The Venice Biennale, one of international art’s biggest events, is where art lovers and the “who’s who” of the art world flock to see new trends and ground-breaking works by the greatest artists of our time and others whose names are barely known outside their home countries. The result can be inspiring and overwhelming: shows scattered throughout one of the world’s most awe-inspiring cities and in the Biennale’s two main venues, often on a grand scale, focusing on painting, sculpture, experimental media, photography and the latest forms of artistic expression.
The 57th International Art Exhibition, titled VIVA ARTE VIVA and curated by Christine Macel, is organized by La Biennale di Venezia chaired by Paolo Baratta. The Exhibition will be open to the public from Saturday May 13th to Sunday November 26th 2017, at the Giardini and the Arsenale venues. The preview will take place on May 10th, 11th and 12th, the awards ceremony and inauguration will be held on Saturday May 13th 2017.
The Exhibition will also include 85 National Participations in the historic Pavilions at the Giardini, at the Arsenale and in the historic city centre of Venice. Four countries will be participating for the first time: Antigua and Barbuda, Kiribati, Nigeria, and Kazakhstan.
The main exhibit of the Biennale is located in the Giardini, a sprawling park that features a large Central Pavilion housing the works curated by the festival’s director. Each year, the Biennale is curated by a different director, who gives the show a theme and chooses the exhibits in the Central Pavilion (the original site of the Biennale) and in the Arsenale, the historic fortress-like shipyard and armory from the era when Venice was a major world power.
In 2013, for example, the main show was entitled “The Encyclopedic Palace” by chief curator Massimiliano Gioni of the New Museum in Manhattan. Gioni took inspiration from an 11-foot-high tower by Italian-American artist Marino Aurito, who intended the tower as a model for a monument to human achievement and ethical values.
The Giardini also houses 29 smaller pavilions clustered around Central Pavilion, owned and operated by the individual countries that participate in the Biennale. They include the European nations and world’s large countries, such as China, Brazil, Russia, the United States, and much smaller countries. Newcomers in 2013 were Angola, the Bahamas, Bahrain, the Ivory Coast, Kosovo, Kuwait, the Maldives, Paraguay, Tuvalu and the Vatican.
Many countries have their pavilions run by their ministries of culture, but others choose to fund their pavilions differently. The U.S. Pavilion, which was built in 1930 by the Grand Central Art Galleries, an artist cooperative, opened with works by Edward Hopper, Henry Tanner, among many others. Since 1985, the pavilion has been operated by the Guggenheim Foundation, which works with the U.S. Department of State and other federal agencies to review proposals and select artists for inclusion in the U.S. exhibit.