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The 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, “May You Live in Interesting Times,” will take place from May 11 through November 24, 2019. Curated by Ralph Rugoff, the Biennale Arte 2019 welcomes 79 artists from all over the world to present works at the Giardini and the Arsenale, as well as around other venues in Venice. Special for this year is the decision to have each artist present two works—one at the Giardini and one at the Arsenale—to show the duality of their creativity.
“The 58th International Art Exhibition will not have a theme per se but will highlight a general approach to making art and a view of art’s social function as embracing both pleasure and critical thinking,” said Rugoff. “Artists who think in this manner offer alternatives to the meaning of so-called facts by suggesting other ways of connecting and contextualizing them.“
This year, there are 90 national participations in the historic pavilions at the Giardini, at the Arsenale, and in the historic city of Venice. First-timers include five new countries—Algeria, Ghana, Madagascar, Malaysia, and Pakistan. And for the first time, the Dominican Republic will host its own national pavilion.
“Twenty years have passed since, in this same location, I presented my first Exhibition,” said Paolo Baratta, President of La Biennale di Venezia. “Let me tell you, they have been very interesting times. At the beginning we were criticized for the presence of the pavilions, considered old-fashioned in times of cosmopolitanism and globalization. We live in times where some people raise the doubt that cosmopolitanism might also have been a way for the most influential cultural and political realities to exert a sort of soft power. We are an international exhibition that since those years put the word[s] ‘open’ and ‘plateau of humankind’ as the subtitle for all the following biennials.”