When the crowds descended on Venice’s Giardini at the end of May for the preview days of the 55th Venice Biennale, there was a noticeable weariness in the air. Many gallerists and collectors had clocked in thousands of frequent flier miles, hitting Frieze New York and Art Basel’s inaugural Hong Kong edition just a couple of weeks earlier. So when Massimiliano Gioni’s much anticipated “The Encyclopedic Palace” finally opened, for some it was more like the season’s denouement than a summer kick off. Inside the garden’s gates, many were delighted by Gioni’s elegant show, with its “museal” presentation and tantalizing roster of unknowns (mostly dead white men with juicy back stories).
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