Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Day 11: Venice

Day 11: Venice

Weather: Pleasant to warm in the sun, dinner outside

Quote of the Day #1: Conceptual art: work such that no one knows what is going on

Quote of the Day #2: And everybody knows that the Plague is coming, Everybody knows that it’s moving fast

Pictorial Pop Quiz:

So, what have we here?

THB is up right on time, which means way too early after the fireworks of last night. Another excellent breakfast: small croissants, eggs with cooked tomatoes, bacon, decaf cappuccino.

Our tour is hitting the second of two major Biennale venues, the Arsenale. It’s a converted military site and seems much better laid out than the Giardini, especially for the Pavilions. Erica is again our guide, and again there are a lot of artists selected by Christine Macel and a small number of National Pavilions.

The Arsenale entrance

Like the Giardini, the Arsenale opens with an interactive exhibit: you bring something to mend, they mend it while you watch, and then the mended item is...donated? THB isn't sure on this last bit...those are thread cones on the wall with individual strings leading to the mending table.
Lee Mingwel: the Mending Project

One of THB's faves, books with bread covers!!! By Maria Lal, Encyclopedic Pane/Bread

Light Bake

Dark Bake

Nicolas Garcia Uriburu

Snow monkeys were relocated to Texas; several years later an artist (sorry, didn't capture name) put out a pile of snow and  produced a video. Top monkey controlled the heap, others lower in the chain darted in for a taste now and then.

Shimabuku: stills from a video on how to sharpen a Macbook

A bit dim: the tool is used to cut an apple in half

Michel Blazy: a totem of shoes with plants growing inside them; if only THB still had his beach-collected shoes

Water is dripping from ceiling, slowly eroding the books (another where THB didn't capture artist...it's a marathon and THB is taking too many rest stops)

It's a therapy stuffed animal!

Michele Ciacciofaro

Looks like honeycomb art

Anri Sala: All of a tremble (Encounter): this "device" is actually moving slowly over the wallpaper and  changing the pattern!

Copied from the pattern that Tadao Ando used on the Punta Della Dogana (pics coming with Day 12)

Hard to photograph: knit caps on top of lamps...very handsome in person. Younes Rahmoun

Shots from video of a Bolivian "shaman" by Enrique Ramirez

Cloth on mannequins by Huguette Caland

A very moving exhibit by Kader Attia (French, works in Berlin): Narrative Vibrations. As the singers emote, shapes shift on small covered "drums" followed by several heartwrenching videos of women reading poems. 

Dan Miller: Oak-town artist working at Creative Growth

Liliana Porter: El hombre con el hacha y otras situaciones breves (Man with Axe, Venice 2017). A small figure with an axe, working backwards, has chopped up a piano and is working his way smaller...

A view from Arsenale to pavilions


Department of Home Envy: The Pavilions are in large spaces next to the Arsenale (or nearby), some of which would make terrific lofts (though with only windows on either end), similar to the one like THB and DB stayed in during our Copenhagen house exchange.

The Singapore Pavilion

Argentina Pavilion, Claudia Fontes

Another site to get a Passport of no country

After touring the Arsenale and a few pavilions, the group has a very nice lunch at a café on site:

Same salad with deli chicken

THB orders a pick-me-up

THB is humbly apologetic: the large tubes of pasta with tomato sauce and a bit of cheese disappeared quickly

Pictorial pop quiz

Combo water faucet and hand dryer, sounds just like a jet engine

Fruit salad for dessert

A few more pavilions after lunch; at one of which, the Lebanon Pavilion, is the most incredibly depressing thing THB has experienced in a long time. Nothing like a child softly speaking of carnage while the room is totally dark except for the spotlight on what looks like a nuclear bomb launch.

Italy Pavilion: large dark expanse of "water" and reflections

Large vat without ivy

With ivy

Broom Garden

It's the end of the world as we know it...

To cheer THB up, we return by launch to see a show at the Prada Foundation. You loyal followers with long memories recall that THB and DB and YT and YT visited the Milan Prada Foundation museum 15 months ago and that installation wasn’t all the great (especially compared to the Kiefer installation at the nearby Pirelli HangarBicocca). Well, the same is true here. By far, the best thing about the exhibit is the title, a line (or two) from one of Leonard Cohen’s greatest hits, Everybody Knows: The Boat Is Leaking. The Captain Lied.

Not an installation, the restored ceiling

Fake set with tour members on stage

Fake courtroom with tour members 

It’s a fake show, nothing is “real” and so fake you’re constantly being reminded it is fake. To fake for THB; in his delirium from lack of sleep he’s managed to find bench near the entrance and is watching an endless loop of fake videos showing fake people getting ready to pose for videos that will be playing elsewhere in the fake exhibit. THB is considering going back to the Lebanon Pavilion for a cheer-me-up moment or two.

Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody go this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died
Everybody is talking to their pockets
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
And a long-stem rose
Everybody knows

A few hours in the hotel to rest up; THB actually fits and starts the blog, closes his eyes for a while, and tries to think positive thoughts about everybody. Nothing works.
THB and DB are on floor 6.5...what happened to other floors?

It’s the goodbye dinner, preceded by a private tour of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, conveniently located right next to the hotel.

Top is Germaine Richler, bottom is Giacometti

Peggy has one hell of a collection!! Mostly from the first half of the 1900s. And, the Shulhof’s gave her their collection (at least a lot great pieces from the second half of the 1900s), so we see some of the greatest hits from the 20th century compressed into a very livable palazzo.

Pablo P

Duchamp valise #1 (of 20)


Cornell box

Max Ernst with our guide; Peggy was briefly married to Max


De Kooning





Joan Mitchell

Sam Francis

Dinner is on the roof (covered in astro turf!). An excellent drink of Aperol, prosecco and spritzer water for THB, yummy appetizers, and a three course (thankfully) dinner followed by goodbyes all around.

Spinach crepe

Fish is the main course

Scoop of ice cream in mango soup

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