Case Study:
The Venice Biennale & The Interconnected Artworld Network: 2005, 2007


History of the Venice Biennale

Venice Biennale Official website

Questions: how does the Biennale work as an institution and as a node in the international artworld?

Nationalism, global economics, and the art world

  • In an era of international markets, global flows of information and capital, professional networks and careers that cross national boundaries, multiple artist identities among national and ethnic affiliations, and a general movement away from identity politics in art and culture, how can major international art exhibitions at this level of power and influence continue to be organized by "national" exhibitions?
  • The legacy of the founding the Venice Biennale and competetion and rivalries among nations after the organization of political and institutional relations by European and American nationalism (the UN model).

Funding and artist selection process for the US:

  • Note the strange temporary alliance of government agancy (State Department), major, well-funded non-profit museum institution (The Solomon Guggenheim Foundation and the Guggenheim Museum), and private and corporate funding sources from the US.

Museum and gallery network: artists, dealers, curators

Artist: Ed Ruscha


Artist: Ed Ruscha


Linda Norden, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art, Harvard University Art Museums

Consulting Curator: Donna De Salvo

Venice Biennale, 2005:
June 12–November 6, 2005

Ed Ruscha’s Project

Ed Ruscha’s painting, almost from the outset, was tied very closely to the look and feel of a journalistic recording of found facades and signage. “I take things as I find them,” Ruscha has often remarked. “A lot of these things come from the noise of everyday life.”

Ruscha’s selection as representative of the United States for the 51st Venice Biennale is both long overdue and welcome; he has been at the cutting edge of American art for at least forty years. On the occasion of this Biennale, he has taken the United States Pavilion “as he found it,” creating an entirely new cycle of paintings, based on an earlier series of dark urban landscapes, and installing it with the Jeffersonian symmetry of the pavilion’s architecture in mind.

As in the past, Ruscha’s paintings are photographic in feel, depict an urban landscape at once familiar and remote, and manage to make mundane structures somehow monumental. But the landscape depicted here is no longer limited to Los Angeles, and the familiarity of the imagery is put to the service of something more complicated and unsettling. The new cycle of paintings, and the Venice installation, make progress, or the course of progress, their subject. Ruscha’s longstanding desire to hammer down or capture whatever is out there in a documentary manner is here subject to something more imaginary. Without forfeiting his deadpan reserve, Ruscha has opened up images we think we understand to speculation and to doubt.


A fully illustrated catalogue, with forewords by Joan Didion and Frances Stark and an essay by Commissioner Linda Norden and Consulting Curator Donna De Salvo, has been published on the occasion of the exhibition at the 51st Venice Biennale.

Project Administration
Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation

United States Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
The Broad Art Foundation
Lehman Brothers
The Ford Foundation
Hugo Boss

John and Frances Bowes
Melva Bucksbaum and Raymond Learsy
Glenn Fuhrman
Kathy and Richard S. Fuld, Jr.
Agnes Gund and Daniel Shapiro
Henry and Marie-Josée Kravis
The Leonard & Evelyn Lauder Foundation
Aimee and Robert Lehrman
Margaret and Daniel Loeb
Donald B. and Catherine C. Marron Foundation
Stavros Merjos and Honor Fraser
John and Amy Phelan
Rosina Lee Yue and Bert A. Lies, Jr., M.D.

In-kind support
Gruppo Bodino SpA, Torino; Larry Gagosian

Blue Medium, Inc.
Telephone: 1 212-675-1800
Fax: 1 212-675-1855

Further information, 2005 Biennale:



The 52nd Venice Biennale, 2007


"Venice, November 22nd, 2007, Biennale Art: 52nd International Art Exhibition:
319,332 visitors at the 52nd International Art Exhibition: best result in the past twenty-five years. The 52nd International Art Exhibition, first and last stop of the Grand Tour 2007, closed yesterday, November 21st, with an outstanding result in terms of visitors: 319,332 people attended this year’s exhibition in 165 days. This has been the most attended Biennale of the past twenty-five years and one of the most visited in the whole history of the exhibition."

Think with the senses – Feel with the mind. Art in the Present Tense, curated by Robert Storr, has been organised with the support of Antonveneta ABN AMRO, illycaffè, ACI – Automobil Club d’Italia, Fantoni, Casamania, Matteograssi, Bisazza, Decima Italia, ETC, Flex, and Link Italy. (more)

Biennale website
Artists list (official site)
| Artist's List and Info
Director, 2007: Robert Storr
118 Nations and participants
Video of US Pavilion Exhibition


Artist: Felix Gonzalez-Torres

The US Pavilion
Venice Biennale, 2007

Felix Gonzalez-Torres,

The US Pavilion Sponsorship Information, 2007

Organization and Sponsorship
The selection of Felix Gonzalez-Torres to represent the United States was the result of an open competition overseen by the Federal Advisory Committee on International Exhibitions (FACIE) and the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). A jury of museum curators and directors reviewed all submitted proposals and chose Gonzalez-Torres because of the continued significance of his work today.

The official U.S. representation at the 52nd Venice Biennale has been organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and is presented by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State.

Major sponsorship is provided by:
Glenstone Foundation; The Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation; HUGO BOSS; and The Trustees of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation

With generous support from:
The Broad Art Foundation; The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation; and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

The U.S. Pavilion is also made possible by the Felix Gonzalez-Torres Leadership Committee:
Melva Bucksbaum and Raymond Learsy; Agnes Gund and Daniel Shapiro; Steven Johnson and Walter Sudol; Jo Carole Lauder; Nancy and Bob Magoon; and Cindy and Howard Rachofsky

Additional support is provided by:
Anonymous; Anonymous donation in honor of Nancy Spector; Christina and Robert Baker; The Stephanie and Peter Brant Foundation; Eli and Edythe Broad; The Calicchio Family Foundation; Amalia Dayan and Adam Lindemann; Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz; Ellyn and Saul Dennison; Frayda and Ronald Feldman; Glenn Fuhrman; Ingvild Goetz, Goetz Collection Munich; Marieluise Hessel and Edwin Artzt; Maurice Kanbar and Isabella del Frate Rayburn; Phyllis and William Mack; Harry and Linda Macklowe; Richard J. Massey Foundation for Arts and Science; Emily Rauh Pulitzer; Jacqueline and Mortimer Sackler; Catherine Shriro; Jennifer Blei Stockman; David Teiger; and Susy and Jack Wadsworth

In-Kind support courtesy of:
Clear Channel Jolly Pubblicità; Campolonghi Italia SPA; Michael Gabellini of Gabellini Sheppard Associates; and Malcolm Swenson of Swenson Stone Consultants


Official US Announcements

Department of State (Federal Advisory Committee on International Exhibitions (FACIE), the Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA))



Search YouTube for all Venice Biennale videos

Jerry Saltz, On Curating the Biennale and "Bienniel Culture" (Artnet)
International Herald Tribune coverage

Martin Irvine, 2005-2008