The 53rd Venice Biennial in Italy opens to the public on Sunday, 7th June 2009 with press days on the proceeding three days. The first show was in 1895 created by a Venice City Council resolution two years earlier to celebrate the King’s birthday with a national artistic exhibition. The decision was made to make it an international event instead and well-renown international artists were invited as well as Italian artists. 200,000 visitors came to that first event; a success by any standards. Today the Biennial includes architecture, music, film, dance and theatre spread over the year. The Venice Art Biennial is considered the Olympics of the modern art world, held every two years.
The Biennale Art this year is titled “Making Worlds // Fare Mondi // Bantin Duniyan // 制造世界 // Weltenmachen // Construire des Mondes // Fazer Mundos” and is directed by Daniel Birnbaum from Sweden; the youngest director ever of the visual arts section. Birnbaum is a rector of an international art academy Staedelschule in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany as well as a prolific author and writer contributing to magazines such as ArtForum New York, Frieze and Parkett. He has extensive experience in curating and directing international exhibitions around the world.
Birnbaum explains that “A work of art is more than an object, more than a commodity. It represents a vision of the world, and if taken seriously must be seen as a way of “making a world”. A few signs marked on paper, a barely touched canvas, or a vast installation can amount to different ways of world-making. The strength of the vision is not dependent on the kind or complexity of the tools brought into play.” This “Making Worlds” theme will be realized by more than 90 artists from 77 countries on all continents by using installation art, video and film, sculpture, performance, painting, drawing and a parade.
The first foreign pavilion was created by the Belgians in 1907. As the years passed, more and more countries built their own pavilions. Today there are 29 countries with pavilions. The US pavilion is being represented by Bruce Nauman, the New Mexico conceptual artist and sculptor who is known as a pioneer of Post Minimalist video and performance art, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art has been chosen as the commissioner of the US pavilion.
Other US artists exhibiting at the Biennial include John Baldessari (who with Yoko Ono are each being presented with Golden Lions for Lifetime Achievement awards), Tony Conrad, Spencer Finch, William Forsythe, Wade Guyton & Kelley Walker, Rachel Harrison, Joan Jonas, Miranda July, Sherrie Levine, Arto Lindsay, Gordon, Matta-Clark and Pae White.
The Biennial will run until November 22nd 2009.