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Brooklyn Rail

Brooklyn Rail

The Brooklyn Rail, an independent arts publication based in New York city, was invited to exhibit at the 2019 Venice Biennale. Our engagement consists of an exhibition of the works by 73 artists at the Chiesa di Santa Maria delle Penitenti curated by Phong Bui and Francesca Pietropaolo, our “Social Environment” recreated in the Sala delle Colonne next to the Chiesa, and a series of events around both the exhibition and climate change.

Events schedule

OFFICIAL OPENING: MAY 8, 2019: 17:00 – 20:00

May 8 at 17:00-18:00
Poetry Reading with Milli Graffi, Luigi Ballerini, John Giorno, Vincent Katz, and Mónica de la Torre

May 8 at 18:00-20:00
Cooking Performance with Rirkrit Tiravanija and Tomas Vu
Capacity is limited, RSVP is essential RSVP

May 11 & 12 at 17:00
A two-day discussion amongst scientists, artists, and philosophers on climate change and the Mediterranean, featuring Lauren Bon, Justin Brice Guariglia, Emanuele Coccia (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris), Jaroslav Mysiak (Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Changes, Venice), and Enrica De Cian (Director, Master of Research in Science and Management of Climate Change, Ca’ Foscari University, Venice), among others

June 14 at 17:00-18:00
Poetry in the Chiesa
Bob Holman, Giampaolo De Pietro, Luca Succhiarelli, and Monica Palma will join us for an evening of poetry in English and Italian in the main space of the Chiesa di Santa Maria delle Penitenti. RSVP

June 17 at 16:00–17:30
Leonardo: Between Art and Science
Panelists include Martin Kemp (Leonardo scholar and Professor Emeritus of University of Oxford) and Valeria Poletto (co-curator of the Leonardo exhibit at Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice, and curator, Gabinetto dei Disegni e Stampe, Gallerie dell'Accademia di Venezia) in conversation with artists Anna de Manincor of the collective ZimmerFrei, and Aleksandar Duravcevic, moderated by Alexander Nagel (Professor of Fine Arts at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University) and Francesca Pietropaolo (co-curator of the Collateral Event).

This event is organized to coincide with the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death; the new publication by Nicholas Callaway, Leonardo by Leonardo, with texts by Martin Kemp, one of the world’s foremost Leonardo scholars; and the exhibition Leonardo da Vinci. L’uomo modello del mondo at Gallerie dell’Accademia di Venezia, curated by Annalisa Perissa Torrini and Valeria Poletto. RSVP

June 17, 18:00–midnight
Deep Listening Event: Oratoria Mare Nostrum
The Brooklyn Rail and Metabolic Studio proudly partner with Laguna Libre for Oratorio Mare Nostrum deep listening events under the full moon. For June's full moon, we will host a deep listening session of Lauren Bon’s Oratorio Mare Nostrum, a site responsive, three channel durational sound installation for Chiesa di Santa Maria delle Penitenti. On June 17, we will activate what the artist intends as the fourth channel of the sound installation; the fourth channel being the ambient in her work. All are invited to listen and engage in this sonic experience.

During the Oratorio Mare Nostrum events, guests are encouraged to join us at our local eco restaurant/cultural venue partner Laguna Libre, where a complimentary beverage will be offered to visitors attending the event. On these full moon deep listening evenings, Laguna Libre will be programming live music and films relating to the Mediterranean and our shared interest in Mare Nostrum, our sea.

July 12, 17:00
Luigi Nono “Hay que caminar” soñando (1989) for two violins
The violinists Carlo Lazari and Marco Rogliano will play “Hay que caminar” soñando (1989) by the great composer Luigi Nono (Venice, 1924–1990). RSVP

The social environment

“Art as a Social Activity”

Present with its staff during the course of the exhibition, the Brooklyn Rail—a radical and free publication based in New York City—recreates its Social Environment in Venice. The inspiration for our Social Environment comes from an understanding of our work as a creative act, which produces the monthly journal, public forums, and informal gatherings that are a platform for the diverse voices of our community. In Venice, we will produce our monthly issues in addition to a special issue of the River Rail, a publication documenting our exhibition and its interdisciplinary public programming bringing together artists, scientists, scholars, poets, writers, and musicians focusing on environment and climate change.

The Exhibition

A red neon sign that says, Artists Need to Create on the Same Scale that Society Has the Capacity to Destroy, by artist Lauren Bon
Top: Lauren Bon and the Metabolic Studio, Artists need to Create on the Same Scale that Society Has the Capacity to Destroy, 2019 Courtesy the artist. Bottom: Maya Lin, Water Water Everywhere, Not a Drop to Drink, 2019. Courtesy the artist and Pace Gallery, New York. Photo Samuele Cherubini. (c) VeniceDocumentationProject.
Inspired by Lauren Bon’s text-based neon work on view in the courtyard—from which it borrows its title—this exhibition, together with its accompanying public programming 1001 Stories for Survival, addresses the environmental crisis in the age of climate change, with a focus on the Mediterranean Sea.

The show brings together 73 artists of different generations and cultural backgrounds whose selected works, in a wide range of media, invite critical awareness on the fragility of nature and human life while poetically invoking the regeneration of living systems. On view are works by Shoja Azari & Shahram Karimi, Lauren Bon, Julian Charrière, Newton Harrison, Wolfgang Laib, Maya Lin, Shirin Neshat, Amy Sillman, Kiki Smith, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Tomas Vu, Jack Witten, and Lisa Yuskavage, among many others that meditate on themes such as ephemerality, transformation, and interconnectedness.

Hours and location

The 58th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia runs from May 11 – November 24 2019, with a preview from May 8 – May 10.

Chiesa delle Penitenti Fondamenta Cannaregio, 910, 30121 Venezia VE, Italy view map

The exhibition is free and open to the public

10:00 – 18:00, Tuesdays – Sundays


Phong Bui is an artist, writer, independent curator, publisher, and artistic director of the monthly journal the Brooklyn Rail and the publishing press Rail Editions. He is a board member of the Third Rail of Minneapolis and St. Paul, the Miami Rail, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program, the International Association of Art Critics United States Section (AICA USA), Anthology Film Archives, Studio in a School, Second Shift Studio Space of Saint Paul, among others. In 2013 he founded Rail Curatorial Projects, which aims to curate group exhibits that respond to location, cultural moment, and economic conditions. In 2017, both the River Rail (a free publication that focuses on the environment and climate change) and Occupy Rail (an ongoing endeavor to encourage and support motivated individuals to create their own Rail publication in their local communities) were founded to facilitate and provide critical dialogues of how the arts, politics, and culture are integral parts of the common wealth of the greater public. He has recently co-founded the Graphyne Foundation, which aims to curate ongoing exhibitions and public programing in collaboration with Mana Contemporary in Jersey City, Chicago, and Miami, among other museums of contemporary art in the U.S. and abroad. His 2019 projects include: The River Rail: On Puerto Rico; and exhibitions Jonas Mekas: A Retrospective; Occupy Colby Museum: Artists Need to Create on the Same Scale that Society Has the Capacity to Destroy (Year II), among others.

Francesca Pietropaolo is an Italian-born art historian, curator, and critic based in Venice. Her research interests focus on post-war European and American art, and on international contemporary art. She has held curatorial positions at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Fondazione La Biennale di Venezia, Venice; and the Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris. During her time at MoMA, she worked on Roth Time. A Dieter Roth Retrospective (2004), Plane Image. A Brice Marden Retrospective (2006) and exhibitions drawing from the museum’s collection of works on paper. She was on the curatorial team of Greater New York 2005 at MoMA P.S. 1, New York. At the Fondation Luis Vuitton she was in charge of artist commissions, notably a site-specific installation by Ellsworth Kelly for the Auditorium as well as works by Cerith Wyn Evans, Adrian Villar Rojas, and Taryn Simon. Her projects as independent curator include exhibitions such as North by New York: New Nordic Art (American-Scandinavian Foundation, New York, 2011), and Wrinkles in Time (IVAM, Valencia, 2009). In 2015 she co-curated the international film festival Fireflies in the Night at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC), Athens as well as its second edition Fireflies in the Night Take Wing (2016). In 2017 she co-curated Only Connect!, an international program of performances, at the SNFCC, Athens presenting performances by Kim Jones, Mieskuoro Huutajat (Screaming Men’s Choir), and Tania Bruguera, among others. She is the editor of Ellsworth Kelly, first issue of “Les Cahiers de la Fondation” (Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, 2014), realized in collaboration with the artist. She is the author of numerous essays in publications for, among others, MoMA, the Walker Art Center, Tate, Fondation François Pinault, Venice, and the Estorick Collection, London. She is the editor of Interviews on Art, the first collection of interviews with artists conducted by Robert Storr (Heni, London, 2017), and of its Italian edition Interviste sull’arte (Il Saggiatore, Milan, 2019). As critic, she has contributed to Flash Art International, ARTnews, Art in America, the Brooklyn Rail, Art Press, and Arte e Critica.


  • Peter Acheson
  • Yasi Alipour
  • Shoja Azari & Shahram Karimi
  • Max Becher & Andrea Robbins
  • Emma Bee Bernstein
  • Louis Block
  • Lauren Bon
  • Katherine Bradford
  • Joe Bradley
  • David Brooks
  • Dana Buhl
  • Phong Bui
  • Bunny Burson
  • Julian Charrière
  • Chuck Close
  • Christian de Boschnek
  • Iran do Espírito Santo
  • Aleksandar Duravcevic
  • Cameron Gainer
  • Tamara Gonzales
  • Ron Gorchov
  • Justin Brice Guariglia
  • Newton & Helen Mayer Harrison
  • EJ Hauser
  • Alfred Jensen
  • Bill Jensen
  • Alex Katz
  • Benjamin Keating
  • Wolfgang Laib
  • Chris Larson
  • Eugene Lemay
  • Matvey Levenstein
  • Dean Levin
  • Margrit Lewczuk
  • Maya Lin
  • Chris Martin
  • Hans Meebush
  • Jonas Mekas
  • Cy Morgan
  • Loren Munk
  • Hans Namuth
  • Shirin Neshat
  • David Novros
  • Optics Division of The Metabolic Studio (Lauren Bon, Richard Nielsen, Tristan Duke)
  • Renate Ponsold
  • Diane Pontius
  • James Powers
  • James Prosek
  • Nathlie Provosty
  • Joanna Pousette-Dart
  • Joyce Robins
  • Dorothea Rockburne
  • Ugo Rondinone
  • Cordy Ryman
  • Meyer Schapiro
  • Cindy Sherman
  • Amy Sillman
  • Arthur Simms
  • Kiki Smith
  • Sarah Sze
  • Kazumi Tanaka
  • Rirkrit Tiravanija
  • Daniel Turner
  • Tomas Vu
  • Merrill Wagner
  • Jack Whitten
  • Peter Lamborn Wilson
  • Lisa Yuskavage

About the Brooklyn Rail

Founded in October 2000 and currently published 10 times annually, the Brooklyn Rail provides an independent forum for arts, culture, and politics throughout New York City and far beyond. The journal features criticism of music, dance, film, and theater; and original fiction and poetry, covers contemporary visual art in particular depth. In order to democratize our art coverage, our Critics Page functions with a rotating editorship, which such luminaries as Robert Storr, Elizabeth Baker, Barbara Rose, Irving Sandler, and Dore Ashton have helmed.

The Rail further fulfills its mission by curating art exhibitions, panel discussions, reading series and film screenings that reflect the complexity and inventiveness of the city’s artistic and cultural landscape.

To learn more, visit
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