Bringing the World Together

-The Venice Biennale’s aim has always been to bring the world together through the visual arts. In this day and age, artistic institutions are not available to contemporary artists on a similar level as the Biennale.  The exhibition has become a major communication system for the contemporary art world.

The integration of the art field on a global level resulted from the communication system established from the Venice Biennale.  There is a predisposition of looking at art purely as an object for the sake of an object rather than part of an ever linking chain of contacts. [18]  Before the Venice Biennale, news of artistic styles and movements on a cross-cultural scale lacked efficient speed.  Of course, generating an operation for art to reach a world-wide audience takes time to become a major information network, however the Biennale has accomplished this moreover year by year at an extraordinary rate.  Currently, the Biennale continues to grow, constructing new pavilions for first-time nations to participate within each exhibition edition.  To have an organization running for so long and to maintain and adapt to the domain of global art will only strengthen the interaction within the community of nations and artists to places and artistic styles never previously known.  Since the founding of the exhibition, the incorporation of innovative mediums grew to be more widely accepted.  The more time and exhibitions have passed, the more the Biennale lead toward inventive ideas, materials, and fields.  As a result, the show began to plan towards the future and invited more avant-garde artists of their times.  This pull towards the future is still an evident characteristic that continues to grow with the exhibition.  With the assimilation of a broader spectrum for contemporary mediums came the integration of multiple generations.  Finally, an exhibition that incorporated not only the great works of generally older, well establish artists, but also lesser known avant-garde artists whom were usually much younger in age.  This brings together works from artists with different perspectives on life, history, and art.
Connections between artists and their audience strengthened as a channel as information exchange evolved, using the Biennale as its primary tool.  Over the course of the Biennale’s editions, a movement was made from public to private works, allowing for those to be the core pieces shown.  Previously, a majority of the artworks displayed were pieces completed under a commission for people of the public. [19]  Commissioned works were often publicized in other shows, leaving out the undiscovered factor for some of the viewers or critics.  As the exhibition’s committee pressed towards unknown artwork, it also began tapering off from art shows of precedent times.  This created an environment for artist to display their own vision; uninterrupted from prior restrictions or traditions.  From doing so, the artists and their audiences are brought into a more intimate relationship. [20]
Part of building this interconnected communication center through photography, video, magazines, newspapers, and now the internet have made everything accessible to the masses.  Accounts of artists’ studios and artworks have become exposed to global context and readiness to the public.  These interconnections have not only allowed instantaneous information from the artist to their audiences, but in turn, furthered the international outlook on integration.   There is a transfer of information that occurs between the artwork and viewer when the work is seen in person.  Allowing the opportunity to discover more of the events at the Biennale through the internet might be interesting undertaking for the exhibition.  By completely opening up the pavilions through digital life-feed video and progressing with these technologically focused times, wider audiences could be reached.  Then again, that information often crosses a thin line of contextual change once the press or public gets a hold of that information or artwork to contemplate or perhaps, distribute.  Since art is, by nature, mobile in a physical and/or temporal sense, it is obviously subject to those contextual shifts.  Art is not permanent, and should not be treated or viewed as such.  There is an unproven but concerning issue dealing with the result of wide spread dispersal and/or reproduction of artwork.  It has been felt that by doing so, an overly informative network would deteriorate the original worth of the work. [21]  Is it not one of the purposes of creating art, to share with others and in turn create experiences and influences for others to explore?  Which ever way the exhibition is viewed, it cannot be denied that the Venice Biennale has advanced into an amazing communication tool for artists and the public to see what other cultures are doing on a international basis.  The Venice Biennale’s direct use as an artistic medium for artists and nations to convey their ideas has numerous results in various degrees.
Attendance is not only how many people visit the exhibition, but for the Venice Biennale, those masses of people move far beyond that.  The amount of works sold and attendence have continuously multiplied from year to year.  From those extraordinary reoccurring rates and capability to continue the event, a level of achievement can be directly drawn as a result. [22]  Due to the successfulness of the Biennale, not only tourist and art lovers make appearances, but also more of the important members of the upper level art community.  This means the Biennale’s reputation, whether it is in a positive or negative light, will be built upon by credible references of well-known artists, art critics, art dealers, art collectors, etc. from around the world that most likely will venture to the water paved streets of Venice to investigate and report their findings.  It becomes a spectacle like Fashion Week in New York City, where ideas, styles, and trends are unveiled to either raise the bar or become the next little black dress (or the next Picasso in the art world).
The outcome of all these people attending and spreading their knowledge about this artistic institution becomes an extremely strategic decision for a city to make.  If successful, such as the Biennale has been, the exhibition will yield a large number of tourists.  Hence, to a degree, the city will prosper economically from the on pour of people.  Sales from artworks sold at the Biennale also have a percentage that is given to the exhibition and Venice further supplying funds.  Even though it is located in such a magnificent and unparalleled setting, it does come with its countless problems when attempting to preserve its appearance.  With a city like Venice, its low population and unique maintenance problems, money is and always has been a significant issue.  As a result, one of the more recent jobs of the Biennale has been to bring in more people to Venice.  Discussions on whether the exhibition should be open year round is another debate that might drive more people and money toward the city.  For attendance records, it does not appear probable that numbers will decrease.  Every year, the new wave of artwork brought into the city will constantly keep its status fresh and contemporary, unlike an establishment more like a museum might be.  The allure of the avant-garde also can not help but constantly draw lovers of contemporary art back to Venice every two years.

18. Lawrence Alloway, 14.

19. Lawrence Alloway, 147.
20. Lawrence Alloway, 147.

21. Lawrence Alloway, 124.

22. La Biennale di Venezia.

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