On November 22, 2015, the 56th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia chaired by Paolo Baratta and curated by Okwui Enwezor, closed its gates. Open to the public for about 7 months, the exhibition wrapped after hosting 501,502 visitors (475,000 in 2013); 24,065 visitors came to the preview.
"There is no grander gathering of contemporary art works in the world than at the Venice Art Biennale, […] The Biennale is the coveted stage for the most internationally diverse metalogue of high-ranking artistic voices to be found anywhere," wrote Michael Kurcfeld in the Los Angeles Review of Books.
All the World’s Futures, organized by Okwui Enwezor (director of Haus der Kunst in Munich), was the theme that held court at a Central Pavilion gallery in the Giardini where a continuous reading of Karl Marx’s Das Kapital set a political tone.
In all, 89 national participants took part, with some nations returning after years' of absence, including Ecuador, the Phillipines and Guatemala. First-time exhibitors included Grenada, Mauritius, Mongolia, Republic of Mozambique and Republic of Seychelles.
"The art often reflects the horrors at home: artists and curators, who view portraying reality as a duty, illustrate it in a range of media, and Venice becomes a platform for geopolitical frictions. Conflict is certainly visible this year in the pavilions of Iraq, Ukraine and Syria," reported Farah Nayeri, International New York Times.
Next year's organizers have already announced the launch of the 15th international architecture biennial with a new pavilion in partnership with the United Nations (Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development: Habitat III), and the London School of Economics (LSE). The exhibition opens in Venice on May 28 and continues through Nov. 23, 2016, with the theme "Reporting From the Front," posed as an investigation into the role of architects in efforts to improve the living conditions for people all over the world.
The U.S. exhibition for architecture will focus on reimagining four sites in Detroit, to represent common challenges modern cities face, say co-curators are Monica Ponce de Leon and Cynthia Davidson. The University of Michigan is the host of the U.S. Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale.
“We wanted to work on typical sites in Detroit that will help understand global problems,” Ponce de Leon told Michigan Radio, “and we wanted to capitalize on Detroit’s history of invention and imagination as a way of setting new models for the city of the 21st century.”
"Some people feel that the idea of showing art in national pavilions is an anachronistic one: wandering around this year’s Biennale, I realized how much I disagree. […] The Biennale is one of the few places that encourages such an approach to thinking about our place in the world," said Frieze's Jennifer Higgie.