Jeremy Deller, Social Parade, 2004. Performance view, Manifesta 5, Donostia–San Sebastián, 2004.

Manifesta 5

Various Venues

WHEN IT WAS HELD two years ago in Frankfurt, Manifesta’s fourth incarnation offered art pilgrims little more than a dry, somewhat nonvisual exhibition in a lackluster banking town—right down to a catalogue printed in black and white. This time around, both the organizing committee of Europe’s peripatetic biennial and its curators, Massimiliano Gioni and Marta Kuzma, seem to have taken that experience to heart, opting for a good-looking exhibition in Donostia–San Sebastián, Spain, a sunny resort town. While there are certain advantages to these choices, some of Manifesta’s gritty experimental potential feels lost. The exhibition series has always prided itself on its critical treatment of its site (indeed, this mission is often cited as the rationale for its nomadic structure), yet here the self-sufficiency of the show necessarily means that some of the imperatives of actual engagement are

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