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Bangkok's first art biennale set for 2018

Venice of the East, anyone?

By BK staff | May 15, 2017

  • Bangkok's first art biennale set for 2018
    Credit: Bangkok Art Biennale
  • Bangkok's first art biennale set for 2018
    East Asiatic Company building. Credit: Heidi De Vries
  • Bangkok's first art biennale set for 2018
    Bangkok Art and Culture Centre

Bangkok’s first foray into the international biennale circuit will take place Nov 2018-Feb 2019.

Headed by Prof. Dr Apinan Poshyananda (former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Culture), Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 was launched on May 13 at an event in Italy coinciding with the launch of this year’s Venice Biennale.

Popularized by Venice's famous biennial art show, which first took place in 1895, the term "biennale" is nowadays commonly used to describe large-scale recurring international contemporary art exhibitions.

The scarce promo material so far released for the new event indeed seems to focus on positioning Bangkok as the "Venice of the East" with "cultural encounters" slated for sites along the Chao Phraya River like Wat Pho, Wat Arun, Wat Prayoon and East Asiatic Company building, as well as Bangkok Art and Culture Centre.

The whole thing is still a year and a half away but organizers are calling it a new chapter for contemporary art, showcasing artists from Asia, Europe and the Pacific. 

On its website, the Bangkok Art Biennale Foundation says it aims to develop high-profile art activities that promote Bangkok as a leading contemporary art destination, as well as revitalize areas of Bangkok into art walks and art loops for tourist attractions and support Thai contemporary artists to participate in other biennales.

The website also lists high-profile international advisors including Alexandra Munroe (Senior Curator, Asian Art, and Senior Advisor, Global Arts at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation), David Stuart Elliot (director of the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford), Dr Eugene Tan (director of The National Art Gallery, Singapore), Nanjo Fumio (director of Mori Art Museum, Tokyo), Nigel Hurst (chief executive of Saatchi Gallery, London), Rirkrit Tiravanija (Thai contemporary artist) and Sunjung Kim (director of Sonje Art Center and Professor at the Korea National University of Arts).  

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