Click here to view a larger version of ARTINFO's Venice Biennale Map, June 1.
Giardini & Arsenale
Preview: June 1-3, 10 am-6 pm
The center of the action for many of the art lovers assembled for the preview weekend, the Bice Curiger-curated "IllumiNATIONS" brings together some 82 international artists, spread out across the Arsenale's long and sweeping spaces and the International Pavilion in the Giardini. Curiger promises a grand statement about the enduring power of the Enlightenment grounded in the works of Venetian master Tintoretto, and the successes and failures of her show will be the week's central narrative.
Presentation of the Calder Prize to Rachel Harrison
Roof terrace of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Dorsoduro, 704
The 2011 Calder Prize, aimed at early-career artists who have demonstrated a commitment to "innovative and promising work," goes to Brooklyn-based artist Rachel Harrison, known for odd but unforgettable mixed-media sculpture. The prize comes with a $50,000 purse, as well as a residency at the Atelier Calder in France and the placement of a work in a major public collection.
Presentation of the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement to Franz West
Giardini di Castello, 30122
This year's recipient of the Biennale's Lifetime Achievement award — the coveted Golden Lion — is 64-year-old Vienna-based artist Franz West. West's most notable works are sculptures that address the intersection of fine and applied arts, and he is a Biennale veteran, having represented Austria back in 1992. The selection of West was proposed by "IllumiNATIONS" curator Bice Curiger, and approved by the Biennale's board.
Preview for "Venice in Venice"
Palazzo Contarini, Dagli Scrigni, Dorsoduro 1057/D
Venice Beach, California meets the City of Bridges in this show curated by Jacqueline Miro and Tim Nye. The exhibition features revolutionary artists who lived and worked in Venice, Ca. in the 1960s, including stars like Ed Ruscha and James Turrell. A flotilla of psychedelic neon-painted gondolas by artist Billy Al Bengston open the event. The exhibit runs through July 31.
Preview of Federico Diaz's "Outside Itself"
Nappa 90 in the Arsenale Novissimo
P.S.1 founder Alanna Heiss organizes this site-specific interactive installation by Prague-based artist Federico Diaz, in which robots construct an ever-growing sculpture composed of small black spheres based upon the conditions of ambient light within the gallery space. Yes, you read that right. For the general public, it will be on view until September 30.
Jacques Rancière's "In What Time Do We Live?"
Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti, Campo Santo Stefano, San Marco 2842
French philosopher Jacques Rancière — whom Artforum once branded the art world's "darling du jour" — delivers a lecture that looks at the relationship between emancipatory politics and aesthetics, as part of the Norwegian pavilion's "State of Things" lecture-series-cum-pavilion.
Private View of the Exhibition "Relational, of Baku"
Palazzo Benzon, San Marco 3927
This exhibition takes place at the off-site pavilion of the West Asian nation of Azerbaijan and purports to examine the influence of the urban hub of Baku, the country's capital, on two generations of artists, including Mikayil Abdurahmanov, Zeigam Azizov, Khanlar Gasimov, Altai Sadighzadeh, Aidan Salakhova, and Aga Ousseinov. The show will be on view through November 27.
Palazzo Grassi, Campo San Samuele, 3231
The opening soiree for the Caroline Bourgeois-curated show at François Pinault's Palazzo Grassi is bound to be one of the hottest events of the Biennale preview weekend, given Pinault's vast cultural clout and the high-wattage artists on view. The show claims to bring together figures of different practices and backgrounds as an examination of "major themes of contemporary history," which is a pretty vague premise — but the star power is undeniable, from Jeff Koons to Urs Fischer and El Anatsui. "The World Belongs to You" is open to the public until December 31.
A giant video screen will float through central Venice for this mobile video installation entitled "Commercial Break." Garage Projects and curator Neville Wakefield present short digital works of over 100 artists in the Grand Canal through June 5.