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[Nettime-ro] Flash Art Newsletter
Flash Art on Wed, 23 Jul 2003 11:17:42 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-ro] Flash Art Newsletter

Title: Untitled Document


"Much better than the Venice Biennale"
(Donald and Mera Rubell, American collectors and talent scouts)
That's what Donald and Mera Rubell, two famous American collectors, tireless journeymen, and acute observers of art, have said when they visited the opening of the Prague Biennale.
This is also the opinion of two other famous collectors, the Swiss Jean Chatelus and the French Mr. Petignat, who were admired and curious as were all the other artists, dealers, and art professionals that paid a visit to Prague. Like the two famous Israeli "lawyers" and art globe-trotters Joshua Gessel and Yoel Kremin. And then the public, the large local and international public never seen before in Prague for a contemporary art exhibition.
The half-hearted and skeptical are those who didn't see the Biennale and the very well documented catalogue or those who do not understand how to organize a big exhibition of today's art.
Are the half-hearted and skeptical those artists that saw their gigantic projects on a 70-meter wall reduced to leave room for the others? Some reversed photo in the catalogue? Some wrong caption? Some curator and artist mumbling because they were unhappy with the place or with equipment taken away by one of their colleagues? I think all this is part of everyday life, of the unexpected and the necessity to know how to protect your work and territory from other people's arrogance and abuses.

A great art biennial is also a laboratory of life
A great Biennale is also a part of life, with all the positive and negative aspects, with high examples of generosity and devotion but also with bursts of egoism, narcissism, egocentrism, and abuse. The same kind you meet in everyday life, because the territory of new and experimental art is a borderline. Why don't you understand this, dear Jens Hoffmann (or some other curator who didn't come to Prague), why do you prefer to judge a great challenge from the gossips of some mediocre, unhappy defeated? What counts in a big exhibition are the final results, the global outcome, the interest it stirred up between the participants and experts, and the quantity and quality of the works above all. All the rest, the little incomprehensions and physical dysfunctions, are details; they are within the norm.

Who dares to criticize us?
So in the end, despite some serious difficulties, the Prague Biennale is garnering a lot of attention and success with no historical precedents. In Prague you could actually see 230 artists with beautiful, interesting, disconcerting, or modest works as well as the 30 projects of 30 curators, some of them intentionally disguised within the context of the exhibition, others gathered together as a statement to indicate a poetry, an idea, a group. But it's an exhibition to discover, to look at with calm and humility.
The Prague Biennale aims to be a signal of how to do a big exhibition with a modest budget (less than 100,000 euros or dollars that we mostly used to cover the shipping expenses. The U.S. project of Lauri Firstenberg alone absorbed half of the budget). We managed to accommodate most of the people at the National Gallery in the three to four days of the installation. And we also managed to accommodate over 50 people from every part of the world, young and old, not involved with the show (Thanks again Alberto Di Stefano, Italian Institute in Prague, Hotel Duo, and Art Hotel for your generosity). And they dare to criticize us?

The Prague Biennale catalogue is online
Yes, the Prague Biennale catalogue is online. You can see it at http://www.praguebiennale.org
Let us know what you think. Thank you.

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