The Venice Biennale is often referred to as the "Olympics" of the art world and there are many reasons this is true! It is very expensive to exhibit at and NOT one penny is paid for by the Biennale. Everything must come from the artist, the supporting foundation, and the artists benefactors. Luckily I have a great group of collectors who really stepped up to the bat to help me raise the initial costs.
I was approached in early 2018 about possibly doing an exhibition during the Biennale. My first goal was a foundation and a curator to write the curatorial statement in a way that the Biennale committee would notice. I asked an old friend who is an important curator and academic in NY to write the statement for the Biennale. With a deadline approaching we went about putting ideas and thoughts on paper. What was relevant in the way I paint to the theme of the 58th Biennale, "May You Live in Interesting Times"?
We landed on the idea of Modern Apostles which eventually became "Influencers and Thought-provokers". These are people that have great influence in our world and can start a war, destroy a company, or create a best selling author with a tweet!
My curator had some issues that took president so I had to start looking once again to pick up where she had left off. I was introduced to Priscialla Fraser who is the director of the MAK Center for Art & Architecture. We clicked immediately and she agreed to write the statement and to process all the paperwork to get us accepted. This was August of 2018.
The application for the Biennale requires a curatorial statement, essays on me as the artist, the supporting foundation, the curator and tons of paperwork. It has to be approved by the director, Ralph Rugoff and is then sent before both the selection committee and the board. Its a lengthy process and we did not get the approval letter until December 26!! We were now officially one of the 21 collateral exhibitions approved by the Biennale as part of the overall program.
The Pollock Krasner Foundation agreed to support the exhibition and became my biggest financial contributor! Part of their support was also awarding me the Prize for Creativity, a special award given in honor of Lee Krasner. I am only the 3rd artist to have received this. What a huge honor! BTW, the Pollock is the most amazing group of people you can ever hope to work with!
More to come about logistics, press, costs, etc... So much to tell!
Todd Williamson artist.