The US’s Delay in Naming an Artist for the Venice Biennale Suggests a Country Contented with Seclusion – 美国Delay在《威尼斯双年展》中命名艺术家,暗示一个满足隐居的国家。

Opinion - 27 Jul 2018

The US’s Delay in Naming an Artist for the Venice Biennale Suggests a Country Contented with Seclusion

Trump’s State Department is more than 3 months late in announcing its national pavilion – testament to the chaos engulfing the administration

By Cody Delistraty

At the last Venice Biennale, in 2017, even after Brexit and US president Donald Trump’s election, the world’s tumultuous politics seemed distant. In an interview with The New York Times, the exhibition’s curator Christine Macel said: ‘I’m very interested in politics [...] But not all art should be about politics. It’s only one dimension.’ The Central Pavilion opened with Mladen Stilinović’s photo series ‘Artist at Work’ (1978) in which the late Croatian conceptualist lay in bed, tired, sleeping, or dreaming. This, one reviewer noted, seemed symbolic of Macel being asleep to the roaring political shifts that were then occurring around the world.

For the upcoming 2019 biennale, the United States is conspicuously late to naming an artist at all for its national pavilion. For the last three editions, the American artists were announced in April (Mark Bradford in 2017, Joan Jonas in 2015) or February (Sarah Sze in 2013) of the preceding year. As we’re nearly into August now with still no word on an American artist, some believe it calls for concern, satirically and not. ‘King Turd and Trump State Department propose place name of David H. Koch above entrance to American Pavilion at Venice Biennale,’ wrote critic Jerry Saltz on Twitter and Instagram. Artist Justin Lieberman started an online petition with the semi-ironic suggestion that the US select the patriotic, pro-Trump realist painter Jon McNaughton. In one report on the delay in announcing a US artist, Paul Ha, the director of the MIT List Visual Arts Center (and co-curator of the 2015 US pavilion) commented forebodingly: ‘With the current administration, who wants to zero out the NEA and NEH – it is not really a huge surprise that it has taken so long [...] I hope it still happens. [I] would hate to be the one country that is not represented in the Giardini.’

But is the US really so late? And is there cause for concern? Only 25 countries have announced their artists so far. Over 80 came last year, and we can expect a similar turnout this year as well – Japan, Greece, Korea, China, Denmark, and the Czech Republic to name just a few have all still not announced their artists. The US is under no formal obligation to announce theirs until the end of the year. It is indeed unusual that the US hasn’t yet made their announcement, as they’re typically one of the first. But it also seems unlikely that Trump and his State Department, led by Mike Pompeo, are actively attempting to scupper the American Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.


The US’s Delay in Naming an Artist for the Venice Biennale Suggests a Country Contented with Seclusion - 美国Delay在《威尼斯双年展》中命名艺术家,暗示一个满足隐居的国家。

Mark Bradford, Tomorrow is Another Day, 2017, installation view, US Pavilion at Venice Biennale. Courtesy: the artist and Hauser & Wirth; photograph: Joshua White

Every country has a unique process of selecting for the national pavilions at Venice. The US, in the recent past, has usually had curators, mostly acting on behalf of museums, submit proposals for viable artists to the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The State Department then chooses a commissioning institution, usually a museum, which in turn selects the artist. In the case of Bradford last year, the State Department chose the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, which organized his exhibition. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation technically owns the US pavilion’s building and the Peggy Guggenheim Foundation – along with the State Department, the Fund for Artists at International Festivals and Exhibitions, the US Information Agency, and private sponsors and individuals – help fund and organize the exhibition.

What seems more likely than an active attempt to do away with the American pavilion is that the White House’s shambolic state is to blame. Pompeo is already Trump’s second Secretary of State and has only been in office since mid-March, Rex Tillerson having departed after only 13 months (during the time that the US typically nominates their artist). The US still has over 30 countries to which they’ve still yet to name an ambassador. What the delay in announcing an American artist for Venice does suggest is that the US, under Trump, no longer takes its global leadership seriously, especially in socio-cultural affairs. Symbolically, this can be viewed as another regression, another step towards isolationism in a world that views globalization as progress. But it’s also largely a testament to the chaos plaguing the White House.

The delay in announcing an artist for Venice also doesn’t augur well for American federal arts funding, and the biennale tends to be a chance for both promoting relatively under-known artists as well as codifying the genius of well-known artists, as when Félix González-Torres was posthumously given the pavilion in 2007 (he died in 1996). But international exhibitions of this nature tend also to be loci of political debate. Pablo Picasso painted Guernica (1937), about the fascist bombing of the eponymous Basque town during the Spanish Civil War, for the Spanish Pavilion at the 1937 International Exposition of Art and Technology in Modern Life in Paris. At the 1990 Venice Biennale, the American AIDS activist group Gran Fury created a set of provocative posters about the Catholic Church’s stance on contraception and sex, directly connecting it to death and suffering in a move that helped significantly alter the public’s views on the issue. And at the 1970 Venice Biennale, 24 of the 47 artists chosen for a group lithograph show at the American Pavilion, publically withdrew as a boycott against the wars in Vietnam and Cambodia, including Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, and Andy Warhol.


The US’s Delay in Naming an Artist for the Venice Biennale Suggests a Country Contented with Seclusion - 美国Delay在《威尼斯双年展》中命名艺术家,暗示一个满足隐居的国家。

Sarah Sze, Triple Point, 2013, installation view, US Pavilion at Venice Biennale, Courtesy: Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York

Art is a political battleground. The Central Intelligence Agency flooded money towards abstract artists like Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock during the Cold War to show that America – and the capitalist framework – had far greater creativity than the USSR and communism. Even right now, in Germany, far-right parties are attempting to institute new cultural agendas to change the country’s perception of its past. (Last year, one of the leaders of the far-right Alternative for Germany party Björn Höcke, according to The Financial Times, ‘called for a ‘180-degree revolution’ in this culture of remembrance, and attacked the memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe in the centre of Berlin.’) Cultural festivals that are as high profile as the Venice Biennale are chances for serious and lasting political criticism in a world deluged by ‘both sides’ rhetoric, in which it is increasingly difficult to make a resounding statement of political belief.

The theme of the upcoming biennale is ‘May You Live in Interesting Times,’ a quote from a speech by a British MP in the 1930s named Austen Chamberlain, citing ‘a Chinese curse’ (though in all likelihood, a Western construct). The biennale is largely about global turmoil and ‘post-truth’ politics. ‘At a moment when the digital dissemination of fake news and ‘alternative facts’ is corroding political discourse and the trust on which it depends,’ said the director of London’s Hayward Gallery, Ralph Rugoff, who will be curating the biennale, ‘it is worth pausing whenever possible to reassess our terms of reference.’

Perhaps Trump is attempting to undermine a global-scale opportunity to criticize the US and his political efforts; but, for now, the more likely explanation seems to be that America is run by a shoddy, disorganized administration – a White House and a State Department that can barely hold on to and name its personnel, let alone begin to think about international art festivals. What it especially shows is that the US is no longer a country that leads; it is, instead, contented with seclusion and narrow domestic concerns. But, for now, we wait. Everyone knows that to compare this administration to any of the past is a fool’s pursuit – the US pavilion is not so much late as on Trump time, a frightening prospect in its own right.

US pavilion entrance, Venice Biennale, 2007. Courtesy: Getty Images; photograph: Elisabetta Villa

Cody Delistraty

Cody Delistraty is a writer and critic based in Paris, France.

Cody Delistraty
US Pavilion
Venice Biennale
Donald Trump
Art and Politics

意见27美国2018 Delay为威尼斯双年展命名艺术家建议一个满足隐居的国家TrPoP的国务院在宣布其国家馆晚了3个多月,证明了混乱的吞没。在Cody Delistraty的最后一次威尼斯双年展中,在2017,即使在Brexit和美国总统唐纳德·特朗普的选举之后,世界动荡的政治似乎遥不可及。在接受纽约时报采访时,展览馆长Christine Macel说:“我对政治很感兴趣……但不是所有的艺术都应该是关于政治的。”这是唯一的一个维度。“中央馆”用Mrand StLimovii的照片系列作品《艺术家在工作》(1978)开篇,其中后期克罗地亚的概念主义者躺在床上,疲倦、沉睡或做梦。一位评论者指出,这似乎意味着麦凯尔对世界各地正在发生的政治变化感到焦虑。对于即将到来的2019双年展,美国最晚命名一位艺术家的国家馆。在过去的三个版本中,美国艺术家在四月宣布(Mark Bradford在2017,Joan Jonas在2015)或二月(萨拉·斯茨在2013)的前一年。当我们接近8月,现在还没有一个美国艺术家的话,一些人认为它需要关心,讽刺地,而不是。在Twitter和Instagram上,评论家Jerry Saltz写道:“King Turd和特朗普国务院在威尼斯双年展上为美国馆入口提供了David H. Koch的地名。”艺术家Justin Lieberman开始了一个网上的请愿书,带有讽刺意味的是,美国选择了爱国主义、亲王者现实主义画家Jon McNaughton。麻省理工学院列表视觉艺术中心主任(2015美国馆馆长兼馆长)Paul Ha在一篇关于推迟宣布美国艺术家的报道中,不约而同地评论道:“对于本届政府来说,谁想取消NEA和NEH,这并不是一个巨大的惊喜。花了这么长时间……我希望它仍然会发生。[我]不愿成为一个没有在吉尔迪尼代表的国家。但是美国真的这么晚吗?还有什么值得担心的吗?到目前为止,只有25个国家宣布了他们的艺术家。去年有超过80人参加,我们预计今年也会有类似的投票率——日本、希腊、韩国、中国、丹麦和捷克共和国,只有少数人还没有公布他们的艺人。美国在今年年底之前没有正式宣布他们的义务。美国还没有宣布,这是非常罕见的,因为他们通常是第一个。但特朗普和他领导的国务院也不太可能在威尼斯双年展上积极地试图破坏美国馆。6067.JPG The US’s Delay in Naming an Artist for the Venice Biennale Suggests a Country Contented with Seclusion - 美国Delay在《威尼斯双年展》中命名艺术家,暗示一个满足隐居的国家。 Mark Bradford,明天是另一天,2017,安装视图,美国馆在威尼斯双年展。礼貌:艺术家和豪泽和Wirth;照片:Joshua White每一个国家都有一个独特的过程,为国家馆在威尼斯选择。美国,在过去,通常有策展人,主要代表博物馆,提出可行的艺术家的建议,国务院教育和文化事务局。然后国务院选择一个委托机构,通常是一个博物馆,然后再选择艺术家。在去年布拉德福德的情况下,国务院选择了在布兰迪斯大学举办的玫瑰艺术博物馆。所罗门R古根海姆基金会在技术上拥有美国馆的建筑和佩吉古根海姆基金会——连同国务院、国际节日艺术展基金、美国信息局和私人赞助商和个人——帮助基金。组织展览会。相比于积极尝试废除美国馆的可能性更大的是,白宫的混乱状态应该受到谴责。Pompeo已经是特朗普的第二任国务卿,从3月中旬开始执政以来,Rex Tillerson仅在13个月后就离开了美国(在这段时间里,英国人通常提名他们的艺术家)。美国仍有超过30个国家至今仍未任命大使。宣布美国艺术家对威尼斯的拖延意味着,在特朗普的领导下,美国不再认真对待其全球领导权,尤其是在社会文化事务方面。象征性地,这可以看作是另一个回归,这是一个将全球化视为进步的世界走向孤立主义的又一步。但这也很大程度上证明了困扰白宫的混乱局面。宣布威尼斯艺术家的延迟也不利于美国联邦艺术基金,双年展往往是一个机会,既促进相对知名的艺术家,也编纂著名艺术家的天才,正如费利克斯冈萨雷斯托雷斯死后G。2007年,他在亭(1996去世)。但这种性质的国际展览也往往是政治辩论的主题。巴勃罗·鲁伊斯·毕加索描绘了格尔尼卡(1937),讲述了西班牙内战期间巴斯克城同名的法西斯轰炸,为1937届巴黎现代艺术与技术国际博览会西班牙馆举行的轰炸。在1990届威尼斯双年展上,美国爱滋病活动组织GrangFury创造了一套关于天主教教堂在避孕和性方面的挑衅性海报,直接把它与死亡和痛苦联系起来,这一举动极大地改变了公众对这个问题的看法。在1970届威尼斯双年展中,47位艺术家在美国馆挑选了一组集体石版画,其中24位公开抵制抵制越南和柬埔寨的战争,包括罗伊·利希滕斯坦、罗伯特·劳森伯格和安迪·沃霍尔。SS3TrPoPosiPotoultxPululs0.33CAP0.JPG.ftoo.rPUP1.JPG The US’s Delay in Naming an Artist for the Venice Biennale Suggests a Country Contented with Seclusion - 美国Delay在《威尼斯双年展》中命名艺术家,暗示一个满足隐居的国家。萨拉·斯茨,三点,2013,安装视图,美国馆在威尼斯双年展,礼貌:Taya Boakdar画廊,纽约艺术是一个政治战场。中央情报局在冷战期间向威廉·德·库宁和Jackson Pollock等抽象艺术家大量涌入资金,表明美国和资本主义框架比USSR和共产主义具有更大的创造力。就在现在,在德国,极右翼政党正试图制定新的文化议程,以改变该国对其过去的看法。(去年,根据英国《金融时报》),德国右翼政党BJ Orrn HocCKE的领导人之一,呼吁在这一记忆文化中进行“180度革命”,并袭击了在柏林市中心被谋杀的犹太人的纪念碑。与威尼斯双年展一样引人注目的是,在一个被“两面派修辞”所淹没的世界里,严肃而持久的政治批评是可能的,其中越来越难做出一个响亮的政治信仰声明。即将到来的双年展的主题是“愿你生活在一个有趣的时代”,一位英国议员在20世纪30年代的一个演讲中引用了奥斯丁·张伯伦的话,他引用了“中国诅咒”(尽管很可能是西方的一种说法)。双年展主要是关于全球动荡和“后真相”政治。“假新闻和“另类事实”的数字传播正在侵蚀政治话语和它所依赖的信任,”伦敦海沃德美术馆馆长Ralph Rugoff说,他将尽可能地暂停这项双年展。重新评估我们的职权范围。“也许特朗普试图破坏一个全球范围的机会来批评美国和他的政治努力,但是,就目前而言,更可能的解释似乎是美国是由一个卑鄙、混乱的政府管理的——一个白宫和一个国家。几乎无法容纳和命名其人员的部分,更不用说开始思考国际艺术节了。它尤其表明,美国不再是一个领头的国家,相反,它满足于隐居和狭隘的国内关切。但是,现在,我们等待。每个人都知道,将这届政府与过去的任何一次进行比较都是愚蠢的追求——美国馆不像特朗普时代那么晚,这本身就是一个可怕的前景。美国馆入口,威尼斯双年展,2007。礼貌:盖蒂图片;照片:伊丽莎白别墅别墅科迪Delistaly科迪DelistaTy是一个作家和评论家总部设在法国巴黎。美国艺术馆威尼斯双年展唐纳德特朗普美国艺术与政治评论


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