On March 15, the Art Newspaper published the story “Curators have mixed reactions to the artist roster for Venice Biennale” – exactly the kind of piece one might expect before a show laden with so many expectations of its own. Amid some lavish praise from curators-in-the-news Jens Hoffmann and Paul Schimmel (whose embattled history with MOCA seems to have taken a turn now that he is reported to be on the verge of accepting a job at top gallery Hauser+Wirth), one anonymous “leading European curator” encouraged readers to “Do the maths: non-European and American artists appear to number 21 out of 154 artists in total, which is about 14%.” (Even this curator couched his statement with “Gioni, however, has a keen eye and precise curatorial hand, so I am quite sure it will be a beautiful show,” leaving us confused about how “mixed” these reactions really are. )
Still, for a show that inspires to Marino Auriti’s Encyclopedic Palace – a compendium of universal knowledge – the fact that Europeans/Americans make up 86% (or 133 out of 154) of the artist roster (as it was published) seems depressingly representative of the art world as a whole (rather than, say, an imaginative framework for exploring outside those bounds.)
This morning, Artguide‘s Masha Kravtsova broke the news that the published list of artists is by no means final. While we mentioned earlier that two Russians – Victor Alimpiev and Evgeny Kozlov – were included within the main exhibition, it now seems we can add one more to the list: Siberian photographer Nikolay Bakharev, whose quirky, kinky, nudes-in-Soviet-interiors were included in Gioni’s 2011 exhibition Ostalgia.
The inclusion of another Russian – a Siberian no less – sounds like maybe Gioni has an eye on improving his numbers. In any case, we look forward to watching this Palace expand (and finally catching a firsthand glimpse when the Venice Biennale opens June 1, 2013.)