THE SOCIAL SCENE
They're out of wine. And beer. But there are Bacardi Breezers. 'The garden setting for the Ukrainian party is spectacular, the palace so stunning it makes grown men weep. Tucked away at a table in a corner is Elton John, quietly sucking on an oyster. Closer nearby, someone is saying the previous Biennale was way better, while her colleague retorts That It's always better, that's what everyone says, always. In front of me, someone is telling me how 'brave' I am to work in Iran. She smiles, shaking her head. 'So good.' I ignore the fleeting impulse to do something to her visage, something bleak and Paul McCarthyesque, but refrain, smiling sweetly at my fingernails. This morning a headline in a local daily was proclaiming, 'La Biennale all crazy!'
Venice brings out the worst in people. Friends will stand you up; colleagues will reconsider promises and principles with amazing ease, others will be watching you like you're something they've discovered in Their soup. To be fair, in Venice, I do the same, to nearly everyone I know. This is where Biennale anguish is heightened by a plethora of fringe events scrambling for Attention With Their respective palaces, and I know forever Venice has you thinking you're at the wrong place at the wrong time. There's always an art work you've overlooked. Someone is bound to say you're a cretin for missing the Hungarian Pavilion. And there's always a better party just a ferry ride away.
Tirdad Zolghadr, critic and curator