Last day of the vernissage

So yesterday was the last day of the media/VIP preview (or vernissage) for the Biennale. We had some technical difficulties and couldn’t post, so we’re doing it today!

The day started with a photo session and a roundtable discussion with a journalist and several of the architects represented in the Pavilion. Then tons of media and other folks toured the Pavilion.

It was a great day until about five o’clock, when a mighty storm rolled in. Despite a few showers, the Pavilion remained open and busy!

Afterwards, a closing celebration was held at the Guggenheim Museum.

It was a great day–a great week, actually– and we’re sad to leave Venice. But our work here is done, the U.S. Pavilion is open to rave reviews, and we must get back and tend to things on the other side of the pond.

We leave you with some photos from the final day of the preview and show you the completed Pavilion! Thanks to everyone who made it possible, especially Atlanta-based artist Danielle Roney who designed the exhibition!

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U.S. Press Conference Today

Today the U.S. held its press conference. Philip Rylands from the Guggenheim Museum in Venice and Maura Pally from the U.S. State Department spoke. High Museum of Art Director Michael Shapiro, HMA and Pavilion curator Michael Rooks, and Pavilion curator Jonathan Solomon also made remarks.

Here’s a short snippet of what HMA Director Michael Shapiro had to say!

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The US Pavilion

Can’t believe we haven’t shown you the entrance to the US Pavilion yet! Check out the mylar balloons by MOS (the duo of Michael Meredith and Hillary Sample). They provide a shady spot to sit and relax–a place where people really can meet in architecture!

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First official preview day…yay!

Today the Venice Biennale officially opens to media and VIPs. The big Biennale press conference is today and journalists from around the world are here.

Many countries are putting the finishing touches on their exhibitions, busily installing wall graphics or sweeping the floors.

We wandered around to a few of the other pavilions this morning. Take a look!

Alison at the press check-in table.

The Danish Pavilion.

Silhouettes in front if the Russian Pavilion.

Inside the Norwegian, Finnish, and Swedish Pavilion.


Giant bean bags in the Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish Pavilion. (We can't quite figure out the significance of these but will report back if we find out more...)

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Images from the Venice Biennale

Alex and Christian of Terreform

Alex (left) and Christian (right) of Terreform

Alex and Christian of Terreform put the finishing touches on their exhibit in Workshopping.
Venice Biennale - Bubble Building

Bubble-like Structure

Check out this super cool temporary bubble-like “building.” We’re not exactly sure yet, but the chairs inside make it look like an event or meeting space. Cant wait to find out for sure! 

John Portman and Associates' exhibit

John Portman and Associates' exhibit in the Pavilion.

This is Atlanta’s own John Portman and Associates’ exhibit in the Pavilion. It’s a model of the Portman Buildings at Peachtree Center in Atlanta. Did you know that all 27 buildings are connected and you can walk to/from them all? This model doesn’t show the actual buildings, but rather the public spaces you walk through or meet in. A great fit for the Biennale’s theme of “People Meet in Architecture.” 

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Taking shape

Things are starting to take shape at the Biennale. The rest of the High Museum of Art crew arrived today. We’re touring the Giardini and watching everything come together.

The U.S. Pavilion is right near the coffee stand–which is being set up at the moment. Even the outdoor lights and temporary seating are created with an eye on design.

We’re hoping to get a sneak peek at the other countries’ pavilions soon.

We’ve posted some pics of what we’ve seen so far. Exciting!

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Benvenuto in Italia!

So the PR team arrived today in Venice and met up with the Workshopping curators, colleagues at the Peggy Guggenheim Museum, and several of the architects exhibiting in Workshopping. Venice–no matter how many times one has been–is magical, and a fitting home for the Biennale.

We hopped on a vaporetto and headed to the Giardini, where the pavilions of participating countries are located.

Everyone is still installing, and working day and night, so we snapped some pics of the work in progress at the U.S. Pavilion. We’re all looking forward to the finished product.

It opens to the press and VIPs on Thursday and the big U.S. Pavilion press conference is Friday.

Stay tuned for more!

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What exactly is the Venice Biennale?

Okay, so you know we’re headed to the Venice Biennale. What exactly does that mean? Our first post will (hopefully) tell you everything you wanted to know about the Biennale, but were afraid to ask.

What is the Venice Biennale’s 12th International Architecture Exhibition?

It’s kind of like a World’s Fair, or an art/architecture Olympics. Countries from around the world organize exhibitions to showcase their best and brightest architects. Each exhibition must fit into that year’s theme. This year, the theme is “People Meet in Architecture.” For more info on the Biennale and its history, check out the website.

How did the High Museum of Art get involved?

High Museum of Art Curator Michael Rooks and Jonathan Solomon of 306090 (spoken as “Thirty, Sixty, Ninety”) created a proposal that was submitted to the U.S. State Department. The State Department convened a committee to review the proposals, and our proposal was chosen. It’s a big deal, really, since the exhibition organized by the High and 306090 represents the entire country. Oh, and the exhibition is called Workshopping. It will be located in the U.S. Pavilion (pictured above), which is part of the Guggenheim.


Exploring the evolving role of designers in relationship to other disciplines, Workshopping will focus not on projects by individual architectural practices, but on collaborative projects. These projects, according to the curators, represent “an evolving constellation of specifically American conditions—the hierarchical model of architectural practice, the mostly regulatory function of government, and the critical role of private corporations and non-profit foundations in driving public projects”—creating a unique new model of design practice.

Who is participating in Workshopping?

None other than…

So, that should cover the basics. We’ll post again when we’re up and running in Venice. The Vernissage (or preview) starts Thursday, and the exhibitions open to the public on Sunday. There will be lots of prep and cool things to report on leading up to the official opening!

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