Cetinje, Montenegro

Cétinié Biennale

Like certain small towns of the American West, beyond the storefronts of Cetinje’s main street lie prairies and mountains. Many of the buildings are empty, as in a ghost town, but the dignified architecture and pastel colors of the vacant palaces and decaying embassies recall the cosmopolitan past of this small city, once the capital of Montenegro. When Nicolas Petrovitch Njegosh, a Parisian architect and prince of this former kingdom by birth, decided to launch a biennial art exhibition here in 1991, he faced a challenge, given the situation in Yugoslavia and Cetinje. In fact, the second biennial was delayed until 1994 because of the war, and when it took place, it was dedicated to the victims of ethnic cleansing. Although the exhibition’s budget is not in the least comparable with those biennials in Venice, Sao Paulo, or Istanbul, the 1997 edition boasted a prestigious organizing committee

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