Università IUAV
Ca' Foscari

United States Pavilion at the Giardini della Biennale

Bruce Nauman on the steps of the U.S. Pavilion, Venice, Italy, June 2008. Photo courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art © Michele Lamanna 2008

Embracing the entire perimeter of the U.S. Pavilion’s frieze is a recreation of Nauman’s 1983–88 landmark outdoor neon sign, Vices and Virtues (permanently installed at the University of California, San Diego). Together with the unveiling of the large window on the building’s side that allows visitors to peer into the exhibition space, Nauman’s art occupies the Pavilion as a volume as opposed to a two-dimensional façade. In that way, the neoclassical building is opened up and made both welcoming and porous to its context and, metaphorically, to the city of Venice. Within the building, Heads and Hands and Neons and Fountains recur in the forms of hanging wax and resin heads, in the recreation of Untitled (The True Artist is an Amazing Luminous Fountain) (1968) and in the topological surfaces that run from the seminal From Hand to Mouth (1967) to Fifteen Pairs of Hands (1996). In the rushing of water in Three Heads Fountains (2005) or the silent churning of Hanging Carousel (George Skins a Fox) (1988), Sound and Space also pervade and resonate within the building.

The traditional venue for United States presentations at the Venice Biennale, the U. S. Pavilion is a neoclassical building located in the Giardini della Biennale (Gardens of the Biennial), at the tip Castello district of Venice. The freestanding Jeffersonian pavilion, designed by architects William Adams Delano and Chester Holmes Aldrich in 1930, is one of twenty-nine permanent national structures located in the Giardini.

Past U.S. Pavilion exhibitions have shown the work of artists such as Felix Gonzales-Torres, Ed Ruscha, Ann Hamilton, Fred Wilson, Bill Viola, and Jennie Holzer. In 1988, the Philadelphia Museum of Art organized Jasper Johns: Recent Paintings for the U.S. Pavilion.

Bruce Nauman: Topological Gardens will be on view at the U.S. Pavilion in the Venice Biennial’s Giardini for the duration of the 53rd International Art Exhibition, from June 7 to November 22, 2009.


Vistor Information

United States Pavilion at the Giardini della Biennale

June 7–November 22, 2009
Tuesday–Sunday, 10:00–18:00; Monday closed

Vaporetto Stops:
Giardini: 1, 2, 8, 41, 42, 51, 52, 61, 62

Vaporetto to Università Ca’ Foscari: 1, 2
Vaporetto to IUAV/Tolentini: 1, 2, 41, 42, 51, 52, 61

For information on ticketing at the Giardini della Biennale, visit http://www.labiennale.org/en/art/tickets/