Six Differences Between Venice and New York

06/08/2011 4:00 AM |

Is New York really that different from Venice? I've scoured the 2011 Venice Biennale in search of answers and believe I've found a few.

When is Brooklyn going to build a church on the water? Venice has the church of San Giorgio Maggiore, a 16th century Benedictine church on the island of the same name. We need one of those.

Let's get some slow-moving boats in Kings County. You know there's an artisanal gondola maker somewhere in Brooklyn who's already got a plan for this, and of course, there's nothing New Yorkers love more than being close to the stench of our water. And the extra hours added to the Brooklyn-Manhattan commute will be appreciated because New Yorkers are so patient.

Why are so many major art events known for their awful food? Miami and Venice are the worst. The pizza masters from Roberta's need to re-invigorate the Biennale, just as they did for Miami's Scope art fair. I don't think anyone will care if they call their restaurant an art installation again, so long as they're serving decent food.

Venice has a wax statue to put Manhattan's Madame Tussauds to shame: Urs Fischer's giant candle (detail pictured) in the shape of Giambologna's sculpture “The Rape of Sabine Women“! There's a small chance a fire like this might undermine the integrity of Tussaud's sculptures of stars, but I bet the Lindsay Lohan statue can take it.

Apparently people in Italy pay enough taxes that there's never any garbage in the streets of Venice. My guess is that most New Yorkers would gladly do the same for the service. Of course, the water in Venice is a different story: it's awfully stagnant and gross, so not especially different from New York's.

"La Biennale is like a wind machine," Venice Biennale president Paolo Baratta told press recently. "Every two years it shakes the forest, discovers hidden truths, and gives strength and light to new offshoots." I briefly wondered whether New York could ever match such hyperbole, but then I remembered the often-repeated maxim, "New York is the greatest city in the world."

(Photo by the author)

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