First Impressions: Biennale Giardini

Exhaustion is funding this stream of conscious breakdown of the pavilions at the Biennale Giardini for 54th Venice Biennale ILLUMinazioni.  Ten hours happily running around the pavilions like a child in a toy store and I can't believe the day is over.  After seeing exhibitions and meeting artists, critics, buyers, gallerists, promoters and celebutantes, I felt like  seven days, ahem, minutes, in the art world. . .

Biennale Giardini Breakdown

  • Australia- best bags, loved the polyeuranthane reproductions, gut feeling:  a "Down Under" Duchamp
  • Austria- loved the space, felt upside down. Didn't float, was I supposed to?
  • Belgium- nothing to write home about
  • Brazil- fishy and forced
  • Canada- O Canada, o Shearer! Beautiful paintings and sketches-- felt like I was looking at two different sides of the Shearer's brain, gentle versus agressive. Painterly versus rough. Loved them all. This is my choice for the prize
  • Denmark- thought the space was fun, had a lot of art from different artists but felt like an art showcase
  • Egypt- 5 video screens playing simultaneously, beautiful, peaceful, sad, simple
  • France- for the first time I liked Christian Boltanski, but thought it was all cock and not enough brain
  • Germany- felt like church, left me confused-- not about art but about the space
  • Japan
  • Great Britain
  • Greece- tranquille, relaxing, place of reflection
  • Israel- beautiful and insightful.  Though not as provocative as I had expected/wanted
  • Holland
  • Venezia-- loved the sound, vertical boats, felt a bit like a fashion display
  • Finland- cliche
  • Sweden-- walking amongst the trees was amazing
  • Poland- The videos were shot beautifully, the color depth kept me watching. I need to know more about the subject matter, something very intriguing that pulls me in
  • Czech Republic
  • Slovakia
  • Korea
  • Romania
  • Russia- I loved the smell, sounds and how the light hit the wood
  • Serbia- a lighter Denmark, felt like a showcase of "Best of"
  • Spain- I find the idea of ongoing performances engaging, especially the risk of bad performance is a daily possibility. No fear here. Felt like warehouse too.
  • USA- probably one of the funniest installations I have seen, good to the see the US have a sense of humor instead of just posturing. Love the noise, love the gymnastics, and i love the fact that Allora is from Philadelphia.
  • Switzerland- Hirschhorn's collection of junk put together with masking tape amazed me. Overwhelming, yet amazing.
  • Hungary-  car crash and opera
  • Uruguay- intimate, felt close to the artists, like I was sitting in their studio or spying on them
  • Venezuela- felt like I was almost floating with the street-style paintings on the walls

Favorites? Canada, Switzerland, Egypt, USA, Sweden, Venezuela, Uruguay, Poland

Choice for Prize? Canada

AustraliaBest Bag?  

Highlight?  Running into Eva and Adele, egg-headed art star twins from the future who I met in 1994 in a New York subway, and would repeated meet through out my incarnations in Philadelphia, Miami and Los Angeles. Only fitting that I met them in Venice in front of the German pavilion.

Best Bag?   Australia

Updates:   Germany/ Christoph Schlingensief was awarded best pavilion so I was way off with my disdain for this piece, whereas I was dead on with Australia as most coveted tote for the 54th Biennale.