Venice Biennale Shrinks as Costa Rica, Kenya Cancel Pavilions

In addition to the recent cancelation of Kenya’s pavilion at the upcoming Venice Biennale, Hannah McGivern reports in The Art Newspaper that Costa Rica’s pavilion was also canceled as of March 30 due to the curator Gregorio Rossi’s controversial plan to charge participating artists.

Ileana Ordoñez Chacon, the commissioner of the Costa Rican pavilion, announced in a letter to the Biennale that the decision to withdraw from Venice was due to “reasons beyond [the] control” of the Costa Rican embassy. The artists who were to show in the pavilion—around fifty in total and most of them from Italy—were asked to pay over $5,000 each to finance the exhibition. Rossi defended this model, saying: “Costa Rica did not finance its participation in the Biennale in any way.” He plans to go ahead with the show, which will be displayed at the Palazzo Bollani, during the biennial.

In its statement on the Costa Rican pavilion, the Biennale said it “does not in any way interfere with the organisational aspects of the participations of countries (the appointment of the commissioner and the curator, the curatorial project, the selection procedures for the artists, the choice of the venue, etc.), granting full autonomy to the participating country, as a matter of consolidated practice.”