The Venice Biennial is the oldest art biennial in the world. Begun in 1895 to showcase Venetian and International artists of the time. Not to mention, (perhaps ironically) attract tourist to the city. The show has gone on since then without pause, other than the two world wars. In constant evolution, adding music, cinema, dance, and theatre to the repertoire. These exhibitions alternate. Odd numbered years: art. Even numbered years: architecture.
This year the lagoon is swimming in architectural design. Works are selected independently by each participating nation. They are considered to be the supreme creative examples of our current era. While works are generally “new” or recent, often countries will select artist and architects to celebrate based on lifetime achievement.
Two main venues host the show. The Arsenale, a famous spot where Venetian boat builders were claimed to be so great they could construct one ship per day. The Giardini, public gardens, which we can thank Napoleon for – rare, as the Italians don’t thank him for much. Satellite and collateral exhibition spaces are spread throughout the city.
Now, here’s a little secret being whispered in your ear. To truly enjoy La Biennale simply wander about the island popping into any open door with a red and white biennial logo sign. These spots are usually free! Gifting you the experience of the works installed plus the privilege of entering private palaces and Venetian homes.
The inaugural and closing events attract international stars. The exhibit runs from May 26th to November 25th.