Written by Darrel Ronald

Aaron Betsky to Curate the 11th Venice Architecture Biennale 2008

Aaron Betsky to Curate the 11th Venice Architecture by Darrel Ronald

Venice Architecture Biennale

Arsenale Pavilion, Venice Architecture Biennale 2006 (photo: Darrel Ronald)

Ahhh, the Venice Architecture Biennale is coming again in 2008! The exhibition runs from the 14 September to the 24 November and I’m totally stoked for another visit to the magical city.

This year’s 11th International Architecture Exhibition will be curated by Aaron Betsky, the former director of the Netherlands Architecture Institute and now director of the Cincinnati Art Museum. You can find an interesting interview from 10.2004 between Archinect and Betsky here.

This year’s theme will be:

Out There: Architecture Beyond Building

These days –in Betsky’s vision– buildings are not enough, or too much, to answer to the call of making ourselves at home in our modern world. We must be willing to use all forms, shapes, images and tactics to help us frame, figure out and order a world that is continually changing.

The worlds of art, interiors, landscapes, projected media and literature can and must be mined for such elements. We must not let buildings be the tombs of architecture, but must make an architecture that helps us to feel at home in, figure out and represent the world we live in.

This year’s theme seems uncannily similar to the manifesto of Volume magazine, published by Archis:

About Volume
Volume is an independent quarterly magazine that sets the agenda for design. With going beyond architecture’s definition of ‘making buildings’ it reaches out for global views on designing environments, advocates broader attitudes to social structures, and reclaims the cultural and political significance of architecture. Created as a global idea platform to voice architecture any way, anywhere, anytime, it represents the expansion of architectural territories and the new mandate for design.

And the official Aaron Betsky biography published through the biennale:

Aaron Betsky

Born in Missoula (Montana, USA) in 1958, Aaron Betsky trained in the Netherlands and the United States. Betsky brings vast and varied experience as curator, manager, historian, critic and in creating architecture exhibitions to the Biennale di Venezia.

Director of the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAI) of Rotterdam –one of the most important architecture museums and centres in the world– from 2001 to 2006, for three editions (2002, 2004, 2006) he held the post of Commissioner for the Dutch Pavilion at the Biennale di Venezia’s International Architecture Exhibition. At the 8th International Architecture Exhibition (2002), the Dutch Pavilion, curated by Aaron Betsky, won the Golden Lion for best foreign pavilion.

After finishing his secondary education in the Netherlands, Betsky graduated from the Yale School of Architecture (USA) and gained a Ph.D. in the History of Architecture from the Technical University in Delft (Netherlands).He is currently Director of the Cincinnati Art Museum (since 2006), one of the most important and oldest (125 years) in the United States. Before this, between 1995 and 2001, he was Curator for architecture at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Betsky is a prolific writer and journalist and the author of a dozen books and numerous articles with leading international specialised periodicals. He has written for the “Los Angeles Times” (1991-1994), and amongst the many other newspapers and periodicals he has contributed to, the “New York Times”, “The Village Voice”, “Domus”, “Elle” and “Metropolitan Home”.

He has held the Eero Saarinen chair in architecture at the University of Michigan and has been Visiting Professor at some leading US universities: at Columbia University in New York, at the California College of Arts in San Francisco, at the School of Architecture in Houston, and at the Southern California Institute of Santa Monica. He is an honorary member of the British Institute of Architects (2004) and has won an award from the American Institute of Architects (2001). From 1985 to 1987, he worked with Frank O. Gehry Associates, Inc. (Venice, California).

Among his books are What is Modernism (Phaidon Press, to be published in autumn 2008) and The United Nations Building (Thames & Hudson, 2006).

10th Venice Architecture Biennale 2006

Giardini Pavilion, Venice Architecture Biennale 2006 (photo: Thomas Stellmach)

You can follow these links to see photos from the 10th biennale in 2006 from Darrel Ronald and Thomas Stellmach.

  Comments ( 12 )

  1. Bro, I know… we’re gonna do it for real! We need to hook up a killer flat too… And we need to have the wicked sun and heat again too… Maybe we can find an Italian almanac? D.

  2. Darrel & Thomas : Are you going to go for the opening? Tell me if you do, maybe I can see if I have contacts for a flat. Any way I will try to be there…

  3. Catherine, that sounds great! We’ll definitely go – and there might be Claudia, Ali, and Nele from Berlin, too. We had a very nice flat through one of Claudia’s contacts last year, but I don’t know whether that’s possible again. And one of my fellow teachers in Syria lives actually in Venice.. So let’s ask around!

  4. Yes, Indeed ! I am…but I now decided to concentrate on the First Architecture Biennale (the 1980 one). See you guys in Venice!

  5. […] EeuwensPhaidon PressExamining the lay of the Netherlands and the history of its design culture, Aaron Betsky and Adam Eeuwens make a convincing argument for the primacy of Dutch design, which has captured […]

  6. […] Dysturb has spent the opening press weekend at the 11th Venice Architecture Biennale. This year’s theme, Out There: Architecture Beyond Building, was curated by Aaron Betsky, the former director of the Netherlands Architecture Institute, and now director of the Cincinatti Art Museum (previous article here). […]

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