Last updated: 11:37 AM ET, Thu May 07 2015

Venice Biennale Gets Brilliant Documentary Treatment

Entertainment | Gabe Zaldivar | May 07, 2015

Venice Biennale Gets Brilliant Documentary Treatment

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

An odd year means a very extraordinary thing happens in Venice.

It’s time once again for the famed Venice Biennale, which is an art exhibition that in some ways is like an expressive artistic showing from all corners of the globe akin to the Olympic movement.

Some of you are well acquainted with the event and some have never heard of it before. Some, the very fortunate of you, will be headed to see the 2015 iteration that begins in earnest on May 9.

For those not familiar with the months-long event, or if you just want an reminder of the wide swath of cultural significance it has had through the years, there is a remarkable documentary floating around on Vimeo at the moment (h/t Digg).

Uploaded by Artsy, “Behind the Biennale: A Short History of the World’s Most Important Art Exhibition” is a quick jaunt through an otherwise winding and excruciatingly long history for the event.

Director Oscar Boyson, however, never lingers. Instead the subject is shown in a vigorous and highly captivating manner, mandating you pause a few times just to consider how many artists came to the exhibition.

Here is that brief romp through time (Video contains some NSFW language and images):

The Vimeo page explains that producers began with a very simple question: “What would the world be like without the Venice Biennale? A chorus of art-world insiders and Venice locals respond with insights and stories, helping us navigate the cultural influence of this somewhat enigmatic, 120-year-old tradition.”

From there were are whisked away through time and space to see some exotic and polarizing works.

We never really get an answer, but that’s because the institution, to some extent, has been a part of the Venice area for over 100 years and continues to grow.

There is a great deal more history divulged at the official website, which offers the following brief snapshot: “The history of the Venice Biennale dates back from 1895, when the first International Art Exhibition was organized. In the 1930s new festivals were born: Music, Cinema, and Theatre (the Venice Film Festival in 1932 was the first film festival ever organized). In 1980 the first Intl. Architecture Exhibition took place, and in 1999 Dance made its debut at the Venice Biennale.”

Countries have been added and sites outside the Giardini are increasingly utilized, illustrating the continued success of the time honored tradition.

Here’s to another 100 years of provocative art and international participation.

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