Iole de Freitas, Untitled, 2007. Plastic and mixed media, view of installation at the museum of Fridericianum, Documenta, Kassel.

If This is Venice (Kassel, Münster), It Must Be Now

I ran into the dealer from the Gagosian Gallery at the foot of a very large, very real, and aggressively mangy stuffed giraffe. This was at Documenta, the 12th incarnation of the every-five-years survey of contemporary art in Kassel, Germany. Documenta was the third stop for assorted species of collectors, dealers, artists, critics, curators, museum directors, and art world followers on what was packaged as the “Grand Tour” of art festivals this past summer: the Venice Biennale (every two years), the Basel Art Fair (every year), Kassel, and Skulptur Projekte Münster (every 10 years). I’d skipped Basel and its accompanying stampede to throw money at art, because I wanted to spend more time in Venice—nine days in all, which was far from long enough to take in every official, unofficial, satellite, museum, and opportunistic exhibition in town.