On the Ground at the Venice Biennale

The exhibitions have been installed. The artists have arrived. The city of Venice is prepared to welcome throngs of visitors from across the world.

The 2024 Venice Biennale, featuring work by more than 330 participating artists from some 90 countries scattered throughout the city, opens to the public on Saturday. And before that come the pre-opening celebrations, early viewing opportunities — and at least one act of protest.

Gus Powell, a photographer for The New York Times, is on the ground covering the spectacle that makes the Biennale one of the premier events in the art world’s global calendar.


Visitors lining up to enter the exhibitions at the Arsenale, the sprawling former naval base that is one of two central locations for “Foreigners Everywhere,” the exhibition curated by Adriano Pedrosa.

Making a quick call in the Giardini, where many countries have their national pavilions full of commissioned artworks.

Viewing colorful abstract works in the central pavilion at the Giardini. Adriano Pedrosa has mixed contemporary and historic 20th century art works that expand the image of the “foreigner,” to include the queer, the outsider, the Indigenous.

Fliers left on the ground after a protest Wednesday outside the Israeli Pavilion, over the war in Gaza.

Viewing the Gabrielle Goliath show at the central exhibition space at the Giardini. The artist is from Johannesburg, South Africa.

A performance at the Russian pavilion, which this year is being lent to artists and performers from Bolivia.

A stylish accessory and sun blocker.

A performance by Carmine Caputo di Roccanova at the entrance to the Giardini exhibitions.


Visitors who arrived on Tuesday were greeted with both beautiful skies and intense downpours.

JR, the artist, having a cappuccino before the debut of “l’Observatoire,” a private new sleeper carriage he designed for the legendary Venice Simplon-Orient-Express train. It will be moored in the water, appearing to float in the Venetian canal.

Workers near the sleeper carriage, which was brought by boat to the lagoon in Venice.

Removing an unwelcome visitor from William Kentridge’s exhibition, one of the many collateral shows that pop up during the Venice Biennale.

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