Skip to content

In 2020, as statues of Confederate generals and other contentious historical images were being taken down in many cities, Sanford Biggers, the acclaimed New York-based contemporary artist, and Amy Gilman, the director of the Chazen Museum of Art at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, were watching with keen interest. 

Barnes’ entry also reflects some of this Biennale’s interest in resetting architectural practice according to a less restrictive and more global set of priorities. The centerpiece of his contribution is a solitary monolithic “Identity Column,” under a bright spotlight, made from a single rippling piece of black marble. The column, according to Barnes, “demands a reorientation of foundational principles” in architecture, “one that positions Africa and its descendants as a force to be acknowledged and revered.”

“This moment has caught me being as much a citizen as an artist,” said the sculptor Martin Puryear on an afternoon in his studio in New York’s Hudson River Valley early in April. In two days he would leave for Venice to begin installing a solo exhibition at the 58th Venice Biennale in which he will officially represent the United States. Rising to that responsibility can’t be easy in an American “moment” tense with divisive politics, resurgent racism, and gun violence. Yet anyone who has followed this artist’s 50-year career, knows he is more than up to the task."

Back To Top