Biennale Blues

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Today’s recommended reading — a shrewd and funny takedown of the whole dreary notion of artworld biennials by New York magazine critic Jerry Saltz.

Having spent a week blogging from Venice, I know where he’s coming from, especially when he talks about the frenzy of press preview days, with long lines to enter the most anticipated pavilions, which were sometimes the biggest duds. (On preview days there was up to an hour wait to enter the Isa Genzken installation at the German pavilion, a show so weak I didn’t even both to post about it.) With that in mind, I timed my own trip to allow two days of revisiting the Biennale venues in peace after the media days were over, especially to revisit shows that had looked weakest to me on my first time through, like Genzken’s and Tracey Emin’s. I wanted to be sure they still looked that bad when I wasn’t being jostled by a mob. They did, but at least I could say so now with a clear conscience.