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56th Venice Biennale Highlights 2015

by Erica Firpo

View Slideshow Giardini at the Venice Biennale

Japan's "The Key in the Hand" at Giardini. All photos by Erica Firpo.

Fathom contributing editor Erica Firpo files her report on the 56th Venice Biennale, where she took in the thriving art, cultural, and social scenes of of the annual event.

VENICE – "And you must know Germano…" was whispered to me as I was about to drink my glass of Dom Perignon. I was on my own at the opening of the Cy Twombly at Ca Pesaro, Venice's Museum of Modern Art, one of the coordinated events that lead up to the opening of the 56th Venice Biennale.

To be fair, those are the kind of words that trail around you at the Biennale, thick and vague like the late evening fog by the canals — references to Italy's reigning art critic and curator Germano Celant. Did I know? I smiled and shook his hand: baptism by fire into the Venice Biennale.

What is the Venice Biennale? For the contemporary art world, it is everything. An opportunity to show off incredible art and fashion and talk shop while enjoying a spritz in the campi of La Serenissima. For artists, it is a showcase, a social outlook, and, at times, a popularity contest. For me, it is a work out — making time for every single pavilion and exhibition in the Giardini and Arsenale (where the main focus of the Biennale is held) and then focusing on the exhibitions, events, and happenings all around the island. There are blockbuster exhibits and short-term pop-ups. Time is both important and irrelevant. My time? Early starts, long days, late evenings. Bananas, hors d'oeuvres, and champagne. 

SEE THE PHOTOS

Take a whirlwind tour of the 56th Venice Biennale.

FIND IT

56th Venice Biennale
All the World's Future
9 May – 22 November 2015

TOP EXHIBITIONS

Fondazione Prada: Portable Classic

Ca Pesaro: Cy Twombly

Museo Fortuny: Proportio

Palazzo Grassi: Martial Raysse

Punta della Dogana: Slip of the Tongue

Peggy Guggenheim Collection: Alchemy by Jackson Pollock

Frontiers Reimagined

Erica is a freelance writer based in Rome. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram. She travels for the whole new head space.

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