reviews

  • Venice the Menace

    Venice Biennale

    The New York Times called it “death in Venice,” Time magazine called it “a shambles.” But the rage that met the 1993 Venice Biennale reflected less on the show itself than on the concerted attack some American critics have mounted recently against a dominant mood of the contemporary. Coming as it does after the assault on the Whitney Biennial, the reception of the Venice show suggests a deeply threatened feeling. The Eurocentric fetishization of certain limited ideas of artistic and cultural quality is becoming endangered, and it was this, above all, that was significant about the ’93 Biennale.

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  • Aperto 93

    Venice Biennale

    Having read in Italian newspapers that the Whitney Biennial was an overwhelming experience, a collection of aggressive and unpleasant artworks violently engaged against the evils of racism, sexism, etc. (“horror art,” one reviewer call it), I came to New York expecting to see works that were perhaps formally unresolved but very strong ideologically. Instead, I saw technically perfect photographs, Minimalist-influenced installations of everyday objects, images, and words elegantly painted on the walls—in short, the kinds of installations we usually see in museums. But what was really worrying

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