The art-world calendar has just seen its most significant reshuffle yet as a result of the lockdown era. The Venice Biennale is pushing the 59th international art exhibition to 2022 in order to accommodate the delayed 17th international architecture exhibition, “How Will We Live Together?,” originally scheduled to open this month.

That means the next Venice Biennale art exhibition will coincide with the next documenta, held every five years in Kassel, Germany and due to open in the summer of 2022. The Lyon Biennale has also rescheduled for that year.

The news comes after months of Venice-related rescheduling and uncertainty. The Biennale initially announced in March that it would push the architecture exhibition’s opening from May 23 to August 29, but keep the original closing date of November 29. Presenting that truncated exhibition proved impossible because of “the persistence of a series of objective difficulties due to the ongoing international health emergency,” wrote the biennale in their announcement of the postponement.

 

“I am deeply moved by the perseverance of all the participants during the last three months,” architecture biennale curator Hashim Sarkis said in a statement. “I hope that the new opening date will allow them first to catch their breath, and then to complete their work with the time and vigor it truly deserves. We did not plan it this way. Neither the question I asked ‘how will we live together?’ nor the wealth of ways in response to it, were meant to address the crisis they are living, but here we are.”

Hashim Sarkis, curator of the Venice Architecture Biennale, postponed from 2021 to 2022. Photo by Jacopo Salvi, courtesy La Biennale di Venezia

Hashim Sarkis, curator of the Venice Architecture Biennale, postponed from 2021 to 2022. Photo by Jacopo Salvi, courtesy La Biennale di Venezia.

 

“In the past few weeks it has become apparent that holding the Architecture Biennale this year would have dramatically compromised the event, leaving countless of nations without the representations of their pavilions and preventing hundreds of architects and thousands of viewers to participate in the exhibition,” Cecilia Alemani, the artistic director of the next Venice Biennale and curator of the High Line in New York told Artnet News.

With the extra year to prepare, “I look forward to having more time with the artists to develop ambitious new projects,” she added. “In 2022, the Art Biennale will open two days before the day in which Italy traditionally celebrates the end of World War II: I hope that the occasion will mark a new celebration of togetherness, a new sense of participation and communion that we are all very much looking forward to.”

Cecilia Alemani at the 2019 High Line Art dinner. Photo by Benjamin Lozovsky, courtesy of BFA.

Cecilia Alemani at the 2019 High Line Art dinner. Photo by Benjamin Lozovsky, courtesy of BFA.

 

The art biennale traditionally opens in May, but the new dates for 2022 are a bit earlier: April 23 through November 27. At least ten countries have already announced their national artist representatives for the exhibition.

Founded in 1895, the biannual art exhibition has been cancelled four times during its history, twice during each World War. The 2021 postponement marks a return to even years for the Biennale, which delayed its 1992 edition to 1993 to ensure the 1995 biennial would align with the exhibition’s centenary. It also held editions in both 1909 and 1910 to avoid overlapping with a major exhibition dedicated to the 50th anniversary of Italian unification in 1911.