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Collage_Venedig_Olaf Nicolai_Manuel Reinartz_ 2015
“Transversal Cut / Pavillon: Material aus den entstehenden Arbeiten“ (Collage: Olaf Nicolai/Manuel Reinartz, 2015)Courtesy the artist

Ten things to search out at the Venice Biennale

We give the lowdown on the best events at the year's most prestigious contemporary art festival

It’s time again to raise an Aperol Spritz in the name of art. The big daddy of art biennales opens in Venice this week. There are so many pavilions, collateral exhibitions (a phrase that does sound dangerously close to war fall out) and museum shows on it is impossible to see everything. These are the ten things that are looking promising for those with visual stamina.


It's a hot year for Denny with a current MoMA PS1 show. At Venice Berlin-based Denny is taking on the New Zealand Pavilion. His presentation is the first work that will hit you – at the Marco Polo Airport. There’s also an extended presentation just off San Marco square itself in the Biblioteca Nazionala Marciana. Entitled Secret Power, this is a show about post-Snowden tech landscape.


The main exhibition of the Biennale is curated by Okwui Enwezor this year and everyone’s excited by its Marxist subtext. Some incredible artists here – including some of the best African American artists you could ever dream to see in one place: Theaster Gates, Ellen Gallagher, Glenn Ligon, Coco Fusco and Adrien Piper.


Outside of the Biennale, there are actually museums in Venice and the Foundation Bevilacqua often does a great job with contemporary artists alongside their old collection. This time Peter Doig unveils new paintings in his first ever solo show in Italy. A hot ticket.


The German Pavilion has been very good the last few Biennales and this five person presentation by Hito Steyerl, Tobias Zielony, Jasmina Metwaly/Philip Rizk and Olaf Nicolai is definitely one of the most edgy and contemporary feeling line ups this year.


This Venetian project space is bringing iconic filmmaker and artist Jonas Mekas is doing a two part project at Venice entitled The Internet Saga. Unseen works will be on show at the Palazzo Foscari Contarini and in Venice’s only Burger King. Hard to get more random than that.


Who wants a game of artist mini golf? It’s hard to think of anything more refreshingly playful amongst the big serious art nonsense. Running until July 26, British Artist Fishbone has asked artists including Candice Jacobs, (past Converse Dazed nominee) Ellie Harrison and Yinka Shonibare to make holes. One word. Fun.


NYC’s art market rocks up to Venice this year for a mere three days. This travelling project involves artists all selling art and anything else they can get their hands on, with a lot of random performance elements, street food, fortune reading and a ton of crazy ideas. May 5-8,


Danh Vo, who represents Denmark at the Biennale this year, also co-curated by this show at Pinault’s Punta della Dogana with Caroline Bourgeois and it looks brilliant. Alongside Vo’s own work, there are pieces from the Accademia’s vaults, Nancy Spero and David Hammons. Thumbs up.


Tits, arse and cocks – you have to admire Sarah Lucas’ ability to highlight the figurative in her installation, sculpture and photographic works. She is one of only five women to represent the UK at Venice so good on her. Fingers crossed they’ll be some kinetic wanking works amongst her rather awesome nudes made from fleshy tights.


Axel Vervoordt’s regular curation of the Palazzo Fortuny is always the highlight of Venice. It’s impossible to beat this Belgian outsider’s incredible eye, lighting and fusion of old and new. The theme this year is proportions in art, science, architecture and music. Too good to miss.

Visit to find out more about upcoming events and exhibits