This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine under the title "Taking a Second Look at This Year's Nebulous Venice Architecture Biennale." One of the few incontrovertible truths to emerge from the 16th International Architecture Exhibition, which opened in Venice on May 26 and runs through November 25, is that sensitivity and skill in making architecture do not necessarily transfer to the work of organizing an architecture exhibition. The Biennale’s curators, Dublin-based Grafton Architects, helmed by Yvonne Farrell and Shelly McNamara, lay claim to a formidable portfolio of built work that skews toward public buildings of international significance. The duo’s largest curatorial endeavor to date, the show suffers from an eagerness to acknowledge their own influences. Grafton structures the exhibition around the nebulous concept of “Freespace,” an idea so vague that it ultimately contains a multitude of only tangentially related architects, projects, and ephemeral display objects.
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