e-Flux ran an announcement this morning for a Palestinian pavilion to take at the Venice Biennale. The selected artists include Taysir Batniji, who is included in our show ‘First Person’, and Shadi HabibAllah, now getting his MFA at Columbia. Also in the show: Emily jacir, Jawad AL Malhi, Khalil Rabah, Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti.
In 2003, Francesco Bonami tried to include a Palestinian pavilion in the Biennale:
Not long after taking up the Venice directorship in March 2002, Mr. Bonami mentioned in a briefing to the Biennale’s board that he was considering adding a Palestinian pavilion to this year’s exhibition, which opens June 15. The next morning he woke up to find an article on the plan in Il Gazzettino, the major Venetian daily, which included criticism of it as needlessly provocative or even anti-Semitic. (Full article here)
The announcement of the 2009 version seems to have been handled much better – I don’t think there was any press about this until after the official statement was released. This is a good sign – hopefully the conversations provoked by the Palestinian pavilion will be more interesting the second time around.
UPDATE: It’s also worth noting that the organizers of Palestine c/o Venice have arranged to make presentations six Palestinian art institutions alongside the Biennale, to cater to audiences who are unable to travel or obtain visas.