2019 Venice Biennale

Running the Stones of Venice, for Art: Artist Thierry Geoffroy to Jog the Mind and Body at Events During Biennale

Participants in a 2007 run in New York organized by Thierry Geoffroy in conjunction with his 2007 show at MoMA PS1. Geoffroy, who sometimes goes by the name the Colonel, is second from left.


With its labyrinthine walking paths, uneven cobblestones, and hundreds of bridges, Venice is not an ideal city for running, so I was impressed last night to see a guy sprinting vigorously around the Rialto in the pouring rain. If he’s in town a few more days, I have just the art event for him.

On Thursday and Friday morning, the indefatigably colorful Danish-French artist Thierry Geoffroy is hosting “Critical Runs,” which are pretty much what they sound like—group debates that take place while participants jog. The topic on Thursday is “Is the title of the Venice Biennale arrogant?” (That title, selected by its curator, Ralph Rugoff, is “May You Live in Interesting Times.”) On Friday, the day before the show opens to the public, it’s “What are the most urgent emergencies now?”

Each starts at 9:15 a.m. near the Giardini water bus stop. Geoffroy, who’s made his name by staging (usually unauthorized) interventions in and around major international biennials, sometimes wearing a blue helmet like a United Nations peacekeeping troop, has done more than 75 of these runs in cities around the world, but his email invitation made clear that all levels of runners are welcome: “Just come as you are (easy level run),” he wrote.

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