In more prosperous times, the announcement of artists participating in the 53rd Venice Biennale, "Making Worlds," might generate a bigger buzz. (Recall the consternation that arose two years ago, when Documenta's curators resisted announcing their list in advance.) Curator Daniel Birnbaum and Venice Biennale President Paolo Baratta took to Rome, Berlin and London over this past week, revealing the details of their upcoming exhibition, in a series of press conferences that seemed to be slightly overshadowed by the  economic crisis, whose reverberations have shaken the international art market in recent months.


Concerned about the impact the Venice Biennale has on the careers and markets of participating artists, Baratta warned: "Our role is not to give advice for the immediate choices of private or public collectors, nor that of providing official stamps of approval for fashionable artists."  "Our role", he continued, highlighting the exhibition's indisputable position as the world's oldest and most important art exhibition, "is to explore with an enquiring mind, albeit with a firm eye on quality, the choices artists make, the links between artists and those that link their works with our capacity to know or perceive better the world in which we live".


Confirming initial suspicions, a number of the artists were already included in Birnbaum's recent Torino Triennale: Rosa Barba, Ulla von Brandenburg, Paul Chan, Keren Cytter, Lara Favaretto, Spencer Finch, Ceal Floyer,  Pietro Pietro Roccasalva, Tomas Saraceno, Pascale Marthine Tayou, Wolfgang Tillmans, Haegue Yang and the first half of GuytonWalker.  Others include younger artists such as Nathalie Djurberg, Miranda July, Aleksandra Mir, David Bestué, Marc Vives, and Victor Zamora, as well as more established names such as Tobias Rehberger, Philippe Parreno, Carsten Höller, and Rirkrit Tiravanija.


In contrast to the Torino Triennale, "Making Worlds" considers the legacies of prominent figures such as John Baldessari and Yoko Ono (who will receive the Golden Lion Award for Lifetime Achievement in honor of their careers) as well as Joan Jonas, Amy Simon, Pae White, Cildo Meireles and Michelangelo Pistoletto. Deceased figures include Öyvind Fahlström, Gordon Matta-Clark, Blinky Palermo, Lygia Pape and Gino de Dominicis.


[For a complete list of artists participating in the 53rd Venice Biennale, “Making Worlds,” please visit the official website. The Venice Biennale opens to the public on June 7th 2009, and will remain on view  through November 11, 2009.]