• Ideas
  • May 15, 2017

57th Venice Biennale, Part 4: Collateral Exhibitions

Rooftops of Venice. All photos by HG Masters for ArtAsiaPacific.

Beyond the leafy Giardini and the pebbly Arsenale of the Venice Biennale lie numerous exhibitions, some of which are accorded the official status of a “collateral exhibition” and others that rise to attention on their reputation—most notably those at Palazzo Fortuny, Fondazione Prada and Fondazione Querini Stampalia. Among the contemporary art tourists that flock to Venice every two years, there were those who elected to see Damien Hirst’s horrific, plagiaristic kitsch, taking place in a massive all-for-sale exhibition titled “Treasures From the Wreck of the Unbelievable,” at Christie’s owner Francois Pinault’s two spaces, Palazzo Grassi and the Punta della Dogana. I would like to imagine that Hirst’s monstrosities are only there to fuel an appreciation of Christine Macel’s sincerity-woven central exhibition “Viva Arte Viva” and the many thoughtful national pavilions. Among the dozens of other exhibitions in Venice are the “collateral exhibitions” that could also be considered the “national pavilions” of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macao—these are given peripheral designation because the People’s Republic of China claims those areas as its own. There are also several national pavilions that have yet to secure positions inside the Arsenale (the Giardini is already at maximum capacity), or have opted for the marginally less expensive real estate of off-site locations. So here’s a look at the notable outliers of the 57th Venice Biennale.