"Isn't There Something Better Than Biennales? - New York Magazine 15/06/07
By Jerry Saltz
"There are currently more than 60 biennials and triennials around the world. Biennial culture is so prevalent that curator Dan Cameron and I have joked about publishing a monthly magazine called Biennial, dealing with nothing but these shows. The glossy back cover would permanently advertise Jorge Pardo, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Liam Gillick, Pierre Huyghe, and Philippe Parreno, all of whom seem perpetually to be on view. There would be a column called “This Month in Relational Aesthetics,” top-ten lists like ‘Messy Installations in Huge Spaces,” artists discussing how they had “intervened with the local culture,” and writers asserting that their work is a “subversion of biennials.”
The scariest part of Biennial would probably be the “Tales of the
Curators” section, which would recount true stories. Consider this
(real) one, from a well-known curator who invited an up-and-coming
artist to be in his biennial. The artist instantly asked what the
budget would be, and if airfare and hotels would be provided to him and
his two assistants. He then paused to take a call on his cell phone
from his assistant in Moscow, who was installing one of his pieces and
was trying to make arrangements to get to Turin to take another down
but had to stop in Seville to repair yet another piece.
Or, take Great Britain’s current representative in Venice, Tracey Emin, who according to the U.K.’s Observer toured five-star hotels in Venice last year, examining bedding thread counts to decide where she’d stay. She also requested her own boat, and had Julian Schnabel detour to Venice by private jet en route from Rome to Cannes to advise her on the installation. Not that it matters, but she made 60 of the drawings meant for the first room of her pavilion in just five hours. Not that it matters more, but the Museum of Modern Art just put a reserve on half of them. Biennials are big business.
I’d like to say good riddance to this system. It’s hard to imagine
the process working this way in fifteen years. A new generation is
going to have to find new ways to do big shows. Biennial culture is
already almost irrelevant, because so many more people are providing so
many better opportunities for artists to exhibit their work. When an
interviewer recently asked curator Robert Nickas, “Do biennials still
make sense?,” he replied, “No. Any critic or curator who thinks
differently is a traitor to the cause.” What’s disconcerting is that
almost everyone in the art world who sees these shows sees them only at
the opening. This is a horrible way to look at art. You’re constantly
darting in and out of crowds, glimpsing snippets of work, greeting and
avoiding people, elbowing your way through throngs, waiting in long
lines to spend six minutes in a pavilion with 700 other weary souls who
perpetually ask one another, “What have you seen that was good?” and
“Where are you going tonight?” You can’t really see anything."
- "Biennials are boring and bloated—yet we trudge from one to the next. There must be a better way to see art."
By Jerry Saltz
tb publicado em artnet.com
A "biennial culture" em estudo no MOMA:
"Contemporary Art and Its Exhibitions"
Ten Wednesdays, 8:05–10:00 p.m.
9/26, 10/3, 10/10, 10/17, 10/24, 10/31, 11/7, 11/14, 11/28, 12/5 (no class 11/21)
Instructor: Ágnes Berecz
During the past several decades, the structure of the art world and its public went through major transformations. The changing places, agents, and spectators of contemporary art generated questions both old and new. What is the role of museums and exhibitions in the interpretations of works of art? What is the relationship between the art world and the culture industry? How do exhibitions of contemporary art generate, dictate, or repress cultural discourses? How did the global art circuit and "biennial culture" come into being? This course will explore these questions through the study of some of the most controversial global exhibitions of contemporary art.
Ágnes Berecz (PhD, Université Paris/Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris) teaches at the Fashion Institute of Technology and is a lecturer at MoMA.
Research Forum: Biennial Culture
Art as ‘Reverse Colonialism’
Led by Dr. Steven Gartside, Research Fellow, MIRIAD, Manchester Metropolitan University
Friday 3 November 2006
The expansion of ‘Biennial Culture’ has led to an unprecedented level of cultural diversity with regard to location, source material and participating artists. However, the ways in which these events frame art from different cultures remains an underdeveloped topic of discussion. This research forum will aim to explore the implications of the 2006 Biennial’s 'reverse colonialism' as a model for contemporary art practice and reception within the world of the art biennial.
Research Forums will from part of a new Postgraduate Programme to be launched at Tate Liverpool in 2007.
£6 Price includes entry to the Liverpool Biennial 2006 exhibition and refreshments.