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The Biennale Arte 2019 came to a close, confirming the expected 600,000 visitors
Art -

The Biennale Arte 2019 came to a close, confirming the expected 600,000 visitors

593,616 visitors is the final attendance, on top of 24,762 visitors during the pre-opening week in May.

The 58th International Art Exhibition organised by La Biennale di Venezia chaired by Paolo Baratta and curated by Ralph Rugoff has closed today, Sunday November 24th, 2019. Baratta and Rugoff met the public today to discuss the legacy of the Exhibition and draw their conclusions on this edition, which attracted an overwhelming attention and a high number of visitors this year.
Attendance of Biennale Arte 2019, which lasted a little over 6 months, confirmed the expected 600,000 visitors (593,616), on top of the 24,762 attendants of the pre-opening week.
High number of young visitors: visitors under 26 years of age were 31% of the total. In particular, those who visited the Exhibition as part of a group amounted to 17% of the total number of visitors.

Paolo Baratta’s comment

This is how President Baratta commented on the results:

“The 58th International Art exhibition closes today. Twenty-one years have passed since La Biennale’s reform. Through its title – May You Live In Interesting Times - the 58th edition encouraged us to always consider the course of human events in their complexity, and this encouragement seems especially important at a time when a sense of oversimplification, stemming from conformism and fears, far too often prevails. Interpreting it as such, this title also sums up the very raisons d’être of a Biennale. Besides its title, this Exhibition was marked by a peculiar sense of awareness of the relevant relationship with visitors themselves, and so were the previous Exhibitions set up in the last two decades since La Biennale was reformed. In point of fact, all of the Biennales have aimed at the involvement of visitors, allowing them to partake in the reflection on art and in the self-investigation that contemporary artists carry out on themselves.”

“The aim was to enhance the encounter between visitors and works of art, which are met here as if these were in the process of coming to life, as well as to promote visitors’ engagement, further their knowledge as well as awareness, develop a sense of respect and attention towards art’s autonomy, and hence towards the autonomous, one-sided and yet transparent choices made by the curator. The role of La Biennale has been understood as that of an institution committed to the promotion of a free, open and self-aware society.”

We have appreciated the commitment of participating countries, which have increased in number (90), for their eager decision to participate and actual participation in this great conversation on art, a conversation that unfolds in a climate of extraordinary pluralism thanks to their organisational choices.”

“Once again, the number of visitors is around 600,000, despite the difficulties experienced in the last weeks. A large part of them are young people, and this figure is still on the rise. Visitors have grown into the Biennale’s main partner. Their contribution to upholding the conditions of autonomy and freedom on which the Exhibition is based is thus crucial.

“In the difficult times of these last weeks, we have felt ever more strongly a sense of responsibility deriving from our work, which happens in and for a city that hosts us and gives us beauty, a city to which we would like to give back at least a portion of what we get from it.

“We are approaching the end of the Exhibition. The crowded Meetings on Art and a performance programme supported by Arts Council England are now underway. Tonight, we will gather at Ca’ Giustinian to celebrate and show our gratefulness towards all those at La Biennale and in this city who collaborated to the making of this Exhibition; we will thank Ralph Rugoff and his team and look forward to what is coming next.”

“Lastly, we are launching a reference book covering all the editions of Biennale Arte from 1895 to the latest one, Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte, La Biennale di Venezia, 1895-2019, edited by La Biennale Historical Archives, publisher La Biennale di Venezia (following in the steps of the volume on the history of the Film Festival published two months ago).”


The exhibition in figures

79        artists invited to the Exhibition
90        National Participations
30        National Participations in the historical Pavilions of Giardini
25        National Participations in the Arsenale (including Italy)
35        National Participations around the city of Venice
4          National Participations participating for the first time: Ghana, Madagascar, Malaysia and Pakistan. The Dominican Republic has participated for the first time with its own Pavilion at Biennale Arte; it had participated as part of IILA in the past.
2          Special Projects: Pavilion of Applied Arts in collaboration with the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Forte Marghera Special Project in Mestre
21        Collateral Events


It is worth noting that this year’s Exhibition has also been visited by many film or show-business personalities, such as Brad Pitt, Julie Andrews, Atom Egoyan, Tim Robbins, Lucrecia Martel, Rodrigo Prieto, Shin’ya Tsukamoto, Emir Kusturica, Laurie Anderson, Chiara Ferragni, Fedez, and Susanna Nicchiarelli.

Biennale Sessions

The Biennale Sessions project, which is dedicated to universities and academies of fine arts, research and educational institutions in visual arts and related fields, facilitated the visit of the Exhibition for the tenth consecutive year for groups of students and teachers, once again recording a high attendance of foreign universities.


69 affiliated universities, out of which 19 Italian universities and 50 foreign universities from all continents; with 9 affiliated universities each, Germany and the United Kingdom ranked second, followed by the United States of America (7).

4,554  university students were involved in the project.


34,858 young people and students participated in educational activities
1,655   groups
7,227   teachers involved in the educational activities in the Exhibition venues
3,729   teachers attended the dedicated preview days
783      participating schools, out of which:
            64        kindergartens
            117      primary schools
            65        middle schools
            537      secondary schools


NOTES: Among the schools located furthest from Italy is St Cuthbert’s College (Auckland) and the Burnside High School (Christchurch), both of which came from New Zealand. Among foreign secondary schools, a large number were from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. 16% of participants in the educational activities are from the Province of Venice, metropolitan city area.

An important contribution to the Exhibition once again came from our Active Catalogues: visitors appreciated the work of these young graduates, standing all around the Exhibition according to an editorial project with the aim of spreading information on it.


Over 5,200 registered journalists attended the pre-opening week, on top of other journalists who registered as press throughout the opening period.

Here is how the press described ‘La Biennale di Venezia’ and commented on the Biennale Arte 2019:

The Venice Biennale is the world’s biggest and most influential survey of what artists currently make of the times we live in.” - Scott Reyburn, The New York Times

The Biennale is arguably the most prestigious exhibition in the world, filled with history and also cloaked in myth. And it has changed a great deal over the years. […] The often-repeated answer is that it’s “the Olympics of the art world,” which captures some of the international spirit of the affair but requires a great deal more explanation. That’s because the Venice Biennale is unlike any other art biennale in existence. Rather than being just a single big show organized by one lucky artistic director, it is a wild, freewheeling festival composed of numerous elements—a smorgasbord of art that not even the most voracious glutton could hope to consume.” - Andrew Russeth, Artnews

The Venice Biennale is the world's most prestigious art show, a symbol, and this has kept it alive across countless other biennials and art fairs all over the globe.” - Daghild Bartels, Neue Zürcher Zeitung

 “I 79 artisti di tutto il mondo scelti da Rugoff per la proposta A all’Arsenale e la proposta B al Padiglione centrale ai Giardini ci raccontano un mondo in cui di cose da mettere a posto ce n’è davvero tante... Ogni visitatore può costruirsi la propria narrazione... una sorta di grande tela di ragno in cui farsi intrappolare.” - Rocco Moliterni, La Stampa

Viviamo in tempi così, dove è più facile lamentarsi e pensare al peggio, ma è pur sempre il migliore dei mondi possibili e questa mostra ci restituisce l'idea di un'arte contemporanea che il suo tempo lo sa ancora interpretare.” - Luca Beatrice, Il Giornale

The most cogent portrait of contemporary art in years.” - Laura Cumming, The Observer / The Guardian

The 2019 Venice Biennale is a passage of unforgettable, stark contrasts, cacophonies and whispers, light and darkness: visual dramas laying bare sociopolitical faultlines as no other international art event can.” - Jackie Wullschläger, Financial Times

I have come here because everyone who loves art wants to be here. But I’ve also come here because I’m curious about the language Rugoff speaks… his exhibition is strangely fun, polished, anodyne and engaging.”  - Philip Kennicott, The Washington Post

Web and Social media

Official website www.labiennale.org
2,009,454 unique visitors from May 11th to November 23rd (+32,06% compared to 2017)
3,284,774 sessions from May 11th to November 23rd (+41,16% compared to 2017)
9,530,316 page views from May 11th to November 23rd (+37,56% compared to 2017)



  • Smartphone: 1,118,343 (+66,22% compared to 2017)
  • Desktop: 769,156
  • Tablet: 116,711


377,110 total page fans as of November 24th
+ 32,012 since the opening of Biennale Arte 2019
(Biennale Arte 2017: 319,770 total followers on November 26th, 2017; +26,141 since the start of Biennale Arte 2017)

707,166 total page followers as of November 24th
(Biennale Architettura 2018: 701,559)

470,835 total page followers as of November 24th
+ 105,051 since the opening of Biennale Arte 2019
(Biennale Arte 2017: 185,478 total followers as of November 26th, 2017; +48,841 since the start of Biennale Arte 2017)

YouTube BiennaleChannel
29,641 Subscribers as of November 24th

Sponsors and Thanks

The 58th International Art Exhibition was organised with the support of SwatchPartner of the event.
Main Sponsor of the event: illycaffè.
Sponsors: Artemide, JTI (Japan Tobacco International), Vela-Venezia Unica, Seguso Vetri d'Arte and Trenitalia Gruppo Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane.
We would also like to thank Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP.

We wish to thank the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, the local institutions that each in their own way support La Biennale, the City of Venice, the Regione Veneto, the Archaeology, Fine Arts, and Landscape Services for the City of Venice and the Lagoon, the Italian Navy.
We thank our Donors and the international Entities and Institutions that were important contributors to the organisation of the 58th Exhibition.
We especially wish to thank Ralph Rugoff and his team.
And finally we would like to thank the highly professional staff of La Biennale, who have worked with such great dedication on the organisation and management of the Exhibition.


The videos of all the events of the Exhibition and the interviews with all participants can be viewed on www.labiennale.org > Biennale Channel