Should you go to the Venice Biennale? –

After the pandemic delayed it by a year, the recently opened “Milk of Dreams” exhibition at the 59th Venice Biennale was hailed for its low-key surreal take on our troubled times. You probably already know this because friends, colleagues and faces in your streams have flocked to Italy to glamorously describe their old-fashioned exploits. Sitting at home worrying about Ukraine and monkey pox will leave you feeling great FOMO about all the gondola rides, lavish dinners, and virtuous art pavilions you have yet to experience. After daydreaming about narrow Italian canals and extra virgin olive oil, you are almost ready to buy a plane ticket. But first, take this quiz to determine if you should head to Venezia for a dairy-filled biennial blowout.

1. Your ideal art companion for the Biennale would be:

a) A gropey gondolier with a pencil mustache and a striped boat-neck shirt
b) A toothpick-chewing pickpocket with a sparkle in his eye
c) A newly exonerated Mario Batali in Crocs with Gwyneth Paltrow in tow

2. The most must-see national pavilion on your itinerary is:

a) Ukraine
b) Eataly
c) Legoland

3. To attend a high profile exhibition, it must include at least the following number of female artists in the mix:

a) 10%
b) 50%
c) 90%

4. Desiring to cancel something or someone in a biennale that hasn’t yet generated much controversy, look elsewhere by denying it:

a) Yachts owned by Oligarch on display during international sanctions
b) Paying for water in restaurants
c) The ubiquity of sacred and unholy genitals in Renaissance painting and sculpture

5. You find surrealism as a relevant strategy for contemporary art in 2022 as powerful as:

a) A massive civil spectacle to distract from the twin pandemics, the climate catastrophe and the Third World War
b) The Whitney Biennale’s domestic take on the exact same thing
c) Gluten-free pasta without nut pesto

6. While everyone is talking at dinner about a supposedly great exhibit that you didn’t like at all, try changing the conversation by asking:

a) “Can you believe what they’re asking for a copy of? Art in America these days? shee.”
b) “OMG, did you try the garlic knots at the Sbarro in the train station?”
c) “What do you think I would look like on a Vespa?”

7. As you take in Simone Leigh’s American Pavilion and see a gallery owner who once asked you for a studio visit but never followed through, you would:

a) Open a can of Piero Manzoni’s Artist shit on them
b) Shout “ugatz† while using italian hand gestures you learned from your nonna
c) Hire your Cosa Nostra friends to bring a horse head to their hotel room

8. While overhearing a conversation about Anselm Kiefer over breakfast, you would jump in by saying:

a) “The Gelato Pavilion was a lot better than I expected.”
b) “I happen to be the gallery owner of Anselm and wanted to let you know about our summer sale with a 50 percent discount.”
c) [In a deep Italian accent] “Venice would be great without all the tourists.”

9. Which of the following are you sure isn’t an Italian cocktail?

a) Bernini
b) Benign
c) Bellini

10. If you had to distill your desire to see the Biennale into one emoji, you would choose:

Difficult Choices Quiz: Should You Go?


10–16: “He eats! He eats! He eats!” This chant in a scene in Passolini’s Salò, or the 120 days of Sodom is what you imagine while also foreseeing long airport queues and perspiring crowds. You just have to stay home, microwave a Stouffer’s fettuccine Alfredo, snort a load of ketamine and browse jpegs online to get the same exhilarating experience.

17–23: While it costs thousands and takes a whole day to get to Venice, Domino’s can deliver pizza in about half an hour for under $10. Can you really afford to travel that far from home? Take stock of your cash flow and cholesterol levels before embarking on a costly adventure that may disappoint you.

24-30: Getting on a plane today isn’t more fun than it was before Covid, but you’re rested and ready to tackle the hassles of travel. It’s finally time to get off the couch and experience the art world in full bloom. After devouring plates full of scungilli in Venice, head to Art Basel for a link from Landjäger and head to the bretzels at Documenta for a summer art trifecta.

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