In the world of art, the Venice Biennale has, for over a century now, ranked as one of the most important events in the world. If you are an ambitious contemporary artist, the Venice Biennale is a must. The first international art exhibition was created in 1895. In the 1930s new festivals came into being - music, cinema and theatre were added to the list. The Venice film festival of 1932 was the first film festival ever organized. Then in 1980 the first International Architecture exhibition was launched and the latest addition in 1999 was that of Dance.
Held every 2 years the Biennale of contemporary art falls on odd years and the film festival on even years so depending on your leanings be sure to check when to visit.
The central piece of the Biennale is to be found in a park called the Giardini, where 30 permanent national pavilions house the art. Like small embassies to the contemporary art of each nation the pavilions pay tribute to their artists of the moment. Which nations have permanent pavilions is and was dictated by the international politics of the 1930s and the Cold War. As well as these pavilions, The Arsenale includes a large exhibition hall that houses a themed exhibition curated by the Biennale's director, with a new theme every Biennale.
The most interesting exhibitions are often those that are off-site, dotted around Venice in palazzos, and churches and other tucked away spaces. This is where the Biennale really makes Venice come alive for half a year every second year. Searching for hidden buildings full of unexpected art is a great way of discovering Venice and for really getting a taste of the compelling contrast of cutting edge contemporary art with a city that simply exhales artistic genius and splendor. The opening and first four days of the Venice Biennale are when the greatest fun is to be had – the partying is said to be frenetic and endless.