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The Florence Biennale is an art exhibition held in Florence, Italy. Since 1997 it has been held every two years in the exhibition spaces of the Fortezza da Basso, Florence. Artists shown in the exhibition, run by the Arte Studio organisation, pay to have their work exhibited in the biennale.
The Biennale in its current form was begun in 1997 by Piero and Pasquale Celona.
The first Art Director of the Florence Biennale to be appointed, in 1997, was the art historian Stefano Francolini. From 1998 to 2005 the Art Director in charge was the art historian and critic John Spike. In 2007 Emanuel von Lauestein Massarani, Secretary of Culture and Superintendent of Cultural Heritage in São Paulo (Brazil), took over. In 2009 and 2011 Stefano Francolini was called up again. In 2013 the Florentine art historian and critic Rolando Bellini was appointed and is currently in charge.
Contrary to similar large exhibitions and art fairs where national governments bear the cost (Venice Biennale) or where galleries bear the cost (London Art Fair), the cost of the Florentine Biennale are borne directly by the participating artists. This has sometimes given rise to criticism that the Florence Biennale were a 'vanity' exhibition. The lack of a selection by governments and galleries would be detrimental to artistic quality.
Criticism on organizational matters were expressed in 2004 by a former member of the exhibition's selection committee and based on feedback from artists he had invited.
Direct participation is also in line with a global trend in which new technical and communication possibilities tend to make creative professions more independent from their traditional representative bodies. In these respects, the Florence Biennale gains in artistic significance.
Reviews and details from participants
Terrance Allen, an indigenous Australian artist from the Walhallow community in Kamilaroi, Caroona (New South Wales) who displayed his work at the 2005 Florence Biennale, affirmed that 'Having the opportunity to share Aboriginal art, culture and history is a privilege that I consider my duty'.
- Contemporary. Contemporary Magazine. 2006.
- STEINER, RAYMOND J. (2004). "Art Times Journal". Florence Biennial. Art Times. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
- http://artradarjournal.com/2015/04/03/curated-private-selling-exhibitions-at-auction-houses-sweep-the-art-world/ Art radar
- Florence Biennale official page
- Florence Biennale, un'invasione di arte contemporanea in città / FOTO