Closing The Venice 59th International Art Exhibition

    The 59th International Art Exhibition

    The 59th International Art Exhibition, “The Milk of Dreams,” curated by Cecilia Alemani and produced by the Venice Biennale, concluded on November 27, 2022. This year, the exhibition achieved a record-breaking attendance, with over 800,000 tickets sold, plus 22,498 attendees during the Pre-opening. Visitors marked a 35% increase over 197 days of opening compared to the 173 days of the 2019 edition. Even considering the longer duration of the exhibition, the increase is substantial, especially considering travel restrictions imposed by the pandemic, making it the highest attendance in the 127-year history of the Venice Biennale.

    Roberto Cicutto on the Exhibition’s Success

    President Cicutto commented on the results:

    “This edition’s remarkable public success, despite the low attendance of visitors from the Asian area and the high attention from Italian and international press, emphasized La Biennale’s commitment to ensuring the presence of Ukrainian artists by supporting the realization of the Ukraine Pavilion and providing a free space at the Giardini – “Piazza Ucraina” – for the presentation of works in any format (digitally transmitted) from artists remaining in their country, often directly involved in resisting the Russian aggression. I also wish to highlight the Curator’s great determination and ability to create such an important and rich exhibition despite the limitations imposed by the two worst years of the pandemic. My thanks go to the Board of Directors for sharing and continuing to support all the Foundation’s choices. Thanks also to all the great professionals of La Biennale who applied themselves with great dedication to the realization and management of the Exhibition.”

    Cecilia Alemani’s Reflections

    Curator Cecilia Alemani stated:

    “As ‘The Milk of Dreams’ closes after seven months, I want to thank all participating artists for contributing to this exhibition with wonderful artworks and the passion and enthusiasm that have fueled me and the entire institution over the last two years. It’s been a long journey through a pandemic, a cruel war, and a collective sense of uncertainty. Organizing this exhibition under such circumstances was a grand adventure, fraught with obstacles and complications. This exhibition was conceived remotely, with hundreds of studio visits conducted via Zoom with artists from around the world. Few artists could come to see the exhibition spaces. No one knew if the works would arrive in Venice on time. Although things now seem to have returned to some normality, we all know it has been an extraordinary period, and it took more than two years to reach this point. The fact that this exhibition opened on time in April is somewhat miraculous. The Biennale team worked under extremely complicated conditions, and this appearance of normality was achieved through gigantic efforts in a unique historical conjuncture that lends the international character of the Biennale a sense of necessity and fundamental responsibility. For this, I am very grateful to President Roberto Cicutto, my curatorial team, and the entire Biennale team who thought up solutions and solved problems with the creativity and professionalism that have made this institution legendary. The 800,000 people who visited ‘The Milk of Dreams’ demonstrate that art has the power to create participation and that, after many months of isolation, we want to celebrate and see art in person, in a joyous and communal experience shared with many friends, families, colleagues, and art lovers. In times like these, as the history of the Venice Biennale clearly shows, art and artists can help us imagine new ways of coexisting and infinite possibilities for transformation.”

    Audience Insights

    The audience was 59% international and 41% Italian. Remarkably, young people and students accounted for 239,276 visitors, 30% of the total. Group visitors represented 14% of the overall audience.

    4,200 journalists were accredited during the pre-opening days, with 1,705 from Italian media and 2,495 international, adding to the 5,800 who accredited throughout the exhibition months, totaling 10,000 journalists from various media outlets.

    Carbon Neutrality

    La Biennale initiated a revision of all its activities according to recognized environmental sustainability principles in 2021. In 2022, it extended the achievement of “carbon neutrality” certification, gained in 2021 for the 78th International Film Art Exhibition, to all Biennale activities: the 59th International Art Exhibition, Theatre, Music, Dance Festivals, and the 79th International Film Art Exhibition, which will be announced in the coming days through a dedicated communication.

    Exhibition Numbers

    • 213 artists invited to the Exhibition
    • 58 nations of origin of the artists
    • 180 first-time participants at the Biennale
    • Over 1500 artworks

    2 Special Projects:

    • Pavilion of Applied Arts in collaboration with the Victoria and Albert Museum, London
    • Special Project Forte

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