Thursday, November 26, 2015

Venice Biennale

POSTED: Friday, November 20, 2009, 11:20 AM
At the Biennale, Bruce Nauman's Pink and Yellow Light Corridor (Variable Lights). (PETER DOBRIN / Staff)

Bruce Nauman has been in town this week. The American artist is remounting - listening, tweaking - two works that debuted at the 53d Venice Biennale, which closes Sunday. One of the pieces, Days, was in progress when the U.S. State Dept. chose Nauman and the Philadelphia Museum of Art to represent the U.S. at the Biennale. Then, in response to the honor, Nauman created an Italian-language counterpart, Giorni.

Both Days and Giorni are at the Art Museum through April, and anyone who cares about Nauman or music should hear them. It's helpful to commit to a long period of concentrated listening and thinking when you're in their presence. They reveal messages - and there are many of them - with time. Among other things, both works teach us to listen for poetry in the cacophony of daily life. Perhaps there's a certain Zen to be had in airports and big-box stores after all.

I'll have more about Venice and the two new works in Sunday's paper. My colleague Ed Sozanski gives Days and Giorni proper critical appraisal at a later date. The full show won the Biennale's top prize and accomplished quite a bit for the museum.

About this blog

Peter Dobrin is a classical music critic and culture writer for The Inquirer. Since 1989, he has written music reviews, features, news and commentary for the paper, covering such topics as the Philadelphia Museum of Art at the Venice Biennale, expansion of the Curtis Institute of Music, the Philadelphia Orchestra's bankruptcy declaration in 2011, Philadelphia's evolving performing arts center and the general health of arts and culture.

Dobrin was a French horn player. He earned an undergraduate degree in performance from the University of Miami, and received a master's degree in music criticism from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, where he studied with Elliott Galkin. He has no time to practice today.

Reach Peter at

Peter Dobrin Inquirer Classical Music Critic
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