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As if the glories of its lagoons, canals and architecture weren't enough, Venice also plays host to one of Europe's premiere art exhibitions. Running from the 13th of May to the 26th of November in 2017, the biyearly Biennale Arte promotes the best in contemporary painting and sculpture with a series of events across the city.
Organized by Christine Macel, Chief Curator at the Pompidou Centre, this year's Biennale is titled "Viva Arte Viva". Its theme, in the words of Biennale president Paolo Baratta, is "encounter and dialogue" and a celebration of the role of the artist.
The main attractions are situated in two main venues: the Arsenale (Venice's historic military dockyards) and in the pavilions of the Giardini, an open space originally created for the International Exhibition of 1865. Additionally, fringe events will be springing up all around the city centre.
Of the 120 artists taking part in the central exhibition, over 100 are appearing here for the first time. They have been organized into nine thematic groups or "Trans-Pavilions" with titles such as The Dionysian Pavilion and The Pavilion of the Earth. Meanwhile, the 87 national exhibitions include newcomers such as Nigeria and Kazakhstan.
On Fridays and Saturdays there will be a series of lunchtime "open tables" in which artists and the public can meet for food, drink and "conversazione". Artists will also have the opportunity to make a short video about themselves and publish lists of their favourite books, which will be available to buy on site.
Moreover, an array of performance art events and a number of collaborative projects are due to take place in the Giardini area and its surroundings. These include an exhibition curated by Cuban artist Jorge Pardo that's sponsored by the V&A museum, and a production of Ernst Krenek's rarely seen 1934 opera "Cefalo e Procri" - with designs by French painter Philippe Parreno - at the Teatro Maliban from the 29th of September to the 7th of October.
48-hour tickets (allowing unlimited access to both main sites) cost 30 Euros (22 Euros concessions). Regular tickets (one admission to each venue) cost 25 Euros (15 Euros concessions).
Check our website for direct flights to the Biennale Arte 2017 and more ideas about what to do in Venice.