Venice Agendas

Following on from the successful Agendas series of past Biennials, the new Venice Agendas aims not only to continue the vital discussion facing contemporary art and critical practice as part of an international debate, but question its power as a cultural commodity.  In the current climate, where national boundaries are being redrawn, cultural identities are being questioned and centres of global economies are shifting, this project aims to focus the debate within the context of culture as an expression of power through national identity. The debates do not propose to draw conclusions to what can be seen as age old concerns, but to continue a dialogue where its relevance lies in the speed of which the world is changing and the implications this has on a wider cultural debate.  Three mornings of lively discussion and critical debate will start Wednesday 1 June with discussions from 10 – 11.30 (informal breakfast 9.30 – 10am).  Discussion topics as follows:

Wednesday 1 June Breakfast from 9.30 – 10am, Discussions from 10 – 11.30

The Artist as Critic

“We may make comments that are not purely historical...”Carey Young Cautionary Statement 2007
Some, arguably the most radical and incisive art criticism, has been made by artists. Ubiquitous 'critical practice' and the inter-textual and performative role of the contemporary artist as critic and curator raise core issues, intellectual and ethical for both practice and criticism. Do we now need, as Christopher Townsend argues (Art Monthly 343) 'the acute historian rather than the imaginative artist'?

Thursday 2 June Breakfast from 9.30 – 10am, Discussions from 10 – 11.30

National Assets: peripatetic global cultures

This year sees the prospect of new national pavilions for non-Western countries with economies strong enough to pay the rent: India, China, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, the UAE and Bahrain.  With the Louvre and Guggenheim earning income by syndicating their collections, what is the role of culture and what is its place in the emergence of national identity and structures of power.

Friday 3 June Breakfast from 9.30 – 10am, Discussions from 10 – 11.30

Hidden Agendas: Global Art Education and the Biennale Aesthetic

This discussion will investigate cultural differences between art education systems around the world and aims to explore the question: 'Is art education idiosyncratic and culturally contingent or does it incubate a more international style that we see exhibited at events like the Venice Biennale?'

Friday 3 June 5pm


To conclude the three day project there will be a series of readings by Maria Morganti (Italy), a performance by Holly Slingsby (UK) Lawrence Carroll (US) and text by Adonis Flores (Cuba), Mel Gooding (UK), and Marianela Orozco (Cuba).


Tim Rawlins

Maria Morganti

Martin Holman

Martin Holman,  Rachel Withers, Nathaniel Mellors, Richard Grayson with interventions from Jon Thompson

Gayle Chong Kwan, Jean Wainwright Alan Haydon, Iona Whittaker, and Russell Martin

Andre Eugene, Leah Gordon,Ingrid Koenig, Chloe Briggs, Mark Gaynor and Sarah Rowles

Venice Agendas 2011 was organised by workinprogress in collaboration with audio arts, artquest, the De La Warr Pavilion, ACIA, Q-Art London. 3 June at St George’s Church in Venice.

Performance by Holly Slingsby   Photographs by Helen Rawlins


SOUNDINGS was a three day event that took place during the opening week of the 54th Venice Biennale. Bringing together artists from different disciplines and included a series of discussions, artworks and readings.  


As part of a programme of events, we are delighted to present an exhibition of work by two artists that have shown regularly in Venice. William Furlong’s Passage of Time, a sound piece made in Venice, uses voices heard and overheard, ambient street sounds recorded by the artist, and short snatches of footsteps from the soundtrack of the iconic film Don’t Look Now.  The intention of this piece is to evoke the actuality of Venice from the middle distance.   Terry Smith will be showing his new work Naming the dead, a hand-made book containing a series of evocative prints from his recent project The Foundling.   By inviting the visitor to write the name of someone they knew and wish to remember, Smith places the work firmly on the boundary between art and life.


Terry Smith