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SAID THE SPIDER TO THE FLY

’Tis the white stag, Fame, we’re a-hunting,

Bid the world’s hounds come to horn!

Ezra Pound

THIS YEAR, THE BIENNALE has finally abandoned its curated theme shows, making the Giardini di Castello the “Giardini della fine delle ideologie” (The gardens of the end of ideologies). The sentence that this decision has passed on exhibition-goers is readable in the first flower bed inside the gate: whoever manages to escape the lonely crowd of George Segal’s Rush Hour, 1983, ends up sharing a bench with the angular tourists of Lynn Chadwick’s Back to Venice, 1988, a stiffly bronze couple whose heads divert the cube and the pyramid from their ideal metaphysical tasks to the more prosaic one of smiling at passersby. In the flower bed, life is lived within an invisible circle, a circle defined by a total absence of conflict. Artistic innovation or development gives way to repetition, which congratulates

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