PRINT Summer 1988



THE BIENNALE IS REOPENING its pavilions, and in Venice they are once again speaking the Esperanto of art. But the general hubbub masks the more important, problematic, and urgent discourse that addresses the city of Venice itself, the grand, distinguished site for this old, extremely old, too old exhibition. It is as if everyone were talking about a suit, abstractly saying that it is beautiful or ugly, without noticing the person wearing it. The Biennale is the suit, and Venice is the person. But is it a living or dead person? A city or an “ex-city”? What is Venice today? What other characterization can one add to the thousands that have already been offered? The anthology of definitions of Venice has always existed and will continue ad infinitum. Let’s try. For example: Venice is a souvenir shop magnified to urban dimensions. Or: Venice is the place where the rhetoric of all city planners

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