Though the 2015 Venice Biennale closed just a few months ago, many countries are already selecting the artists who will take over their pavilions for the 2017 edition, and today the British Council, which administers the British Pavilion in Venice, announced that it has tapped sculptor Phyllida Barlow for the job.
Barlow, who is 71, has earned international renown in recent years for her large-scale installations made of wood and other scrappy materials that seem to stretch out in dense tangles, like mysterious living organisms. She has had one-person shows at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas (in 2015), Tate Britain (2014), and the New Museum in New York (2012). In 2013, she was included in the Carnegie International at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.
“It’s a massive honor,” Barlow told the Guardian earlier today, when reached about the news. “Having been that thing called a minor British artist for most of my working life, I’m now getting things beyond my wildest dreams.”
Last year Sarah Lucas repped Britain, presenting a stunning, chic exhibition at its pavilion, with bright yellow walls and characteristically outrageous, erotic sculptures of bodies and phalluses made of materials like metal plaster. Other recent British representatives at the Venice Biennale include Jeremy Deller (2013), Mike Nelson (2011), and Steve McQueen (2009).