June 21, 2009

City as Frame

Daniel Birnbaum, the curator of the 53rd Venice Biennale, took its title — “Making Worlds” — from the American philosopher Nelson Goodman, who proposed replacing the slippery question “What is art?” with the question “When is art?” During the biennale, still arguably the world’s most important international exhibition, the answer is: always, constantly, art without interval. And Venice itself — that “repository of consolations,” as Henry James called it — becomes the glorious frame. RANDY KENNEDY

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