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This report is taken from PN Review 29, Volume 9 Number 3, January - February 1983.

Letter from Venice James Malpas
The tidal wave of tourism that engulfed Venice at Easter subsided through the month of May. By early June, however, another rising wave was apparent, that of nervous, stylish and all more or less desperate artists, lucky or unlucky enough to find themselves partaking in this year's Biennale.

More chaotic than most, this year's model even got into the Italian newspapers on that score-and yet it was all right (just about) on the morning of its official opening by Italy's diminutive president. There had been only one International Incident, the organisers generally preferring to 'take it out' on the artists, the 'small fry' of this gathering of museum directors and critics of all factions, who could be seen in any bar taking liquid precautions against the humid heat, while the artists fought for survival amid the 'tardis'-like pavilions.

The International Incident was between Australia and Austria, due to a typing error (it was charitably assumed; we all therefore expected it to be announced as the 'Biennale di Venezuela') which conferred the pavilion the former were expecting upon the latter, who were in smirking possession when the Australians appeared. Shown to a grove at one side of the Giardini, the Australians were there requested to build their pavilion, and in order to placate journalists and artists, some rather embarrassed workmen did compile a Bauhaus Bushhouse, after a few trees had been chopped down. Work was abandoned, however, after photographers had done what they wished with it since the ...

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