New Zealand Calls Off Venice Biennale Pavilion for 2024 After Report Finds ‘Inadequate’ Resources

For the first time in more than two decades, New Zealand will not have a pavilion at the Venice Biennale, the world’s biggest art festival.

According to Ocula, Creative New Zealand, the organization that facilitates the country’s pavilion, has decided to call off the 2024 edition. The pavilion will, however, return in 2026, 2028, and 2030, the organization said.

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The decision to call of the 2024 pavilion came after a 2022 report which raised concerns about funding for the presentation in its current model.

“The resources available for this significant undertaking are inadequate,” determined the report, authored by the firm Tony Grybowski and Associates, which raised concerns about the workload and the funding needed to mount the show.

The New Zealand Pavilion is not the first to be called off for the 2024 Biennale. Scotland also canceled plans for the exhibition, citing a “present financial and planning environment” that necessitated reformulating future editions.

But the Scottish Pavilion is what is termed a collateral event, meaning that it is not a national pavilion that takes place in the Biennale’s two main areas, the Arsenale and the Giardini. The New Zealand Pavilion, by contrast, has been historically housed in the Arsenale.

Among the artists to have done the New Zealand Pavilion in the past are Francis Upritchard, Lisa Reihana, Simon Denny, and Yuki Kihara, who became the first Pacific artist to do the presentation in 2022. No artists had been announced for the planned 2024 edition.

It is rare, although not unheard of, for national pavilions to cancel their participation in the Venice Biennale. Often, backing out of the show comes amid financial strain or political events, as was the case in 2022, when Russia pulled out following the invasion of Ukraine.


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