Viewing Room Main Site
Skip to content
At the 2024 Venice Biennale, ‘Foreigners Everywhere’ Is an Understatement | Featuring Jeffrey Gibson

By Sarah Moroz

The behemoth that is the Biennale d’Arte di Venezia has commenced its 60th edition, with its annual themed title—“Foreigners Everywhere”—drawn from a series of works made by Fulvia Carnevale and James Thornhill’s Paris/Palermo collective, Claire Fontaine. The expression also references an anti-racism and anti-xenophobia collective from Turin circa the early 2000s: Stranieri Ovunque.

The 2024 Venice Biennale gathers eighty-eight participating countries, four of which are participating for the first time: the Republic of Benin, Ethiopia, the United Republic of Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste. The Republic of Panama and Senegal each have their own pavilions for the first time. Across the Giardini della Biennale with its thirty permanent pavilions and at venues around the city, artists have interpreted the Biennale’s theme in a host of ways.

The American pavilion, celebrates Indigenous history—artist Jeffrey Gibson is of Choctaw and Cherokee descent—as well as queer joy. Using beadwork and tribal aesthetics, his riotously bright color palette flips off “the chromophobia of contemporary art” and his psychedelic hues are meant to be “radically inclusive” in contrast with the ideals of the founding documents of the United States (cited: 1866 Civil Rights Act, 1924 Indian Citizenship Act). Gibson’s nearly three-minute brightly kaleidoscopic nine-channel video—pulsating with energy, vivacity, pride and movement—is perhaps one of the most effervescent moments in the Biennale.

The Venice Biennale runs through November 24. 

Photo by Gabriel Bouys