porto-alegre-brazil

the 6th Mercosul Bienal

Various Venues

IN THE WAKE OF this past summer’s Grand Tour, and the debates surrounding the Venice Biennale and Documenta 12 in particular, some of us were left wondering what, if anything, could restore confidence in the idea that biennials remain a relevant and vital form of exhibition-making. One possible answer: the Sixth Mercosul Bienal in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Organized by Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro (soon to leave his post as curator of Latin American art at the Blanton Museum of Art, in Austin, Texas, to become director of the New York– and Caracas-based Coleción Patricia Phelps de Cisneros), the Mercosul Bienal reasserted what Okwui Enwezor, writing in these pages recently, called the “unique grammar” of the large-scale international exhibition. In so doing, it made a compelling case for how pertinent and, well, satisfying this type of event can be. Launched in 1997 as an alternative to the São

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