The AN crew has departed Venice and we are now all back and preparing our next vast issue which will cover all at the Biennale that we found to be firm, commodious, and delightful, or not. There were no untoward confrontations on the flight back as we sat amidst friends in steerage including Charles Renfro, LOT/EK’s Giuseppe Lignano and Ada Tolla, Andrea Blum, Chee Pearlman, Tucker Viemeister. Laurie Beckelman, Liz Diller, Ric Scofidio, Mark Wigley and Beatriz Colomina were also on board but sat in Somewhere Else. Stay Tuned.
It is confirmed: Aaron Betsky fell into the canal. Friday, on his way to one of several august assemblages of the evening (See Guggenheim Villa, Darkside), Betsky pitched into the murky depths as he ascended the staircase of the Palazzo Polignac where Herzog & deMeuron were hosting a private dinner party. As confirmed by his sister, he was unable to answer his cell phone the next day, as rumors abounded that he went in after it. As we have also experienced a pitching sensation whenever near the water and handrails are few and far between in this fair city, we can sympathize. Later that evening, other diners noticed that Betsky’s spirits were undamped although his suit and shirt were.
Inside Palazzo Giustinian Lolin, up a narrow stone stair in a grand salon with silk walls, dim frescoes, and blue-ish gold brocade curtains, the computer monitors talk about the lives of ordinary rooms with a quiet precision that feels like a salve after days of can-you-top-this architecture installations. Read More
It seemed like a good idea at the time: After a long day looking at work and talking to folks, why not tag along with some people more glamorous than we are and head to the Dark Side Club, a nightly series of gatherings organized around the Biennale. Hard to get an invite? Cool! Starts at 11 and continues all night? We’re not as old as we look, dammit! In a fantastic palazzo that no one can seem to find? Right on! Prosecco and chocolates? Hell, yeah! Lectures to a silent and reverential crowd at midnight? Ahem… Read More
We saw many faces at the more then 600+ celebration on Friday night at the Peggy Guggenheim Museum for the celebration of the US Pavilion. Thanks to the support of Ted Hathaway and Susan Trimble of OldCastle Glass the party was a great success.
A: Pamela Puchalski…she does exist and is still in London. Great to see you Pamela.
From our roving correspondent Alex Gorlin, who was party-hopping the other night:
Among the guests at Aaron Betsky’s 50th birthday celebration on Thursday were Henry Urbach, curator of Architecture at SF MoMA, Laurie Beckelman, UCLA’s Sylvia Lavin (who was complaining to Jeff Kipnis about the mosquitoes), Susan Grant Lewin the PR Queen—she barely made the “haj” to the party—the Modern’s Barry Bergdoll with Bill Ryall, his partner, Reed Kroloff and Casey Jones. Last and certainly not least was Katherine Gustafson, the Zaha of landscape design, who appeared in a regally flowing white toga-like gown. The setting was her “Garden of Paradise” at the Arsenale, a coyly-renamed installation in the Garden of Virgins, with vegetables and flowers culminating in a swirling ridge of grassy mounds above which floated giant white ballons and what looked like the remains of a parachute. All in all, an elegant evening, although with no lights on, it was pitch black and so far away that one can only imagine half the guests, a little tipsy perhaps, falling into canals on the trek home. Read More
The Belgians avoided the politics and gravity that many of the installations are putting front and center, and their pavilion is a fantastic break. On its surface—the boxy, galvanized, and opaque surface—the project celebrates the 100th anniversary country’s first entry into a Venice Biennale. Inconveniently for them, that anniversary was last year, but feh! If you want to celebrate, don’t let the details get in the way! (We happen to share that philosophy.) Read More
US Pavilion Press Conference- Following official comments by the US State Department about culture’s dependency on private donors as “in keeping with the way that we see our society,” our own Bill Menking acknowledged that architects play a tiny role in how our world actually gets built and that this exhibition is dedicated to showing those architects who are showing the way to a new approach to infrastructure, from teaching schoolchildren how to grow their own food or entire communities to create buildings.
Sarah Palin isn’t the only one with pipelines on the brain: The Estonian installation in the Giardini recreates a section of Gazprom’s proposed Nord Stream pipeline, that would run directly from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea. Naturally, some of the Baltic countries aren’t wildly enthusiastic about this. Estonia doesn’t have a pavilion of it’s own, but that may be a good thing. The group placed a 63-meter-long yellow pipe running from the entry of the Russian pavilion:
Goes straight past the Japan pavilion (hey, geographical accuracy isn’t the point):
And spits out—you guessed it—directly in front of the imposing German pavilion: Read More