The Biennale Arte Venice 2013

Greta Chapin McGill - June 24, 2013

"Everyone is impressed and has heard of the beauty of Santa Fe."

 Every two years, Venice comes alive with The Biennale Arte, an international exhibit and the largest of its kind in the world. The theme this year is “Il Palazzo Enciclopedico,” in English, "The Encyclopedic Palace." American Artist Marino Auriti submitted his design for this magical place to the US Patent office in 1953. A model of the Encyclopedic Palace is the focal point of the exhibition. The Encyclopedic Palace is meant to house all of the world’s knowledge. The Venice Biennale is an exhibition about a desire to see and know everything and the point where this desire becomes an obsession.

Curated by Massimiliano Gioni, The Venice Biennale is a perfect extension of my dreams. Dreams that really have come true. The exhibition is centered in two locations in Venice, The Giardini and The Arsenale. There are also exhibitions in galleries, churches, and museums throughout the fascinating city of Venice.

Exhibitions of visual art, video art, installations, sculpture, music and conceptual art from 37 countries and the work of over 150 international artists are represented.  There is stimulation for the senses everywhere. Mikhail Baryshnikov is exhibiting photographs that look as if they could dance off the wall. The Manet Exhibition at the Doge’s  Palace is a must see. No trip to Venice is complete without a stop at Peggy Guggenheim’s fabulous palazzo on the Grand Canal, where the art is breathtaking and the little cafe charming for a cappuccino and a pastry to refresh yourself after viewing Picasso, Max Ernst, Miro, Modigliani and the collages of Robert Motherwell. You still have time to plan your trip, the exhibitions will be in place until November 11.

I enjoyed the Russian Pavilion in the Giardini where gold coins fell from the ceiling and every visitor became a participant in the exhibit without event knowing it. The Chinese Pavilion at the Arsenale was moving as was the Egyptian Pavilion where I became a golden goddess for a few precious seconds. The South African Pavilion was intense and the art of Zimbabwe made me want to pack my bags to make this my next destination.

My personal favorites at the Biennale were Marc Quinn and Jack Whitten. These two artists reflect for me the essence of the spirit of the Biennale. Marc Quinn took me on a voyage of human transformation through his eclectic sculpture and vision. Jack Whitten gave me inspiration with his expansive collage work.

There are places in the world infused with beauty and excitement. It is my wish to see them all.  There is art in the act of living, so much to be seen and touched it begs me to fly. I traveled through Salzburg, Vienna, Rome, Florence and Venice  As the green hills of Tuscany appeared in the train window I thought of how the mountains I climbed changed my life.  When I moved to Florence so many years ago it was the beauty of  the Tuscan hills that kept me there. I lived by the flow of the Arno, views of the Duomo from my apartment terrace and Michelangelo’s David across the street.  Moving to New Mexico it is the Jemez Mountains, views of Chimney Rock and the spirit of the Chama that keep me rooted to Abiquiu and Santa Fe. There is art in the act of living.

On my last evening in Venice, I had dinner at a neighborhood spot near my rented flat. The table next to me was alive with conversation. When one is traveling it is easy to be drawn into the mix of conversation. I found myself drinking grappa well into the evening with Fabbio Carrera, his Mother and friends from New England. Fabbio lives, where else, in Santa Fe. He travels from Venice to Santa Fe showing college students the wonders of the city without streets.  We discussed tailgating at the Santa Fe Opera and the beauty of Taos. In Rome, I ran into the Santa Fe High School Choir. My City Different is international and acclaimed world wide.  Everyone is impressed and has heard of the beauty of Santa Fe. I am so very glad my life has led me here. I am always reminded of the spirit of this special place.