“Biennale de Arte, The Milk of Dreams” opens this April in Venice. The curator is Cecilia Alemani, the first Italian woman to hold the position, and she previously curated the Italian Pavilion. After two years of a pandemic, the buzz, the very breadth and need for art, is fierce. Our need to see art is bursting at the seams, at the edges of our Zoom windows, we see new collaborative projects and culinary ventures to stay sane. The biggest art party in the world shall open with some expected, and not so expected, changes and shifts.
The Russian Pavilion will be closed. It was a noble choice from the curator Raimundas Malašauskas and artists Alexandra Sukhareva and Kirill Savenkov. The Ukrainian Pavilion was on the fence to close; Poland has stepped up heroically and plans to take on the responsibility of shipping the Ukrainian artists’ work. There are artists representing countries they were not born in, which just proves how international our society is. We move, we count many places as home, we make new connections. Indigenous is no longer a rare topic. We are looking critically at our systems. These last two years have given many artists the time to do deep dives into new approaches, and those projects are highlighted this year. We have learned how much rides on collaboration, how much is improved by it.
The global supply chain still has some of the same weak spots that we’ve all experienced over the last two years. Paper is in short supply. Shipping is still unreliable, and the arrival of some works, is still pending. On the official Artists List, so many names are pending. Do we dare travel? Can we travel? Will we travel anyway? If at all possible, the answer is yes. Yes, we still have essential questions to pose through art. Yes, with also the accepted permission to step out this time. This is not to say that the 59thBienniale is unprepared to go on. Just that it has a fresh energy, determination, and a whole lot of drive. Thirty collateral events are scheduled to occur throughout Venice. Highlights include “Catalonia in Venice,” organized by the Institut Ramon Llull, “From Palestine with Art,” organized by Palestine Museum US; “Uncombed, Unforeseen, Unconstrained,” presented by Parasol Unit Foundation; and a handful of Italian-based projects. The Biennale’s College Musica, College Dance, and College Theatro together received hundreds of applicants and are quintessential international collaborations.
The Biennale takes place from April 23 through November 27, with pre-opening April 20-22. There are still hotel rooms available. My round-trip ticket cost me less than $900 with one seat upgrade, and I was expecting it to be over $1,300. Vaccine cards are required to enter anywhere, as well as N or KN95 masks — shops, restaurants, museums, the Biennale exhibitions. At the moment, tests are not required to enter the EU so long as you have your vaccine card. Anyone can say they travel to Venice for either the architecture, or the art. It is a dream to go for both during the Biennale. The exhibit’s title is taken from a book by Leonora Carrington, a Surrealist artist who described a magical world. It is a dream to journey to this space where transformations, possibilities, and imagination, come together to define what it is to be human.
(“Biennale Arte 2022: The Milk of Dreams” is scheduled for April 23 through November 27, 2022 in Venice, Italy. For more details, visit https://www.labiennale.org/en/art/2022.)