Venice Biennale

Venice Biennale 2017 – Viva Arte Viva

May 19, 2017
Damien Hirst played the role of Godzilla in this year's Biennale

Ask people to name the most romantic city in the world, and Venice is usually at the top of the list – but there are dissenters. D.H. Lawrence said Venice was green, slippery and abhorrent, and he didn’t even have to contend with the crowds in the Giardini and Arsenale during the opening days of … More


Tracey in Venice

May 13, 2017
Tracey Moffatt, from the series, Body Remembers (2017)

Success at the Venice Biennale, the world’s biggest, most prestigious art event, may be measured in many different ways. One is the length of the queue that extends from the doorway of a national paviliion, making viewers wonder if they can bear to waste an hour standing in the sun. But hey, if so many … More


Tracey Moffatt

March 3, 2017
Tracey Moffatt, Up In The Sky # 18, 1997, series of 25 images, off set print, 61 × 76cm, 72 x 102 paper size, Edition of 60

“Make it up! Make it up!” says Tracey Moffatt when we start to talk about her background. “Miss Moffatt said: Go ahead and make it up. Give ‘em a great story.” It may be the era of post-truth and ‘alternative facts’ but I’m still not ready to fictionalise the artist who will represent Australia in … More


Australian Pavilion

May 16, 2015
The new Australian pavilion at the Venice Biennale.

Venice has been thrilled by the idea of a new Australian pavilion in the Giardini, where Biennales have been held since 1893. There has been a lot of press and many photos, the favourite one showing the great black cube leaning out over the canal that bisects the exhibition area. One approaches the new building … More


56th Venice Biennale, 2015

May 16, 2015
Fiona Hall, Tjukurrpa Kumpilitja (Hidden Stories), detail, 2014

“He’s very political.” This is what I heard, more than once, about Okwui Enwezor, the Nigerian-born curator of the 56th Venice Biennale, which goes by the suitably airy title: All the World’s Futures. This need not imply revolutionary credentials because “political” is a word with both macro and micro applications. Put three people in a … More


Fiona Hall for Venice

December 5, 2013
Fiona Hall, A selection of intricate sculptures carved from sardine cans, Royal Academy, London

For more than 20 years Fiona Hall has been the obvious, dead-set, undeniable first choice to represent Australia at the Venice Biennale. It is a testimony to the acumen of our arts bureaucracy that in 2015 she will become the first artist to occupy a newly-built pavilion. Any other country might have rushed her into … More


Venice Biennale 2013: The Encylopaedic Palace

June 8, 2013
Vadim Zakharov, Danaë, Installation view, Russian Pavilion

Every Venice Biennale is a talk fest – a place for the beautiful people of the art world to exchange opinions and business cards at endless parties. Unfortunately most of the talk is of a very tawdry nature: “I just loved the Ruritanian pavilion!” “Oh yeah, I loved it too!”  And so on, ad infinitum. … More


54th Venice Biennale

June 17, 2011
Photo: Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

Never has a more glamorous bag accompanied such a tawdry exhibition. A dazzling gold carry-all, advertising Hany Armanious’s installation in the Australian pavilion, was to be seen all over Venice during the vernissage of the 54th Biennale. The only more prominent bag may have been the bright red one with ‘Free Ai Weiwei’ emblazoned in … More


A terrible beauty in Venice, sort of…

June 11, 2011

This much delayed blog comes from a train, speeding towards Aarhus in Denmark, where the second Danish Sculpture by the Sea is being held. I’ve just finished four exhausting days in Venice for the Biennale. Lest you think this sounds glamorous, I can’t remember when I’ve felt so zonked every evening. Too tired to write … More


I survived…

June 2, 2011
I_Survived

An exhibit in the Arsenale anticipates audience responses to this year’s show More