Part wunderkammer, part memory palace, this year’s 55th Venice Biennale is an introspective investigation into contemporary art. Through November 24, the Biennale will dance around the Renaissance as an “Encyclopedic Palace,” a conceptual skyscraper and memory palace based on a 1955 model by Italian-born artist Marino Auriti.
With the 101st anniversary of the Titanic sinking a few months behind us, some of you may be thinking that you'd heard the last of that fated ship for a while. Think again. The passenger liner that sank in April, 1912 continues to make waves in the 21st century, and Titaniacs the world over make treks to see and experience anything related to the ship and its sinking.
Just this month, in Belfast, a tender that ferried passengers boarding the Titanic in Cherbourg, France, reopened as a museum. The S.S. Nomadic(pictured) had spent years languishing – I saw her moored across the Seine from Paris's Eiffel Tower in 1999, windows broken and a plastic palm tree ingloriously placed on the top deck. In 2006, the Northern Irish city of Belfast purchased the Nomadic and transported it back to the Irish port where it was built in 1911. The ship, fully restored, now resides in Belfast’s new Titanic Quarter, a massive new development built on former docklands.
Q: What is the allure of the art sales? A: First, admission to the previews at the auction houses is free, and second, although the viewings take place during five to eight days, they often offer the only opportunity to see works that have been in private collections and likely little exhibited. Depending on the purchaser they may never be lent for public exhibition. So this could be your once-in-a-lifetime chance to see that rare Picasso, just as it is for the collectors, gallery owners, and museum directors.
The much-anticipated Festival degli Scrittori (Festival of Writers) begins tomorrow in Florence, Italy. Now in its third year, the highly praised literary event is the city’s hot ticket this week—and arguably this year.
From June 12–14, 2013, the international culturatti and the intellectually curious will mingle in the heart of old Firenze with some of today’s top authors, translators, critics, and boldface names—all with the high-minded ghosts of the Rennaissance, fittingly, looking on.
Dreamed up by Baronessa Beatrice Monti della Corte, widow of the writer Gregor von Rezzori and founder of the Santa Maddalena Foundation writers’ retreat, the Festival aims to promote and celebrate international literature and the nuanced talents of translation. And this year's line-up promises to be animated—Pulitzer prize-winners Jennifer Egan and Michael Cunningham in conversation; lectures with titles like “Reading and Translating Virgil in the era of Facebook”; even a recital by Jeremy Irons.
One hundred years ago on May 29, 1913, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring exploded onto the European scene in a celebrated, riotous premiere at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris. Ever since, dance companies have taken up the challenge to stage a work that captures the power and the sweep of Stravinsky’s revolutionary masterpiece.
On the day of the centennial anniversary, May 29, 2013, the Richmond Ballet, as part of the Virginia Arts Festival, presents the Rite, in Salvatore Aiello’s sensual staging. While in Paris, the Mariinsky Ballet returns to the scene of the crime, the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, with a reconstruction of the imagined, original production, choreography and décor newly realized by Millicent Hodson and Kenneth Archer.
Every four years, 30 of the most talented musicians from around the world arrive in Fort Worth, Texas to participate in the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, May 24-June 9. The young pianists, whose ages range from 19 to 30 and hail from Russia, Poland, Italy, Chile, China, and the U.S., among other countries, are gifted, of course, armed with prodigious technique, and musical personalities that belie their years. They also possess the energy of thoroughbreds.
Three ways to get your New England fix, whether you have a few hours or a whole day.
The Sanctuary: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Dodging the hum of the city is a pleasure at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum(pictured), a 1902 Venetian-style palazzo with a glass-and-steel addition by Renzo Piano. The 2,500-strong collection includes masterworks by Titian, Michelangelo, and Matisse, but the real showstopper is the transportive inner courtyard, with its classical statues and abundance of summery bellflowers and hydrangeas. Stop in on a Sunday afternoon, when you can catch a chamber music concert in the museum’s new Calderwood Hall.
What did you learn about that profession? “They work like characters on CSI: hunting for dirt with white gloves, testing the temperature of room-service coffee, ensuring that the time is synced on TV and radio. Only at the end of the journey can they reveal their true identity.”
Do you have any travel essentials? “My Rolex, set to the time in Rome. It’s been with me since I was fifteen.”
The newest franchise of the influential—and see-and-be-seen—fair, Art Basel Hong Kong (May 23–26) marries the banking bling of Switzerland with the balmy weather of Miami. Here, where to mingle with the artists and A-listers.
The Gallery:New York’s venerable Lehmann Maupin just opened a Rem Koolhaas–designed space in the historic Pedder Building.
The Restaurant: Book a table at Duddell’s (852/2525-9191), the much-anticipated arts club that’s opening in Central during the fair.
The Museum: On the site of the future museum M+, in Kowloon, check out an exhibit of large-scale inflatable sculptures.
The Neighborhood: The gritty Wong Chuk Hang area is home to alternative art spaces such as Spring Workshop.