Lee Klein on the Venice Biennale // A Venetian Tour in Three Parts (part 2)

Charles Ray, "Boy with Frog" (2009)

Inside the arsenale there was still time to kill—with which to spend, to tell the story and investigate Cindy Sherman’s temporary museum within a temporary museum, which the biennale's curators had bestowed upon the progenitor of the overvalued selfie. Here was Sherman's continued general journey into anti-aesthetics, choosing works by her own favorites, like Charles Ray and Paul McCarthy, thrown in with others to trudge through. This was the “same old shit” from the New York section of the exhibition.

Stopping here for too long cost this cheap air flier the pot of gold of ending another Venetian dream, while sighing over the Paul Signac of a certain rainbow cresting the Grand Canal, which was to have been seen at the Peggy Guggenheim collection in the Dorsoduro section of the city in an exhibit titled "Avant Gardes of the Fin de siècle.” But here he was with the aforementioned Venetian favorite Charles Ray's (the artist's "Boy with Frog," which had stood before the Punta della Doggana, Palazzo Grassi annex and had been commissioned by the billionaire art collector and museum founder Francois-Henri Pinnault, and had become the stuff of post cards, and which had now been plucked and boated away to make way for a period lamp post) oversized business-suited female sculptural monstrosity.

Then it was away to go into and out of the national pavilions which were in the arsenale, the giardini, and everywhere else. First was the Maldives, which turned out to have a counter show that seemed to not back the seated government commissioning the official pavilion I was going to see, while including such infamous Maldivians as Paul Miller (aka D.J. Spooky).

Here I had come to check out the art collective Wooloo's (Danish art group founded by Sixten Kai Nielsen, Martin Rosengaard and Russell Ratshin) coconuts which were to be floating past me in the canals. But by this time they must have been plucked out. The walls here were lushly painted with dark green murals of overgrowth; and a cafe in an outdoor garden was a great spot for a glass of organic red wine.