioni has already garnered more experience supervising art events, than all members of his generation.
In 2003 he was the curator of a program titled The Zone at the Venice Biennale; in 2004 curator of the San Sebastián Biennial in Spain; in 2006 he was curator of the Berlin Biennial in collaboration with Cattelan and Ali Subotnick; and in 2010, he was the youngest European curator at the Gwangju Biennial in South Korea. He is currently Artistic Director of Milan’s Nicola Trussardi Foundation and Director of the New Museum in New York.
1. LAURENT MONTARON. / 2. EVA KOTÁTKOVÁ. / 3. JULIANA STEIN. / 4. SONIA FALCONE.
In addition to being the public image of the Venetian event, Gioni is also responsible for the displays inside the two exhibition spaces allocated Venice. To meet the high expectations, Gioni selected 158 artists from 38 countries; almost doubling the number for previous biennials, focusing this time in the Biennale’s pedagogical objectives as the fundamental concept for the exhibition.
The Venice Biennale has a budget of only around $2 million, not enough to cover its operating expenses. Gioni´s responsibility is also to raise funds for the event. The organization he leads has already raised $2 million over the initial budget, through donations from foundations and philanthropists.
1. Republic of Korea Pavillion. / 2. Paraguay Pavillion. / 3. Russia Pavillion. / 4. Venezuela Pavillion.
Massimiliano Gioni sought to include both great masters and sure bets among novice, unknown and unconventional artists, as well as some art formats no one would expect to find in an Art Biennial, such as a deck of tarot cards by the British psychic Aliester Crowler; paintings by the Swedish artist and mystic, Hilma af Klint, and 40 pages of the Red Book by Carl Jung.
Much has been said about “a show within the show” with respect to the exhibition of American photographer Cindy Sherman, staged as a kind of dollhouse adorned with works by little-known artists that include prison inmates and cult icons such as Robert Gober, Paul McCarthy, Charles Ray, and Rosemarie Trockel.
The Venice Biennale will run through November 24. ■