Biennale Watch


Pryle Behrman writes in this issue about the increasingly corporate strategies biennales are adopting to guarantee publicity and audience figures. In light of this, it would seem, the Biennial Network is a new initiative set up by members of the upcoming Athens Biennial (September 10-November 18), which has begun to link cities within Europe and beyond, in an attempt to foster and share the thoughts and needs of contemporary artists, art historians, art administrators, curators, critics and writers. The 1st Athens Biennial, directed by Marieke van Hal and accompanied by the slogan 'Destroy Athens' (preconceptions about it, they mean) is already closely collaborating with the well-established Istanbul Biennial and the Lyons Biennale, in an attempt to share ideas and audiences: only polite, in that the dates of all three overlap. The network will initially instigate a series of exchanges during and after biennales, offering possibilities to train young art professionals, while also offering research trips and residencies of up to three months. According to Athens 'a new biennial opens roughly every three days'. With this in mind the Biennial Network aims to make lasting relationships from the dizzying lists of openings and events, and share observations on effects and aftermaths. The network is currently involved in working with directors and curators from the Berlin, Tirana and Liverpool Biennials and from Manifesta, among others, while also including a number of independent critics and writers, such as Rafal Niemojewski and Ursula Zeller, member of the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations. …

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