There is no grander gathering of contemporary art works in the world than at the Venice Art Biennale, this year in its 57th incarnation, which began in 1895. Between the leafy serenity of the Giardini, with its eclectic array of temples to national pride, and the L-shaped Arsenale (a 700-year-old munitions complex refitted as a freight-train-long hall of interlocking exhibits), the Biennale is the coveted stage for the most internationally diverse metalogue of high-ranking artistic voices to be found anywhere. The magical setting of Venezia itself, its overripe palazzi brimming with art and a marathon-partying art-world demimonde, makes the pilgrimage always worthwhile, no matter how controversial or blah the menu from year to year. Each edition, which runs from May until November of odd-numbered years, has its own ringmaster who orchestrates a central overarching exhibition that begins in the main Biennale pavilion and spills into the Arsenale’s longest leg.
Curator Christine Macel has been the Chief Curator at the Musée national d'art moderne — Centre Pompidou in Paris since 2000, and was the curator of the French Pavilion at the Biennale Arte 2013 and the Belgian Pavilion at the Biennale Arte 2007. Michael Kurcfeld spoke to Macel, the curator of this year's Biennale Exhibition, entitled "Viva Arte Viva."