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Venice Biennale head ousted

Motto of the the Biennale di Venezia 1997.

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If the Venice Biennale art exhibition now runs like a normal international event, with adequate toilets, refreshment points, marketing, press facilities and ticketing, and also manages to cover nearly 80% of its costs, it is almost entirely due to former banker Paolo Baratta, 72, chairman of the Biennale Foundation from 1998 to 2000, and from 2007 to last week.

Yesterday Baratta heard that his mandate would not be renewed and his successor would be a foodstuffs importer, Giulio Malgara, 73

I strongly believe it is the wrong choice…possibly the worst choice to be correct.

This appointment, which is reminiscent of the years before 1998 when the post was a prize allocated on the basis of party politics, was greeted with indignation by the mayor of Venice, Giorgio Orsoni, who immediately put out a statement saying: “I am convinced that Giulio Malgara is an unsuitable person to carry out the role of chairman of the Venice Biennale and that it would be a mistake to confirm him in this position. It would interrupt a vital and fruitful process that needs to be seen through to the end.” Former mayor Massimo Cacciari said: “As long as cultural appointments in this rotten system are in the hands of the political lobbies, it will go on being like this.”

The Guardian alredy commente: “Back to Earth, or Venice, with a bump. Silvio Berlusconi is trying to replace Paolo Baratta, head of the Venice Biennale, with his friend Giulio Malgara, a 73-year-old businessman whose greatest cultural achievement to date is bringing Gatorade to Italy.”