Encyclopedic Palace of the World
American Folk Art Museum
Photo by Gavin Ashworth
Auriti's granddaughter, B.G. Firmani, has written a poignant memorial about the efforts of the family to ensure that his dream did not die. From FORTE E GENTILE, a post entitled, Io Vivo! The Encyclopedic Palace Rises Again:
...But it was after my grandfather retired, in the 1950s, when he set to work on his pièce de résistance, the Encyclopedic Palace. This one wasn’t just a model, though.
It was a design for a museum, a national monument. He filled notebooks developing its concept; in his statement of purpose, in my stiff translation from his Italian, he called it “…an entirely new concept in museums, designed to hold all the works of man in whatever field, all discoveries made and those that may follow.” He wanted it built on the mall in DC – and if built at the time, at 136 stories, it would have been the tallest skyscraper in the world. With its surrounding piazza it would take up 16 city blocks. He built the model, at a scale of 1:200 meters, out of wood, brass, plastic, and tiny celluloid windows on which he drew mullions; for the tiny balustrades, he cut down hair combs. And this time, so no one could scoop him, he secured a patent for his creation.
Continue reading at FORTE E GENTILE.
Massimiliano Gioni (Busto Arsizio, 1973), the curator for the 2013 Venice Biennale Contemporary Art Festival, chose the title Il Palazzo Enciclopedico/The Encyclopedic Palace, explaining, "...on November 16, 1955 Marino Auriti filed a design with the US Patent office depicting his Palazzo Enciclopedico... Auriti's plan was never carried out, of course, but the dream of universal, all-embracing knowledge crops up throughout history, as one the eccentrics like Auriti share with many other artists, writers, scientists and prophets who have tried -- often in vain -- to fashion an image of the world that will capture its infinite variety and richness."
I love this theme! Imagine that instead of the world's tallest skyscraper, Auriti's dream comes true in the sprawling Biennale International Contemporary Art Exhibition, each pavilion filled with art inspired by knowledge unique to that country. Paolo Baratta, the President of La Biennale, stated, "Each [pavilion] has its own history and style. It may certainly be said that in them the countries reveal the role attributed to contemporary art as messenger of their present and their cultural wealth. But the pavilions also provide revelations on more profound realities and riches than those of the usual official and stereotyped images or pretexts."
The 55th Venice Biennale International Contemporary Art Exhibition will run from June 1 to November 25, 2013, with previews on May 29, 30 and 31.
Ciao from Venezia,
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog