The 55th edition of Venice Biennale started this month and will be on till the 24th
of November. Coming up in the next series of posts is a roundup of our favorites from the Biennale itself, the collateral exhibitions across Venice as well as our picks of “bacari” (small Venetians bars) and places to escape when the art and tourist crowds get a bit too overwhelming.
First a short overview of what’s on display and where:
the Biennale has two main locations – Giardini, with thirty permanent national pavilions and the central exhibition hall, and Arsenale, displaying a themed exhibition. Titled Il Palazzo Enciclopedico, this year’s exhibition is curated by Massimiliano Gioni and evolves around the human desire to catalogue the world around them. Some countries not owning a pavilion in the Giardini stage their national shows inside the Arsenale.
There’s also a large number of collateral events spread throughout the city, ranging from additional national pavilions, through some rather stunning private collections (François Pinault’s Palazzo Grassi & Punta della Dogana, Peggy Guggenheim,
Prada Foundation to name just a few) to various group- and solo shows.
You can easily spend two entire days (or more) in Giardini and Arsenale and take time to enjoy the art as well as the settings: one of the best things about the biennale is the unique atmosphere of these two locations. Same thing for the collateral shows spread throughout Venice – palazzos, canal views, vaporetto trips, handsome display of private yachts etc. is at least as exciting as the art on display.
Finally: food, drinks and attitude to customers can be either amazing or horrible in Venice, depending on where you go. Coming up is a small selection of places we loved, from simple bars to the £30 per Bellini ones (ok, just once :-)).