Today the Venice Biennale released the rather epic list (see below) of artists who will participated in curator Massimiliano Gioni's exhibition "The Encyclopedic Palace," which is slated to run from June 1 through November 24 and, despite its title, is dominated by the same American and European artists you'll encounter at most major international shows of contemporary art. "With works spanning over the past century alongside several new commissions," Gioni writes in his introduction, "and with over one hundred and fifty artists from more than thirty-seven countries, the exhibition is structured like a temporary museum that initiates an inquiry into the many ways in which images have been used to organize knowledge and shape our experience of the world."
The exhibition's title and theme were inspired by Italian-American artist Marino Auriti, who conceived of an encyclopedic museum of world culture in Washington, D.C. that would be 136 stories tall with a 16 block footprint, and called the "Palazzo Enciclopedico" (or "Encyclopedic Palace"). Though he spent years working on a model for the enormous structure in his home in rural Pennsylvania - and filed a patent application for it with the U.S. Patent office - Auriti's palace, as you may have guessed, was never built.
Gioni sees such "delusions of omniscience, shed light on the constant challenge of reconciling the self with the universe, the subjective with the collective, the specific with the general, the individual with the culture of her time." In our contemporary situation of sensory overload and data deluge, the curator considers "such attempts to structure knowledge into all-inclusive systems seem even more necessary and even more desperate."
The list of participating artists includes a who's-who of contemporary American heavyweights -Nauman, Condo, Sherman, McCarthy, de Maria, Guyton, Serra, Trecartin, and so on - a similarly comprehensive cross-section of major European artists - including Fischli & Weiss,Kjartansson, Sarah Lucas, Steve McQueen, and Sehgal - a select few from other regions - four artists each from Africa and South America, and nine from Asia (so much for being encyclopedic) - and historical artifacts like Haitian Vodou flags, Shaker gift drawings, and anonymous Tantric paintings. As GalleristNY notes, the number of artists in the exhibition who've recently shown at the New Museum - where Gioni is the associate director and a curator - is conspicuous, though not entirely surprising.
The full list is below:
Hilma af Klint
Graphic Works of Southeast Asia and Melanesia, Hugo A. Bernatzik Collection 1932-1937
Frédéric Bruly Bouabré
James Lee Byars
Jos De Gruyter and Harald Thys
Eugene Von Bruenchenhein
"The Encyclopedic Palace" runs June 1-November 24 at the Giardini and the Arsenale.