Artist and curators refuse to open Israel pavilion at Venice Biennale until cease-fire, hostage deal

(16 Apr 2024)
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Venice, Italy – 16 April 2024
1. Wide of entrance to central pavilion at the Venice Biennale
2. Tilt down of Israel pavilion which is closed
3. Close of sign on Israel pavilion
4. Various of poster in window of Israel pavilion reading (English) “The artist and curators of the Israel pavilion will open the exhibition when a ceasefire and hostage release agreement is reached.”
SOUNDBITE (English) Adriano Pedrosa, main curator, Venice Biennale ++PART OVERLAID WITH SHOTS 3 AND 4+++
"It’s not Israel’s decision, it’s the curator’s decision and the artist’s decision. And I think it’s a very courageous decision. And I respect it, of course, enormously. It’s their own decision. And I think it’s a very wise decision."
STORYLINE:
Art lovers have descended on Venice for this year’s biennale.
Every year the floating city welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors to an event that first began in 1895.
This is the 60th edition, and 88 nations have brought their best artists to show the world what they can do.
But one country’s pavilion looks unlikely to be opening its doors.
Artist Ruth Patir and the curators have announced that the Israel exhibition will remain closed until there’s a ceasefire in Gaza and the hostages are released.
“The art can wait, but the women, children and people living through hell cannot,” they said in a statement.
Adriano Pedrosa, who is the festival’s main curator, praised the gesture.
“I think it’s a very courageous decision. And I respect it, of course, enormously. It’s their own decision. And I think it’s a very wise decision," he said.
Even before the preview, thousands of artists, curators and critics had signed an open letter calling on the Biennale to exclude the Israeli national pavilion from this year’s show to protest Israel’s war in Gaza. Those opposed to Israel’s presence had also vowed to protest on-site.
Italy’s culture minister had firmly backed Israel’s participation, and the fair was opening amid unusually heightened security.

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Author: admin