City of Florence International Biennial of Contemporary ArtBiennale Internazionale dell’Arte Contemporanea

--- Città di Firenze ---

   2003    |  2001  |    1999   | directors statement   |  artestudio

   " L’arte è l’arma più efficace a disposizione del genere umano per contrastare l’incivilità e la barbarie. Laddove l’arte prende il sopravento viene sottratto spazio al ‘caos’. L’arte riporta ordine nelle coscienze malate, contrasta l’incessante avanzare della disgregazione; è un muro ora robusto ora fragile che da sempre cerca di oporsi agli istinti più deleteri della specie umana. 

    Nell’epoca dei computers, dell’energia atomica, e dei pericoli incombenti de guerre chimiche e batteriologiche, desideriamo mon perdere la speranza. L’arte deve contrastare tutto ciò esprimendo la cultura del bello, se è necessario anche, con sentimenti molto forti.  È questo un modo per esaltare la vittoria del bene sul male."  --- Pasquale  Celona,   Biennale Presidente16th century MAGNUS LAURENTIUS MEDICES medallion

    "Art is the most effective weapon mankind has to combat barbarism and atrocity. Wherever art gains the upper hand, space is taken away from ‘chaos’.  Art brings order back to unhealthy consciences, it contrasts the incessant progress of disruption, it is a wall which is at times strong and at times fragile, having always sought to oppose the most harmful instincts of human nature.

    In the age of computers and atomic energy, in the light of the perils of chemical and bacteriological warfare, we do not want to give up hope.  Art should oppose all of this, expressing the culture of beauty, even using strong sentiments where necessary. This is one way to exalt the victory of good over evil." --- Pasquale  Celona,  Biennial President

Dr John T Spike, Biennial Director Dr John T. Spike, Biennial Director   "The Florence Biennial has little in common with the prevailing model of state or corporation-funded omnibus shows. It is entirely financed by the artists themselves, who entrust the organization to us.  My responsibilities are two: to seek qualified critics for the Jury and for the Committee that selects the artists, and an equitable installation that allows the work to speak on its own. Every other year in December, the unpredictable but exciting results are seen by all of us at the same time.

   The passwords for the Florence Biennial are dialogue, encounter, tolerance and charityAbout the bitching, I have thoughts which I invite you to consider. If the Biennale is worth talking about, it's worth complaining about.  So as time goes on and thousands and thousands of artists have participated there will be complaints.

    What I regret, and resent, are the accusations of unethical behavior, specifically of financial exploitation. Some people simply do not know what things cost, so nothing will persuade them differently.  One gets used to it. But
I must respond to the accusations, because accusers like to pretend that no response means 'silent assent'!

1.  John Spike has neither time nor inclination to exploit artists.
2.  If we were to wait for some one to sponsor another biennale in addition to Venice, we'd still be waiting. 
Artists took things into their own hands.  Pasquale Celona is a recognized painter who has taken a huge chunk out of  his career to pursue this, his dream: a major international contemporary art show without prejudices.
3.  Pasquale and Piero Celona work around the clock and live simply.   They deserve whatever they earn.
4.  The Venice biennale receives $15 million from the Italian gov't, then charges rent on the pavilions, and receives sponsorship.  The Florence Biennale is at least 1/15 as interesting as Venice.
5.  A
majority of artists in the Florence biennale now receive some local sponsorship.  We are building on our success and growing recognition to reach towards a goal of near total sponsorship.  What we don't want to do is sell our independence!    I am not giving my time and effort to the FB becuase I wanted to make the Same Old Show.
The collected budget is not all spent in ten days of December -- this is the biggest, most obvious thing, the naysayers don't realize.   We have a permanent staff of five who respond to nonstop inquiries from artists in every possible language. 
7.  For the next 2 years (or 1 1/2) the biennale will be working around the clock without any income coming in.  That has to be paid for.  The $200,000 space at the Fortezza has to be reserved - with nonrefundable downpayment - a full year in advance.   These things have to be paid for.
  The shares are as low as possible, believe me!" ---   John T Spike, Biennial Director. 

   Caravaggio, John T Spike  Massacio, John T Spike  Fra Angelico, John T Spike  Fairfield Porter: An American Classic, John T Spike  is not associated officially with the Florence Biennial other than having participated in 1999 & 2001.  artestudio is the official site.

WERE YOU INVOLVED IN THE BIENNALE as a participant, know of links to other participants or do you have a comment or question about this one or about International Biennials in general?  I would love to hear from you! 

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‘ A great international rip off for the rich amateur artist: Beware!’ -- NYTimes arts forum participant

D R Ricker, PO Box 103554, Anchorage, AK  99510-3554   907-277-7446   email contact   ArtSceneAK

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