For Art in America Hard Choices

Should you go see the Venice Biennale? –

After the pandemic set it back a year, the recently opened “Milk of Dreams” exhibition at the 59th Venice Biennale has won acclaim for its understated surreal take on our trying times. You probably already know this because friends, colleagues and faces in your feeds have flocked to Italy to glamorously recount their old-world exploits. Sitting at home worrying about Ukraine and monkeypox, you feel FOMO about all the gondola rides, lavish dinners, and virtuous art pavilions you haven’t experienced yet. . After dreaming of narrow Italian canals and extra virgin olive oil, you’re almost ready to buy a plane ticket. But first, take this quiz to determine if you should head to Venezia for a biennial dairy-filled blowout.

1. Your ideal artistic companion for the Biennale would be:

a) A gropey gondolier with a pencil mustache and a striped boat-neck shirt
b) A pickpocket chewing toothpicks with a glint in his eye
c) A newly acquitted Mario Batali in Crocs with Gwyneth Paltrow in tow

2. The most essential national pavilion on your itinerary is:

a) Ukraine
b) Eataly
c) Legoland

3. In order for you to attend a high-profile exhibition, it must include at least the following number of female artists in its mix:

a) 10%
b) 50%
c) 90%

4. Want to cancel someone or something in a Biennale that has not yet generated much controversy, you look for it elsewhere by decrying:

a) Yachts owned by oligarchs exposed during international sanctions
b) Pay for water at the restaurant
c) The ubiquity of holy and unholy genitalia in Renaissance painting and sculpture

5. You find surrealism as a relevant contemporary art strategy in 2022 to be as powerful as:

a) Mass bourgeois spectacle to distract from twin pandemics, climate catastrophe and World War III
b) The Whitney Biennale’s domestic take on exactly the same thing
c) Gluten-free pasta with nut-free pesto

6. While everyone at dinner is talking about a so-called big exhibit that you don’t like at all, you would try to change the conversation by asking:

a) “Can you believe what they charge for a copy of Art in America these days? Whore. »
b) “OMG, have you tried the garlic knots at Sbarro in the train station?”
c) “What do you think I would look like on a Vespa?”

7. Visiting Simone Leigh’s American Pavilion and seeing a gallerist who once asked you for a studio visit but never followed through, you would have:

a) Open a Piero Manzoni box artist shit on them
b) Shout”Ugatz!” while using Italian hand gestures that you learned from your nonna
c) Hire your Cosa Nostra friends to deliver a horse head to their hotel room

8. While listening to a conversation about Anselm Kiefer at breakfast, you intervened by saying:

a) “The Gelato pavilion was much better than I expected.”
b) “I happen to be Anselm’s gallery owner and wanted to let you know about our 50% summer sale.”
vs) [In a deep Italian accent] “Venice would be fine without all the tourists.

9. Which of the following cocktails are you sure is not an Italian cocktail?

a) Bernini
b) benign
c) Bellini

10. If you had to distill your desire to see the Biennale into a single emoji, you would select:

Hard Choices Quiz: Should You Go?


10–16: “He eats! He eats! He eats!” This song in a scene from Passolini Salò or the 120 days of Sodom is what you imagine while expecting long airport queues and sweaty crowds. You should just stay home, microwave Stouffer’s fettuccine alfredo, snort a bunch of ketamine, and browse jpegs online to get the same thrilling experience.

17–23: While it costs thousands and takes an entire day to get to Venice, Domino’s can deliver a pizza in about half an hour for less than $10. Can you really afford to take a trip so far from home? Take stock of your cash flow and your cholesterol levels before embarking on an expensive adventure that may disappoint you.

24–30: Getting on a plane is no more fun now than before Covid, but you are rested and ready to face the hassle of travel. It’s finally time to get off the couch and experience the art world in full bloom. After devouring plates full of scungilli in Venice, head to Art Basel for a Landjäger bond, then check out the pretzels at Documenta for a summer art trifecta.

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