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The 2017 Venice Biennale. Photo: Lauren Cavalli.

Venice Architecture and Art Biennales Postponed to 2021 and 2022

The art-world calendar has once again been reshuffled by the Covid-19 pandemic. The fifty-ninth edition of the Venice Biennale has been pushed to 2022, and the seventeenth Venice Architecture Biennale has been given a 2021 time slot. According to a statement issued by the events’ organizing body Monday morning, the postponement of the architecture exhibition, which was scheduled to open in August, is an “acknowledgment that it is impossible to move forward . . . due to the persistence of a series of objective difficulties caused by the effects by the health emergency underway.”

Curated by Hashim Sarkis and titled “How Will We Live Together?,” the architecture biennial will now take place over a six-month period, from Saturday, May 22 to Sunday, November 21, 2021. While museums and other cultural venues in Italy have begun reopening and some lockdown restrictions have been lifted, organizers would still not have been able to realize the event in its entirety if it were to take place as planned this August. As a result, the exhibition was moved to 2021, and the art biennial was also pushed back. Curated by Cecilia Alemani, the fifty-ninth iteration of the highly anticipated event will now unfold over seven months, opening on Saturday, April 23, 2022 and running through Sunday, November 27, 2022.

“The last few days have clarified the real state of the situation we are all facing,” said Venice Biennale president Roberto Cicutto. “With the utmost respect for the work done by all of us, the investments made by the participants, and considering the difficulties that all countries, institutions, universities, architectural studios have met together with the uncertainty of the shipments, personal travel restraints and Covid-19 protective measures that are being and were being adopted, we have decided to listen to those, the majority, who requested that the Biennale di Architettura be postponed.”

Sarkis remarked: “I am deeply moved by the perseverance of all the participants during the last three months. I hope that the new opening date will allow them first to catch their breath, and then to complete their work with the time and vigor it truly deserves.”

Commenting on the new meaning the pandemic lends to the exhibition’s theme, he said: “Neither the question I asked ‘How will we live together?’ nor the wealth of ways in response to it, were meant to address the crisis they are living, but here we are. We are in some ways fortunate because we are well equipped to absorb the immediate and longer-term implications of the crisis into the seventeenth biennale.”

The seventy-seventh Venice International Film Festival, directed by Alberto Barbera and scheduled for September 2 to September 12, will still take place, as will three other events slated to be held this fall: the forty-eighth International Theatre Festival, directed by Antonio Latella, which will run from September 14 to 24; the sixty-fourth International Festival of Contemporary Music, directed by Ivan Fedele, which will be held from September 25 to October 4; and the fourteenth International Festival of Contemporary Dance, directed by Marie Chouinard, which is expected to take place from October 13 to 25.

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