The Biennale of Sydney 2000

Various Venues

THIS YEAR'S SYDNEY BIENNALE was a poignant exhibition. Though mostly a disorganized and unthematized review of the 1990s, featuring such stars as Matthew Barney, Tracey Moffatt, and Jeff Wall, it was also a Noah's ark of gorgeous, visionary works from the decade's grandfather figures (among them Bruce Nauman, Ilya Kabakov, and Gerhard Richter). Sprawled out among two major museums and a few of the city's experimental art spaces, with more than 150 works by 48 artists or artist-groups, the event was aggressively passive in refusing to assume its own agency, even though it presented a lexicon of artists who have themselves been initiators of new artistic paradigms. A list of the last few decades' “agents of change,” in fact, was originally the Biennale of Sydney's theme, but this unifying rationale fell victim to last-minute nerves and curatorial self-consciousness. Despite the names on the

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