2017 Venice Biennale News

Christine Macel’s 2017 Venice Biennale Exhibition Gets a Title: ‘Viva Arte Viva’

A Glenn Ligon work in Okwui Enwezor's "All the World's Futures," at the 2015 Venice Biennale. ANDREW RUSSETH

A Glenn Ligon work in Okwui Enwezor’s “All the World’s Futures” at the 2015 Venice Biennale.


The Venice Biennale announced today that the Christine Macel-curated exhibition at the upcoming 2017 edition will be called “Viva Arte Viva.” The show, along with the rest of the 57th Venice Biennale, will open May 13.

In a release, Macel explained the title. “In a world full of conflicts and jolts, in which humanism is being seriously jeopardized, art is the most precious part of the human being,” she wrote in a statement. “It is the ideal place for reflection, individual expression, freedom and fundamental questions. It is a ‘yes’ to life, although sometimes a ‘but’ lies behind. More than ever, the role, the voice and the responsibility of the artist are crucial in the framework of contemporary debates.”

No artists have been announced for the show yet, but Macel’s statement did detail the structure of “Viva Arte Viva.” The show will “[offer] the spectator an experience, i.e. a journey, from the interiority to the infinity.” Macel, the fourth woman to direct the Venice Biennale and the chief curator of the Centre Pompidou in Paris, explains that the show will evolve through a series of pavilions—”Trans-pavilions,” as she is calling them—that are interconnected.

In addition to the “Viva Arte Viva” show, there will be a project called Unpacking My Library. Borrowing its name from a Walter Benjamin essay (as is the wont of biennial exhibitions) this project will feature a list of the artists’ favorite books. It sounds like a nice touch, given the overall scholarly tone of Macel’s statement.

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