Saturday, January 31, 2015


Official Carnival site
(Venice, Italy) The theme of the 2015 Carnival of Venice is, in Italian: La Festa più golosa del mondo! Which translates to: The Most Golosa Festival in the World! because there just is not an English word that means "golosa." If you ask Google to translate it, or if you look in an Italian-English dictionary, you will find it means "gluttony" or "greed." I have translated it to "tastiest;" the Carnevale site translates it to "most delicious." But golosa is more than that.

Carnival poster 2015 by Giorgio Cavazzano
I love Gorgonzola cheese, which also doesn't really exist in English; it is called "blue cheese" and is a distant cousin from genuine Gongonzola. In Italy, Gorgonzola is protected and can only be produced in certain regions according to certain methods. The result is something divine; an oozy center that is almost liquid, and a distinct taste... if you gob some Gorgonzola onto fresh warm bread... and sip some white wine... AH. It is something I cannot stop eating. If I buy two etti... (a unit of measure that also doesn't exist in English; there are about 4.5 etti in a pound:) I eat the entire two etti; it is impossible for me to control myself. I am GOLOSA for Gorgonzola. If I were male, I would be GOLOSO for Gorgonzola. Some people have this craving when it comes to chocolate. Or Girl Scout cookies. Or Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey ice cream. It is something you crave, usually something decadent and delicious. So, the Venice Carnival is the most golosa festival in the world, and there will be plenty of goloso food to tempt you.

Official Carnival site
There is a new spirit of cooperation and comradery in the city (someone joked it's because we are still without a mayor, so politics are not involved). While Piazza San Marco will still be the center of the action when it comes to parading in costumes, in the evening the party moves down to Arsenale on February 7 and 8, and then again on February 12 through Fat Tuesday, February 17, complete with nightly fireworks.

Official Carnevale site
This year, many local foundations and organizations are contributing to the Carnival, with some dynamic collaborations. Women in Love or Shakespeare's Women written and directed by the Teatro Goldoni's own Giuseppe Emiliani will be performed inside two impressive Venetian palaces that are now part of Venice's Civic Museums -- Ca' Rezzonico and Palazzo Mocenigo -- with costumes by the renowned Venetian atelier, Stefano Nicolao.

Teatro Goldoni
The Civic Museums are highlighting The Art of Food, featuring cultural and social influences on traditional Venetian cuisine through the ages, keeping with the theme of EXPO 2015 in Milan: "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life." Also, on Fat Thursday, February 12 there will be a theatrical and musical marathon at Palazzo Ducale, Museo Correr, Ca' Rezzonico, Palazzo Mocenigo and Casa Goldoni -- for example, at Palazzo Mocenigo, Venice's museum dedicated to fabric, costumes and perfume, there will be a 10-15 minute performance entitled, "THE GOLOSO LIBERTINE," about the appetites and tastes of the infamous Venetian lover, Giacomo Casanova (now that you know what "goloso" means, you can imagine the show!).

Official Carnival site
There is so much going on that it would take me days to tell you everything. Luckily, the Official Carnival Site is well organized this year, once you understand how it works. At the very top of the Home page, up on the right, you will see five categories: Home, Events list, Parties, Venice Info, Multimedia and Language. Click the Events list. There you can search by day, or venue, or what type of event you would like to see: Traditional, Live Concert, Food, etc. You can see everything that is going on in Piazza San Marco, or everything that is happening on Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, the last day of Carnival.

The Most Golosa Festival in the World, the Venice Carnival, runs from today, January 31 to February 17, 2015.


Tweet your photos: #carnevalevenezia

Ciao from Venezia,
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

Friday, January 23, 2015

Venice Carnival for Kids 2015 - The Biennale Lion Makes Music at Arsenale

6th Venice International Kid's Carnival
(Venice, Italy) For the first time, the Venice Kid's Carnival will be held inside the Arsenale in the artfully restored Sale d'Armi. Previous editions of the Carnevale dei Ragazzi were down at Giardini, but this year Paolo Baratta, the President of La Biennale, has declared "Quest'anno si va all'Arsenale!" allowing kids and their grownups to romp around the enormous space that once contained the largest industrial complex in the world. 

The press conference was held in the Sale d'Armi, which means "Weapons Rooms." The word "Arsenale" is a Venetian word, morphed from the Arabic dar-as-sina, which means "house of construction." During the Republic, the Venetians enjoyed showing off their impressive Arsenal, which could whip out an entire ship in a single day. The efficient Venetian production lines made Venice the shipbuilding center of the world, and allowed Venice to control trade in the Mediterranean, which was the foundation of her great wealth.

Arsenale - Jacopo de' Barbari, 1500s
Around the year 1110, according to John Julius Norwich in Venice, The Rise to Empire: "An ambitious new shipbuilding programme was called for, and it was now that Doge Ordelafo made his most enduring contribution to the Republic. Hitherto the shipwrights of Venice had been scattered about all over the lagoon, many if not all of them running small private businesses of their own. Under his aegis shipbuilding became a nationalized industry. For its centre he chose two marshy little islands known as the Zemelle -- 'the twins' in Venetian dialect -- at the far end of the Riva to the east of the city; and here, over the next half-century, there grew up that mighty complex of dockyards, foundries, magazines and workshops for carpenters, sailmakers, ropemakers and blacksmiths that Dante described in the Inferno and that gave a new word to the English language and many others besides -- the Arsenal."

Arsenale today
Nowadays the Arsenale is shared by several powerful organziations, one of which is La Biennale. The Sale d'Armi houses several new national pavilions such as Argentina, South Africa and the Vatican with long-term rental agreements; each nation restored the space with genuine affection -- neither La Biennale, nor Italy, nor Venice spent a penny. The wooden beams that criss-cross the ceiling are original, as are the bricks that make up the walls. It is like an enormous SoHo loft, centuries before Manhattan existed, converted from industry to art.

Escalator - Sale d'Armi - Arsenale, Venice
Paolo Baratta joked that the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas was jealous of the escalator outside the Sale d'Armi. Koolhaas was the Director of the 2014 International Architecture Biennale, and is presently turning the Fondaco dei Tedeschi at the foot of the Rialto Bridge into a shopping center for Benetton, who now owns the building. All hell broke loose a couple years ago when Koolhaas revealed his original plans, which included escalators, and outraged local preservation groups. The scandalous escalators inside the Fondaco dei Tedeschi were the Talk of the Town; the only thing worse was the proposed roof terrace. Koolhaas has since redesigned the plans, which no longer include an escalator in the center atrium. Baratta said that the escalator at the Sale d'Armi just happened to fit without altering the existing structure; as you can see, it is not part of the structure at all:)

So, Arsenale is the venue for the 2015 Kid's Carnival, one of my favorite events during Carnevale. Workshops and laboratories are open to everyone, and they are free. This year, students from 150 schools from all over the Veneto will participate in an international event designed to encourage creativity and original thought. Can you imagine what a fantastic class trip that will be?

The theme this year is:
Carnevale Internazionale dei ragazzi
which the Biennale translates into English as:

but I think a better translation might be:

So, making music and song is the theme, and there will be laboratories and spaces to inspire the kids scattered around Arsenale. The Biennale Music section will be here, as well as the Conservatorio Benedetto Marcello, the United Nations and Unicef. Young musicians who have composed their own music will perform their creations. There will be a treasure hunt, and the Gran Atelier di Sartoria will help kids create their own Carnival costumes and masks with fabric from Rubelli(!).

Five countries will participate in Kid's Carnival this year. Poland's event is called, Plastik is Fantastic! where kids will transform plastic materials into musical instruments, and also focus on creative ways to recycle. Theater Gong from Sibiu in Romania will bring a puppet show "The Almost Famous Cricket" inspired by a fable by the French writer Jean de La Fontaine. The German offering is MY STYLE, MY FASHION SHOW: PLAY WITH FASHION! The kids will design and create their own fashions, including eyewear, and then get their own cover of a magazine. The United States will present Intoniamo... i rumori?? -- Painting with sound, noise and smells -- and will present poetry and narration with those trilly alliteration sounds that kids love to make. Kecskemét is a city of art and culture in Hungary, made famous by its native son, Zoltan Kodaly, best known for the "Kodaly Method," a concept for teaching music education in the classroom, which the Hungarians will share during Carnival for Kids. 

That the world's first military industrial complex has transformed into a World of Art with pavilions that flow into one another and where borders are invisible is a wonderful thing. I think it's terrific that the Kid's Carnival has moved over to Arsenale; it feels right.

10:00AM to 6:00PM
Free admission and workshop activities
Info: +39 041 521.8828
Ciao from Venezia,

Monday, January 12, 2015

JE SUIS CHARLIE Banner at top of Rialto Bridge, Venice

JE SUIS CHARLIE banner - Rialto Bridge - Venice, Italy
(Venice, Italy) Venice has draped a JE SUIS CHARLIE banner at the top of the Rialto Bridge as show of solidarity with the people of France, and all people in the civilized world, in defiance of terrorism and support for freedom of expression.

Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
We are not afraid.

Ciao from Venezia,
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Do you want to be an Art Curator? Open Call for Summer School 2015 in Curatorial Studies - Venice

(Venice, Italy) I often have the good fortune to view art exhibitions here in Venice with the curators themselves, and witness their passion for their subjects. Whether it is contemporary or ancient art, an exhibition comes alive through their eyes and energy.

One of my favorite curators is Luca Massimo Barbero, who has a gem of a show on right now called AZIMUT/H - Continuity and Newness over at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, and was the host of the conversation with Heinz Mack on September 19, 2014, which I wrote about here:

Creative Earthquake at Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice - AZIMUT/H and HEINZ MACK

Luca Massimo Barbero is one of the instructors at the Summer School in Curatorial Studies this year, which will take place during the 56th Venice Biennale International Art Exhibition. The School sent over a press release, which will give you all the information you need if you follow the links, or you can go to their website. The deadline to apply is March 31, 2015, and the price for the course is €3,900.

At the 56th Venice Art Biennale: Open Call for the Summer School in Curatorial Studies


Open call


8th June – 30th September 2015

The School for Curatorial Studies is an ambitious and challenging project promoted since 2004 and conceived as a school committed to experimentation and interdisciplinary thinking. The main goals are to spread the knowledge in the field of visual arts and to introduce the students to the professions related to the art world, focusing on contemporary curatorial theory and practice and contemporary museology.

The School’s activities are meant for all those interested and passionate in art, graduated students or professionals who want to deepen their knowledge and improve their practical skills.

The School’s teaching staff is formed by Italian and international professionals, scholars, historians and art critics of recognized experience. Among them: Agnes Kohlmeyer (curator), Angela Vettese (art critic), Luca Massimo Barbero (Peggy Guggenheim Collection), Francesca Colasante (Foundation Pinault), Andrea Goffo (Found. Prada), Tommaso Speretta.

Download here: Program, Information and Application deadline.

Ciao from Venezia,
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog