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Francesco Bonami

IF YOU ARE ORIGINALLY FROM TURKEY but become a German citizen, you will never really be German in the eyes of German-born people. Similarly, if you are from Albania but become an Italian citizen, you will never be Italian for those born in Italy. When you become a citizen of the United States, however—and this is a simple but important difference between the US and every other country in the world—you become an “American.” The rest belongs to the past, becoming a picturesque memory, and when it comes to your new home, you take the good with the bad. You pay taxes; you avoid the long queue at the immigration counter at JFK; you tend to be singled out by terrorists when abroad. And when you do the Venice Biennale as an American, you are praised or criticized on that basis.

In 2003, having been naturalized two years before, I became the first American citizen to direct the Venice Biennale. I

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