PRINT September 1998

World Report

the Berlin Biennale

Who said a biennial has to occur every other year? Why not present several art events over a two-year period? That’s how the organizers of BERLIN BIENNALE 1998–2000 are redefining the designation.

Curated by Klaus Biesenbach, the current pooh-bah of the Berlin art scene, with advisers Hans-Ulrich Obrist of the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris and Nancy Spector of the Guggenheim in New York, the Berlin Biennale opens October 1 with an exhibition titled “Berlin/Berlin,”featuring work by fifty artists, many of whom live part of the year in Germany’s new capital or have some ongoing relationship with the city. In addition, there will be a three-day, round-the-clock series of lectures, performances and films. Then comes “7/11,” a somewhat expediently titled exhibition of between seven and eleven international artists that opens in October 1999, followed by “Flanerie” in the year 2000, a show that is in the process of being defined.

Does the world really need another biennial, even one with a conceptual twist? Absolutely, says Biesenbach, a curator at New York’s P.S. 1 and director of Kunst-Werke, an international exhibition space currently under reconstruction in Berlin. “After Aperto in Venice was abolished in 1995,” he notes, “it made sense to do a biennial focused on emerging artists.”

Daniel Birnbaum