Philippe Parreno’s slight and almost pathetic marquee of lights over the entrance to ILLUMInazioni seems to announce it all: a Biennale in malaise, full of deflated artistic gestures and impotency. The sense of “artistic stultification” — to appropriate language used in the Biennale’s exhibition guide to describe Maurizio Cattelan’s hundreds of taxidermy pigeons that line the ceiling and rafters of the Arsenale — was pervasive.
... On the journey home, I found myself continuing to contemplate the 2011 Biennale with curiosity and intrigue. Was my overall impression a generational one? Did my memory of past biennales that had more impant reflect a sense of nostalgia not relevant to the current moment?
This is part of what I wish 'professionalism' meant in the visual arts: the ability and confidence to share professional opinions openly and thoughtfully with an interested audience. I wish it happened more.