After a year-long postponement, La Biennale di Venezia, also known as the Venice Biennale, returns with a “transhistorical” exhibition that places works both new and old in dialogue with each other. Works by Akosua Adoma Owusu (Art, Film/Video MFA 08), Kaari Upson (Art BFA 04, MFA 07), and 2019 HAAIA recipient Cecilia Vicuña have been selected for the Biennale Arte 2022.
Curated by High Line art director and chief curator Cecilia Alemani, the 2022 edition is titled The Milk of Dreams, a reference to Surrealist artist Leonora Carrington’s 2017 children’s book. Alemani shared her thoughts on the show’s purpose in an official statement with La Biennale di Venezia:
During these endless months in front of the screen, I have pondered the question of what role the International Art Exhibition should play at this historical juncture, and the simplest, most sincere answer I could find is that the Biennale sums up all the things we have so sorely missed in the last two years: the freedom to meet people from all over the world, the possibility of travel, the joy of spending time together, the practice of difference, translation, incomprehension, and communion.
Owusu is a Ghanaian American filmmaker and educator based in New York. By investigating themes of feminism and interactions between disparate Black identities in her practice, she seeks to cultivate a “third cinematic space.” Her works have screened at numerous international films and festivals, and can be found in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City; Centre Pompidou, Paris; and the Fowler Museum at UCLA, Los Angeles; among others. In 2021, a selection of her award-winning short films were featured on the Criterion Channel.
Hailed by The New York Times as “one of the most significant artists to emerge from the vibrant Los Angeles art scene this century,” Upson was a sculptor and installation artist known for her exploration of family, Americana, and identity. Shortly after graduating from the Institute, Upson gained recognition with her famous The Larry Project exhibition at the Hammer Museum in 2007. More recently, the work was presented at the Biennale Arte 2019. Her work resides in the public collections of various museums, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Upson and her legacy were paid tribute by numerous CalArtian friends and colleagues upon her passing in August 2021.
Vicuña is a Chile- and New York-based poet, filmmaker, and activist and the 2019 recipient of the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts in Visual Art. The artist-poet’s childhood, upended by the 1973 Chilean coup d’état, has informed much of her politically tinged art, which addresses socioeconomic disparities and ecological destruction. She has exhibited at numerous venues throughout her career, including The Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; The Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de Santiago; The Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; Art in General in NYC; The Whitney Museum of American Art; and MoMA, and The Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Established in 1895, La Biennale di Venezia has been considered one of the world’s premier international cultural festivals. The 59th International Art Exhibition features works by 213 artists from 58 countries around the world.