PRINT April 1995


Lauren Sedofsky talks with Jean Clair

WITH ITS 1995 CENTENNIAL celebration, the Venice Biennale is executing an about-face. Putting on hold its traditional failed attempts to encompass the ultranow of international artistic production, the Biennale will instead be appraising the closing century. Vieillesse oblige. That the final accounting should repose on figures of the human kind, a body and face show, comes as no surprise. What may startle or rile, confound or intrigue, as a Biennale must, is the rereading of history that the newly inflated corpus invites. For in choosing Jean Clair to determine how modernity adds up, the Biennale is ratifying a particular curatorial approach, as well as a set of values, a position, an identity, at the critical moment of European unification.

Clair has been responsible for some heavy-duty exhibitions over the last twenty years. As a curator at the Centre Georges Pompidou, he set his standards

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