Students Study Contemporary Art at the 2019 Venice Biennale

Wake Forest students have an unequaled and unique opportunity to review global contemporary artistic and curatorial practice at the Venice Biennale. This seminar, ART199 Contemporary Art and the Venice Biennale, provides an in-depth study of Venice and its leading exhibition of contemporary art. During the Biennale, artists, art historians, curators, critics, collectors, gallerists, and the public come together to engage in research, appreciation, and understanding of contemporary movements in an array of fine arts disciplines; painting, film/video, photography, sculpture, installation, performance, drawing, printmaking. Here is an overview of seminar speakers in Venice.

This seminar explores questions like: Who are the leading artists? Why are they chosen to represent their countries? What are the issues their artworks represent? What is the role of the curator? How do exhibition and curatorial decisions impact the reception of the art? What is the value(d)? How do contemporary issues in politics and global economics, society and culture come into play through an artistic lens, and further how do these issues reveal themselves at the Venice Biennale?

Furthermore, the Venice Biennale Seminar is an inclusive opportunity for any student interested in learning more about contemporary art, specifically through critical and international lenses. In the past, students from various majors and fields of study have taken the course to expand their knowledge on art, architecture, contemporary movements, global studies, etc. Two students, Julia S. and Elizabeth H. are both great examples of non-art students who wanted to engage in such a way. Julia, majoring in Spanish and minoring in Journalism and Global Trade reflected that the Venice Biennale seminar gave her the opportunity to “explore the world of curation and museums” in a unique way, because “the Biennale is the premiere event of this world [of museums and curations].” Speaking about the seminar offered on the Reynolda campus, Julia said that the “class was a great introduction to the Venice Biennale because it was so comprehensive… we studied curation, contemporary art and the Biennale itself, meaning that seasoned artists and novices alike could take a lot out of the seminar.” Elizabeth, majoring in Psychology and Computer Science and minoring in Art History, took the Biennale seminar to find an appreciation of contemporary art: “This class was the perfect opportunity to learn about contemporary art on a global stage and in an exciting environment… if I was going to judge contemporary art, I wanted to be able to do so with the ability to back up my opinions.” Speaking about her favorite assignment in the class, Elizabeth said:”

“ … one of our last classes was our final presentation day at Casa Artom. This class really stood out to me because that was when I realized just how much we had learned in such a short amount of time. The assignment was to pick out an artist from the main exhibition and make an argument for why they should have their own pavilion for the next biennale. We got to decide which country they should represent and why. I thought this was such a cool assignment because we all picked such different artists and using our knowledge from class and our experiences at the Biennale allowed us to come up with some amazing ideas for what we think the next Biennale should look like. Being able to bring together what we had studied in class in Winston and what we got to experience for ourselves at the Biennale was an incredible experience.”

This course is offered every other year, fulfills Divisional, Major and Minor credit, and will meet for the second half of the Spring semester on campus as a regular seminar, followed by two immersive weeks on-site at Casa Artom in Venice. The selection process requires an interview and permission of instructor (POI).

For more information about the Biennale Sessions 2019