Recently I had the opportunity to go to Venice and indulge in two solid days of Biennale art viewing. Now, I am not a contemporary art expert by any stretch of the imagination. I did very little research since I was traveling with my own personal Wikipedia. I just hopped on a train north and took in as much as I was able to see. Here is a tiny taste from the pavilions and exhibits that I enjoyed in this 55th edition of the Venice Biennale.
The Russian pavilion offered a meditation on sex, money, women, danger and organized crime.
It was precarious, organized chaos by Sarah Sze in the United States Pavilion.
Hear the sound of earth breathing inside the Nordic Pavillion.
The artist Ashad Alakbarov who is part of the The Azerbaijan exhibition has a clever trick for smart phone users.
At the Arsenale, the South African piece that incorporated the moving and emotional Rewind: A Cantata for Voice, Tape and Testimony with video images had me mesmerized for almost an hour.
The extra cost to visit the Glasstress collateral exhibition is worth it just to see the Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti. I particularly loved the works by Ron Arad.
The main spots for the official Biennale exhibitions are at the Giardini and Arsenale, both with easy access vaporetto stops. A single ticket for €22 includes one visit to each of these venues. There are other collateral events scattered throughout the city. Most are free, some have an additional fee. There is more art than you could see in a short visit. My advice is plan a little bit for works/pavilions you really would like to see and pace yourself. Then be flexible, explore and enjoy. Even if I didn't particularly like something, I was always happy that I saw it.
The Biennale is on until November 24.
Download the Apps, My Biennale Guide and Art Guide to plan your art viewing and my pal Elizabeth's App Eat Venice, to plan your eating and shopping. Buy the catalogue and read it on the train back to Rome to help you digest everything you have seen.