In “ILLUMInations,” the main exhibition at this year’s Venice Biennale, lies a small gallery with walls covered floor to ceiling by larger-life-than photographs of Cindy Sherman in dress-up, framed by a background of blown-up images of 18th-century pastoral engravings. In typical Sherman style, she uses wigs and costumes to assume different roles, though in the case of “Murals,” the roles aren’t as clear as her usual easily identifiable stereotypes. First, we have Sherman in a baggy, Band-Aid colored body suit of naked woman. The breasts and pubic hair are rudely constructed. They look like something a child would make if children made naked body suits.She holds a sword at her crotch, suggestively pointed upwards, ever ready to juxtapose images of female sexuality with the power traditionally ascribed to the male phallus – an association so obvious and overdone by this point it teeters on boredom.
Duo Allora & Calzadilla created this interactive installation, which has been very popular at this year’s Venice Biennale. It’s a working ATM embedded within a pipe organ that is programmed to play a unique tune for each user: “Theories have even been circulating that the bigger someone’s balance, the more elaborate and longer the composition,…
The Casa de Musica in Portugal
The Architecture exhibition at this year’s Venice Biennale doesn’t open until late August, but Rem Koolhass has already been announced the winner of the Gold Lion for Lifetime Achievement, the Biennale’s top prize. Koolhaas’ work focuses on “the exchanges between people in space,” said Biennale chairman Paolo Baratta in a reflection on the theme “People Meet in Architecture.” Certainly the structures designed by Koolhass and his partners at OMA (The Office for Metropolitan Architecture) encourage, if not demand attention from their inhabitants. Take the Casa Da Musica in Portugal, one in a series of concert halls designed specifically to “escape the domination of the ‘shoe-box’ concert hall” shape by restructuring the interior layout and including intimate, unexpected spaces for human interaction in contrast to the vastness of the hall itself and the magnitude of the National Orchestra of Porto.
With 93% of its citizens living in cities, Australia is among the most urbanized continents in the world, and its entry in the upcoming Venice Architecture Biennale, “NOW + WHEN” reflects the growing need for a retooling of its biggest cities. The NOW part highlights 6 of Australia’s “most interesting” urban and rural areas, but the WHEN part is clearly the focus, with 17 proposals that anticipate or fantasize (you be the judge) about the state of Australia’s cities in 2050, many of which are presented in 3D stereoscopic for extra wow factor.
At the 53rd International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale which opens this Sunday, thirteen American artists (John Baldessari, Tony Conrad, Spencer Finch, William Forsythe, Guyton/Walker, Richard Harrison, Joan Jonas, Sherrie Levine, Arto Lindsay, Gordon Matta-Clark, Amy Simon, and Pae White) will show their work and compete for the much coveted Golden Lion. Among the…