Venice Biennale Italy

Venice Biennale head ousted

Chairman of the biennale foundation, Paolo Baratta, replaced by Gatorade importer, Giulio Malgara

Paolo Baratta, left, with this year's Venice Biennale director of visual arts Bice Curiger, is being replaced by Giulio Malgara, right

VENICE. If the Venice Biennale art exhibition now runs like a normal international event, with adequate toilets, refreshment points, marketing, press facilities and ticketing, and also manages to cover nearly 80% of its costs, it is almost entirely due to former banker Paolo Baratta, 72, chairman of the Biennale Foundation from 1998 to 2000, and from 2007 to yesterday.

Yesterday Baratta heard that his mandate would not be renewed and his successor would be a foodstuffs importer, Giulio Malgara, 73, who brought Gatorade and Quaker Oats to Italy and founded Auditel, a company that collects statistics about television usage. Malgara, however, has never shown any interest in the cultural sector, unlike Baratta, who is on the boards of various cultural bodies. The decision was announced on 6 October by Italy's minister of culture, Giancarlo Galan, who thanked Baratta for his success in “restoring the buildings historically connected with the Venice Biennale, reviving the film and theatre festivals, as well as the biennales of architecture and fine arts”.

This appointment, which is reminiscent of the years before 1998 when the post was a prize allocated on the basis of party politics, was greeted with indignation by the mayor of Venice, Giorgio Orsoni, who immediately put out a statement saying: “I am convinced that Giulio Malgara is an unsuitable person to carry out the role of chairman of the Venice Biennale and that it would be a mistake to confirm him in this position. It would interrupt a vital and fruitful process that needs to be seen through to the end.” Former mayor Massimo Cacciari said: “As long as cultural appointments in this rotten system are in the hands of the political lobbies, it will go on being like this.”

Assuming that his appointment is approved by the council of ministers, as seems likely, Malgara takes over on 1 January 2012.

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7 Nov 11
17:9 CET


It is time for the politicians to stop to interfere in any form of culture. They are destroying our patrimony.

27 Oct 11
17:30 CET


You can signnow for continuity with Paolo Baratta!

13 Oct 11
18:16 CET


Gatorade salesman to head Venice Biennial? To use a popular quote: this is turning from “a farce to a tragedy”. Lets hope for the sake of art, for the sake of Italy and the sake of the world that this doesn't go through.

12 Oct 11
19:15 CET


Glad to see that once again, Italy is bringing in new blood, energy and ideas... Burnt by the Tuscan Sun

12 Oct 11
0:24 CET


Money talks so what is new in the art field?

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