Nancy Jachec. Politics and Painting at the Venice Biennale, 1948–64: Italy and the Idea of Europe. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2008.
The 55th Venice Biennale closes later this month, bringing to an end another spectacular exposition of current trends in international contemporary art. The Biennale underwent a 6-year hiatus during World War II before resuming in 1948, just as the Cold War was starting to come into full effect. From then on, every two years the event brought art to the forefront of international relations, providing a fascinating snapshot of cultural developments in increasingly hostile nations.
In this book Nancy Jachec provides a more eurocentric account of art during years that have been largely dominated by the history of American Abstract Expressionism. She successfully challenges these often black-and-white accounts of the ‘triumph’ of American painting, instead exploring how European artistic identities formed and developed in the shadow of the Cold War.
Image: Armando Pizzinato, Liberation of Venice [Liberazione di Venezia], 1952. Oil on canvas. Collection CGIL Direzione Nazionale, Roma.