June 29, 2007 |
Felix Gonzalez-Torres, who died of AIDS-related complications at 38 in 1996, is the second American to be posthumously represented in the high-profile American pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Unfortunately, the show mostly represents a lost opportunity for any of scores of living American artists. When Robert Smithson was so honored in 1982, nine years after his untimely death at 35, the privilege was crucial to securing his international reputation.
December 16, 2003 |
The facade of Venice's luxuriant opera house, La Fenice, is again gleaming white. Inside, bare-breasted plaster nymphs once more show themselves off against a ceiling of gold leaf and a painted azure sky. The acoustics seem as rich as ever -- no microphones needed, thank you. Sunday night, nearly eight years after arsonists burned it to the ground, one of Italy's most storied theaters came back to life.
December 7, 2001 |
After more than 12 years of debate and discord, Italy approved a plan to save Venice from sinking by installing mobile barriers to protect the city from high tides. The project, approved at a Cabinet meeting, will take about eight years and $2.6 billion to complete. The barriers would be erected on the Adriatic seabed near the entrance to the Venetian lagoon. They would be raised only when high tides threaten the city.
May 27, 2001 |
The first of five blasts from the sirens atop St. Mark's bell tower and other high points in this lagoon city sounded late one night in early April, unusually late for the high tide season. The alarm woke many Venetians and tired tourists and let night owls know they would have wet feet if they didn't make it home in a couple of hours before the acqua alta--high water--flooded in. In Venice, life and the sea are inseparable.
September 11, 1999 |
The future of the International Film Festival here has been surrounded by fervent speculation, just as there is about this exquisite city itself, perched upon insecure foundations in its intricate system of canals. Venice has recently been eclipsed as an end-of-summer festival by Toronto, which is bigger, better organized and within easier reach of Hollywood. But in its 56th year, Venice has emerged leaner and meaner: Just 80 films were screened, half its 1997 total.
December 20, 1998 |
I last visited the canal-crossed city of Venice during a busy August 12 years ago, and my indelible memory is of tourists and mosquitoes swarming the city in equal numbers. Overrun by a glut of pedestrians, it seemed that Venice, which is sinking by 2 centimeters a year, would go down long before its time under the crush of trampling feet. These visions kept me from returning to the city for over a decade as I searched for quieter places to enjoy.