Art Biennale 2019

58th International Art Exhibition - May You Live in Interesting Times

From 11 May 2019 to 24 November 2019

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The much-awaited 2019 edition of the Venice Art Biennale is set to open on Saturday 11 May! The Giardini and the Arsenale will host the 58th International Art Exhibition of Venice: exhibitions, collateral events, talks and educational activities will brighten up the exhibition venues and the entire historical center until 24 November.

Titled ‘May You Live in Interesting Times’, the Biennale of Venice 2019 aims to be a moment of encounter and debate on contemporary issues: the title, in fact, is an English expression that has been mistakenly associated, for a long time, with an ancient Chinese curse that evokes uncertainty, turmoil and crisis. In other words, difficult times, like those we are experiencing in our everyday life... In reality, the theme of the exhibition aims to make us reflect on the course of human events and take a broad look to consider them in their extreme complexity: a very important reflection, therefore, which is often excessively simplified when conformism and fear prevail.

The 58th International Art Exhibition of Venice is curated by Ralph Rugoff, a critic, essayist and independent curator. He is the current director of the Hayward Gallery in London.

Housed in the Central Pavilion at the Giardini and the Arsenale, the exhibition includes 79 artists from all over the world. The artworks presented at the Venice Art Exhibition Biennale 2019 make us reflect upon the precariousness of our existence, in particular the many threats to traditions, institutions and relations of the 'post-war' order, whilst recognizing however, at the same time, that art has no power in politics. In other words, art cannot stop nationalist movements and authoritarian governments, nor alleviate the fate of refugees from around the world. But in an indirect way, it can be a guide and offer interesting insights to help us deal with these uncertain times.

The theme of the Art Biennale in Venice 2019 is therefore not a theme per se but a way to highlight both an approach to making art and the social function of art itself, which encompasses both pleasure and critical thinking. The Art Biennale 2019 has deliberately chosen to focus on artists who question existing mind attitudes, seeking a new way of pondering objects, gestures, images and situations. Artists united by the propensity to observe reality from multiple points of view, juggling different perspective and contemplating alternative meanings to what is normally taken as facts. Their works therefore project us into a sort of parallel reality, where new points of view question our certainties.

As many as 91 National Participations will be included in the exhibition in the historic Pavilions at the Giardini, the Arsenale and in the historical center of Venice. Algeria, Ghana, Madagascar, Malaysia and Pakistan will be participating in the Venice Art Biennale for the first time, whilst the Dominican Republic is exhibiting for the first time with its own pavilion.

The Italian Pavilion, at the Tese delle Vergini in the Arsenale, will be curated by Milovan Farronato and sponsored and promoted by the Ministry of Heritage and Cultural Activities, General Directorate for Contemporary Art and Architecture and Out-of-Town Areas.

The Collateral Events, approved by the curator and promoted by non-profit organizations and institutions, will number 21: covering a wide range of contributions and participations, they will enrich the pluralism of voices that characterizes the 58th edition of the Exhibition.

Special projects

  • Forte Marghera in Mestre: Ludovica Carbotta, one of the artists exhibiting at the Art Biennale 2019, has been invited by Ralph Rugoff to present a purposely produced contribution at Forte Marghera, inside the building called Austrian Polveriera.
  • Applied Arts Pavilion at the Arms Halls of the Arsenale: Marysia Lewandowska was invited to exhibit in this important project which is running for the fourth consecutive year thanks to the collaboration with the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Biennale Sessions

The successful project dedicated to Universities, Academies and institutions operating in the fields of research and training in arts, architecture and related fields is again in the calendar of the Art Biennale in Venice. The goal is to offer help and support in the planning of three-day visits for groups of at least 50 students and teachers.


The Venice Biennale is also dedicating great attention to learning opportunities: over the last decade it has developed multiple 'Educational' activities addressed to the audience of its Exhibitions, universities and young people at all school levels. For 2019 there will be plenty on offer, from Guided Tours to Workshop Activities, addressed to individuals and groups of students, children, adults, families, professionals, companies and universities.


Biennale Arte 2019 - Venues and opening hours

11 May - 24 November 2019
Closed on Mondays (except 13 May, 2 September and 18 November)

  • Giardini from 10.00 am to 6.00 pm
  • Arsenale from 10.00 am to 6.00 pm
By Insidecom Editorial Staff