PRINT September 2011


View of “Baton Sinister,” 2011, an exhibition by Bjarne Melgaard with Paola Angelini, Michelangelo Corsaro, Cecilia Divizia, Elisa Fantin, Marco Fellini, Corinne Mazzoli, Nicole Moserle, Beatrice Piva, Valentina Roselli, Alessio Sacchetto, Valeria Romagnini Solfato and Davide Spillari, Palazzo Contarini Corfù, Venice. Shown: Room with works by Bjarne Melgaard installed by the artist. On-screen: Untitled (Bjarne Melgaard Interviews Leo Bersani), 2011.

IT’S NOT WHAT YOU KNOW, IT’S WHO YOU KNOW: The old maxim has returned as the regnant logic of our networked age. And it is perfectly suited to today’s large-scale exhibitions and art-fair extravaganzas, where a cast of stellar names propels viewers from booth to booth, pavilion to pavilion, palazzo to palazzo. Yet the 54th Venice Biennale aims to move beyond the art-world name game. Curator Bice Curiger’s “ILLUMInations” instead proposes an investigation of knowledge, reason, historicity, and vision—all grouped under the metaphoric umbrella of “light.” To assess this endeavor, Artforum asked seven critics, curators (including two who previously helmed the Biennale), and art historians to take stock of the Biennale and the projects surrounding it. DANIEL BIRNBAUM, CLAIRE BISHOP, FRANCESCO BONAMI, NICHOLAS CULLINAN, TIM GRIFFIN, JOHN KELSEY, and BENJAMIN PAUL cull the highlights from the low points—and decide whether this summer’s shows rose above the roster or are ultimately just another who’s who.