History of the Venice Biennale

Founded in 1895, the Venice Biennale is the oldest and most widely recognized cultural event in the world of contemporary art and remains the only international visual arts exhibition to which Canada sends official national representation.

The International Art Exhibition usually runs from June to November in alternating years. While the Biennale’s roots are in the visual arts, it has expanded its scope to encompass theatre, music, dance, film and, more recently, architecture.

In 2011, 84 countries participated in the Biennale’s 54th International Art Exhibition, which drew more than 440,000 visitors – an increase of 18% from 2009. The opening weeks of the exhibition see the “who’s who” of the art world assemble in Venice. Artists, museum directors, curators, galleries, collectors and journalists from the most influential global newspapers, magazines, television and the internet are drawn to the Biennale to take the pulse of international contemporary art and see the most important artists practicing in the world today.

The location of the Biennale in an eternally fascinating city adds to its prestige. Although the Biennale visual arts events are primarily centered in the national pavilions and buildings of the historic Giardini di Castello, in recent years the exhibition site has expanded to include installations throughout the massive
ancient structures of the great Venetian shipyards (the Arsenale) and many other associated events throughout Venice.

In 2013, the 55th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale will be directed by Massimiliano Gioni (Busto Arsizio, 1973), critic and contemporary art curator. Over 80 countries will showcase official entries.

For more information visit: www.labiennale.org