Julie Ewington is an independent writer, curator and broadcaster, now living in Sydney.
Each Venice Biennale is different: this keeps us coming back every two years, for the feast-of-too-much-art, the slogging itineraries, the avalanche of brochures, the mobs of artists, gallerists, critics, poseurs and art lovers. It is gargantuan, exhausting, exasperating, occasionally even exhilarating. Here the international art world is compressed into one spotlit hothouse, plonked in an overwhelmed water-gated community with temporarily converged interests. But 2017 is even darker and more troubled than recent years. What is the role of art in the confronting situations the world faces today?
On the evidence of this year’s Biennale, contemporary art is good, bad, vulgar, humanitarian (genuine and fake), irrelevant. The inimitable serendipity makes Venice rewarding: you never know what to expect, or from whom. Venice has a peculiar set-up, with three types of exhibitions...
Nothing without context. Politics, society, culture.