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Venice Biennale 2019

© Photo: Haupt & Binder / universes.art

58th International Art Exhibition, la Biennale di Venezia

11 May - 24 November 2019
Press Preview: 8 - 10 May 2019

Title: May You Live in Interesting Times

Curator: Ralph Rugoff

List of the 79 artists



According to declarations of curator Ralph Rugoff, quoted in various media after the release of the list of artists, some key aspects of this year's Biennale are:

The Central Exhibition will feature only 79 artists - all living artists.

It will be divided into two separate shows, one at the Arsenale, and one at the Central Pavilion in the Giardini. Both "Propositions" will include all artists, exhibiting very different kinds of works.

One aspect in focus will be the "post-truth era" of our times, and how artists deal with the so-called alternative facts, creating spaces for complex thinking and multi-level discourses.

It is expected that there will be a lot of painting in this Biennale, besides of film/video, spatial and digital works.

May You Live in Interesting Times


The title of the 58th International Art Exhibition is taken from a [supposedly] Chinese saying referring to periods of uncertainty, crisis and turmoil; "interesting times," exactly as the ones we live in today.

Curator Ralph Rugoff about his concept:
"At a moment when the digital dissemination of fake news and 'alternative facts' is corroding political discourse and the trust on which it depends, it is worth pausing whenever possible to reassess our terms of reference. The 58th International Art Exhibition will not have a theme per se, but will highlight a general approach to making art and a view of art’s social function as embracing both pleasure and critical thinking. Artists who think in this manner offer alternatives to the meaning of so-called facts by suggesting other ways of connecting and contextualising them."

Curatorial statement

Golden Lion for Jimmie Durham

Jimmie Durham is the recipient of the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement of the 58th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia - May You Live In Interesting Times.

more information and photos

Jury, 58th International Art Exhibition

Stephanie Rosenthal, President of the Jury (Germany)
Director of Gropius Bau Berlin

Defne Ayas (Turkey/The Netherlands)
Curator at Large at the V-A-C Foundation in Moscow

Cristiana Collu (Italy)
General director of the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Rome

Sunjung Kim (South Korea)
President of the Gwangju Biennale Foundation

Hamza Walker (USA)
Executive Director of LAXART, Los Angeles


The International Jury will award the following official prizes:
- Golden Lion for best National Participation
- Golden Lion for best participant in the International Exhibition May You Live In Interesting Times
- Silver Lion for a promising young participant in the International Exhibition May You Live In Interesting Times

The Jury will also have the opportunity of awarding:
- one special mention to National Participations
- two special mentions to the artists in the International Exhibition May You Live In Interesting Times

more about, press release


Like for all editions since 2001, Universes in Universe will publish an extensive Special about the 58th International Art Exhibition, 2019.

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Practical information

Giardini and Arsenale, opening times:
11 May - 24 November 2019
Tue - Sun 10 am - 6 pm
Closed on Mondays - except 13 May, 2 Sept., 18 Nov.

Only Arsenale until 5 October:
Fri, Sat 10 am - 8 pm

More information, tickets, education, guided tours, access, contacts, etc.:
Info Public (pdf)
Website La Biennale di Venezia

Organizer, contact:
La Biennale di Venezia
Art and Architecture
Ca' Giustinian
San Marco 1364/A
30124 Venezia, Italy
Website | Email

Visual Art Press Office:
infoartivisive(at)labiennale.org
Tel.: +39 41 - 5218849 / 846 / 716

From press information.
Portrait Ralph Rugoff, © Photo: Andrea Avezzu, Courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia
Photo on top: © Haupt & Binder, UiU


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