The first press preview day of the 57th Venice Biennale has just started to get cooking, as a first spin through the Central Pavilion in the Giardini shows. Right up front you have Sam Gilliam’s Yves Klein Blue (2015), an explosively colorful work draped along the thick white columns—bursting with its titled hue, along with orange and magenta, it’s almost a direct counterpoint to the black drapes by Oscar Murillo that hung in the same spot two years ago.
Go inside the Central Pavilion and there’s a wealth of great work, and while not too many people have access yet to take it in, oh look, there’s François Pinault, the Christie’s owner who also owns two spaces in Venice, the Punta della Dogana and the Palazzo Grassi. When I went up to ask what he thought of the show, he said, “It’s a very good show, very interesting!” And then he moved right along.
One of the cooler things here in the Central Pavilion is that front and center you step into Dawn Kasper’s The Sun, The Moon, and The Stars (2017), a continuation of a body of work that involves her setting up a roving studio space as a work, and right now she’s spinning Marianne Faithfull vinyl and chilling with people, all in the stately fresco-topped Sala Chini. Occasionally, she picks up an ax.
“I’m just noodling,” she said as I walked up, putting down the guitar.
She told me that she’s staying here for six months using the space as a studio—the longest residency she’s done yet.
“I’m really stoked,” she said, surrounded by keyboards, a drum set, maracas, tom-toms, amps, mixing boards, recorders, all that good stuff. “It’s a gift to be able to be here, an honor, really. And, like, how do I plan for six months of studio time? I brought all these different clothes. I might learn Italian.”
She put Neil Young’s Harvest on the turntable and noted that some friends were coming over later to jam.
“It’ll be kind of like, a little loose and fluid and drone-y and fun,” she said.
There are apparently going to be beatbox tournaments in the coming weeks, and an open mic night for standup comedians. Watch this space.