/ by John McGurk

Venice Biennale, First Installment

I just got back from the Biennale in Venice. I saw a great deal of art and have some images to share. This is by no means an exhaustive survey, in fact one would need about two weeks to really take in all the art that is around the city. It is really something, there are events, spaces and exhibitions in every nook and cranny. It can be a little overwhelming, so if you plan on going, make sure to plan ahead and try to have a vague game plan for each day.

On the vaporetto (watertaxi) there are signs of the Biennale everywhere. Lots of advertisements for shows and pavilions, but I started to get excited when I rounded a corner and in front of the Palazzo Grassi saw this huge Thomas Houseage sculpture . It is a docile but menacing piece, looking like he is ready to dive into the canal. I was home. Of course, not long after that comes the famous San Marco piazza:

I came across the below piece about Ai Weiwei, which is not as poignant due to his release, although he has essentially been muzzled by the state. He is unable to leave Beijing and can no longer use his Twitter account, which is widely thought to have been one of the main reasons he was detained for his very public and determined criticism of the Chinese government.

I finally arrive in my place to get settled and then head out on the town. It is a great little apartment in a real authentic Venetian neighborhood. It has already been a long week, but I am excited to check out some art, so I quickly change and hit the road, fourteen maps in hand.

Of course the following two pieces are some of the first art I see when walking throught the streets. I can't help but laugh, the work has a ridiculous humor to it, although the whole thing is somewhat idiotic. I keep on moving in anticipation of much better things ahead! Stay tuned for installment 2 when I cover the "Giardini" part of the Biennale.