Venice Biennale, The Encyclopedic Palace highlights

The Encyclopedic Palace had some really great works and I did appreciate that the approach was to integrate “outsider art”, craft, forgotten artists, and other peripheral creators into the world of fine art.  But I am not sure how sincere this effort is as it basically elevates certain chosen things to fine art rather than accept that fine art is not so different from other creative acts.  It is basically the approach that the early modernists took with African art, turning objects with a social function into artistic works to be admired for their aesthetic.  Let alone that the vast majority of the works in this encyclopedic exhibition are by European artists….But the attempt is appreciated…This approach was somewhat touched upon in the Paris Triennial, which integrated ethnography and anthropological work in its survey.

Oliver Croy – the work is Peter Fritz’s, an insurance salesman.  The question of why this work is under the name of Oliver Croy is for appropriation experts and art theorists.  I’m not theorist enough to agree…

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Morton Bartlett – Chicago artist who made creepy dolls in suggestive poses.

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Evgenij Koslov – A large series of drawings of the 15 year old Evgenijs’s sexual phantasies.  These works, despite being graphic, were also very funny and definitely surreal.  Is this what I should anticipate of my boys?…

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Kohei Yoshiyuki – a series of photographs of sexual voyeurs paying to watch a couple have sex in the park.

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Shinro Ohtake – notebooks and artist books with amazing collage and sculptural elements – fascinating!

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Fischli/Weiss – large series of clay sculptures – extremely funny and witty stuff!

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Tino Seghal – un-announced performance in the first room of the exhibition.

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Yüksel Arslan – Turkish surrealism.  Extremely interesting and weird stuff!

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R. Crumb – The Book of Genesis comic.  Impressive and literal….Literally the entire Book of Genesis!

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Pawel Althamer – what can I say?  Kitchy, impressive, disturbing, etc.  All in one…

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Herbert List – Surrealist photographer and an important influence on modern photography. 

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Carol Rama – one of my favorite “outsiders” – amazing life and work. Was also in the Paris Triennial

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Sergey Zarva – A contemporary twist of “A Portrait of Dorian Grey” as applied to the soviet human model.

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Papa Ibra Tall – one of the very few African artists.  Amazing paintings and tapestries of the Négritude movement.

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Norbert Ghisoland – freaky portraits of normal people in the photo studio of the artist in Belgium.

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Dieter Roth – fun and visually engaging…

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