The Arts Newspaper article on the 19th of november:
Latin America’s big biennial at risk
This year’s São Paulo Bienal shows almost no art: is this a conceptual choice or just lack of funding?
SÃO PAULO. Since it was founded in 1951, the São Paulo Bienal has been the most important international art exhibition in Latin America. But after years of corruption scandals and chronic lack of funds, the continued existence of the biennial is under threat.
The result is that the 28th edition (26 October-6 December), is less an art exhibition than a colloquy on the biennial and its future. The programme consists mainly of lectures, discussions and performances that examine the history and potential of biennial exhibitions. The intention is to lay the groundwork for life-saving reforms of the failing institution, but with only a handful of works of art on display the biennial appears to be on its deathbed.
“There is a huge question mark in the air,” says São Paulo dealer Daniel Roessler, noting that “visitor numbers from abroad have dropped substantially”. Twenty museum groups visited his gallery during the last biennial, but this year he expects only two or three. He contrasts the São Paulo Bienal with the Mercosur Biennial, founded in 1997 in Porto Alegre. “The local business community in the south of Brazil is very supportive of their local biennial,” he says, noting that Mercosur is more professionally run and is growing. “One is going up and the other is in a big crisis.”
Read whole article here.