If the Venice Biennale is the Olympics of art, then the Arsenale can best be described as the marathon of art. It is held in a several mile long structure that at the peak of Venice's military power could crank out a warship in a day on what was essentially a very long assembly line.
Take that and fill it with art from around the world you get the Arsenale. This year's theme is based on an "outsider" artist, Marino Auriti's work, the Encyclopedic Palace. He immigrated to the USA from Italy after criticizing the fascist government in his home town. After many years working as an automotive repair mechanic, he spent years working on his idea of one building to house all human knowledge. He constructed his model, filed and received a patent for his design.
This work acts as the conceptual axis for the entire exhibition.
The quantity of work is simply overwhelming, so I present a montage of some of my favorites of the day. Themes of censorship and protest abound so I will pull these artists out specifically as I am putting together my curriculum at the end of my adventure.
I would be very curious to hear what you have to think about these artists and the whole idea of a building to house all of human knowledge. Please leave a comment below and I'll be sure to respond. Thanks!