Hot off the opening of the New Museum’s 1993 show (itself an ode to the Aperto of that year’s Venice Biennale – a landmark presentation brought together by Helena Kontova and Flash Art‘s Giancarlo Politi), the Wall Street Journal has released a very astute profile on New Museum curator – and future Venice Biennale curator – Massimiliano Gioni.
Gioni is known for his charm and sense of humor, and both were certainly on display here. If the theme of his biennale – an ode to “the Bestiary of the Imagination” that is Italian artist Marino Auriti’s Encyclopedic Palace , with an emphasis of the eternal impossibility of such an endeavour- Gioni displayed a comparable sense of self-awareness when it came to his nomination: “When they ask you to do it, it’s because it’s your moment,” he says. “But then your moment has passed, and you’re a sacrificial goat.”
So how will Gioni bring it all together, magnifying his idiosyncratic approach to the scale of the global art world? How else but by sending up the premise of the Biennale itself. His International Exhibition, titled “The Encyclopedic Palace,” takes its name from a project by 20th-century outsider artist Marino Auriti, an eccentric self-taught architect and philosopher manqué who devoted years of his life to the construction of a gigantic skyscraper-temple that would house the combined wisdom of the human race. “Maybe 1999 was the last time somebody could claim you could know all the art in the world,” observes Gioni, whose show, centered on the image of a gigantic unbuildable archive, is a keen satire of the overstuffed biennales that have sprung up all over the world. The knowing, sardonic theme augurs very well indeed, especially for anyone who’s ever stepped into a big-time art fair and felt instantly overwhelmed by the sheer vastness of today’s globalized art market.
Elsewhere, he states that, “We need to remind ourselves that contemporary art is first of all a form of conceptual gymnastics, in which we learn to coexist with what we don’t understand.” That’s an elegant and elastic phrasing, if we’ve heard one.
Read the whole article here. (We think it’s worth it!)