The Italian Almanac

this would be nice in my dining room

Italian Art - June 9

The Venice "Biennale" opens this week and the whole event feels a lot like some anachronistic joke. The city that sits dripping in Renaissance decadence like some crumbling old dowager in ancestral jewels plays host to the world’s most flamboyant contemporary arts fair.

This festival is a fairground. Emotions all melt into a merry-go-round blur. You feel a bit like a spoilt baby plonked down in its playpen. Given too many bright baubles, you get tired and frustrated. If everything means something, then soon nothing means anything. You end up by chucking the whole lot of them out. Only too aware of this, the curators this year - which marks both the first co-curatorship and the first time that women have filled the position - have cut down the number of candidates by about two thirds.