sydney

Peter Robinson, Gravitas Lite, 2012, polystyrene, dimensions variable. From the 18th Biennale of Sydney.

18th Biennale of Sydney

Various Venues

Peter Robinson, Gravitas Lite, 2012, polystyrene, dimensions variable. From the 18th Biennale of Sydney.

Globalization and its consequences are standard biennial fare. What made the “18th Sydney Biennale: all our relations” different was its sheer optimism. Artistic directors Catherine de Zegher and Gerald McMaster clearly wanted to give audiences an experience of shared communicative spaces largely unburdened by prevailing, doom-laden views of our current state. Critics have trashed their vision for being too big, too unfocused, too cuddly. All of which is true, but overlooks the show’s ambition. De Zegher and McMaster attempted a huge and risky piece of curatorial orchestration, with each venue funneling viewers from swooping, bird’s-eye examinations of globalization’s impact to intimate, sensorial encounters with individual works. As a result, Sydney itself—a city shaped by histories of crime, immigration, the colonial maltreatment of indigenous people, and ecological

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