During the opening days of the Venice Biennale, in a classic hotel on the Grand Canal, U.S. artist Mark Bradford was reflecting on the issue of inclusive art history. An interesting conversation evolved about how an artist can, against his will, be stereotypically tied to a generalized identity, and be excluded from institutions, or included in discourses where he does not feel at home. Bradford talked about “the blackness laid on me without me deciding what it meant to me” and that he “didn’t want to be defined so narrowly.” A fair point, which deserves the attention of institutions and curators, in times of excessive identity branding. Meanwhile, decisions implying inclusion and exclusion might be inseparable from art, as distinguishing between works—in light of quality, value, authenticity, etc.—is at the very heart of its operations. Certainly also at the very heart of the 57th Venice Biennale.
You can read the full review on the 57 the Biennale here on the Brooklyn Rail website