Unashamedly political or collectively delusional? What difference does the art world make anyway?
Source:The Art Newspaper Author:Cristina Ruiz Date: 2015-05-05 Size:
And so to Venice for the latest edition of the biennale, the grande dame of contemporary art exhibitions, where nations battle it out to assert their creative supremacy……

Cristina Ruiz, editor-at-large for The Art Newspaper

And so to Venice for the latest edition of the biennale, the grande dame of contemporary art exhibitions, where nations battle it out to assert their creative supremacy; where artistic careers are launched, and where top curators are arrested for public indecency after engaging in sex acts in gondolas (yes, it really happened).

Other shows may be more important, Documenta in Kassel arguably has the edge here, but none is as eagerly anticipated by the international art world. Who wants to sip bellinis in the German hinterland when you could be sipping them on the Grand Canal? Exactly. And so the inappropriate footwear has been packed, the party schedules have been organised and the private yachts have set sail for the Serenissima.

What to expect fr om this year’s edition, the first to be organised by an African curator? The Nigerian-born Okwui Enwezor has said his show will be unashamedly political. It will examine “the pervasive structure of disorder in global geopolitics, environment and economics”, whatever that means, and it will include more artists from Africa than ever before.

I predict many an aging white collector regaling us with stories of the numerous African/African-American/Black British/fill in with appropriate ethnic minority artists he has supported over the years while surgically enhanced ladies of indeterminate age will declare their undying admiration for the work of “that African artist with the incredible piece in the Arsenale. I forget his name but, you know, the one from Ghana. Or is it Angola?” For there is nothing more important to the rich elites who sustain the art world than proving to themselves (and others) that they are connected to the latest developments of international culture and deeply attuned to the concerns of artists whose names they can barely pronounce let alone remember.

As desperate migrants in search of a better life drown in the Mediterranean, Islamic State pursues its relentess campaign of terror in the Middle East, and a whole world of pain continues unabated somewh ere else, we will this week participate in a collective delusion that what we see and do here in this gilded place matters. That by looking at political art we are somehow engaged in a deeply political act. The greatest danger, the British playwright David Hare once wrote, is “the illusion of action”. If you really want to effect a change, choose a real cause (shopping for the next show in your private museum doesn’t count) and throw your money and influence behind it. But if you simply want to look at some interesting new art in between the cocktail parties and fancy dinners, then Venice is the place to be this week.

[Editor] 尹迎杰

    Artintern