The U.N. of Art

Sarah Sze at the Venice Biennale is the Daily Pic by Blake Gopnik

The Daily Pic (Venice Biennale Edition): Sarah Sze reps the U.S., and shows us at risk.

Barely a few hours into the 2013 Biennale, and here’s an image of the facade of the U.S. Pavilion, which this year was given over to New York artist Sarah Sze. In recent Biennales, a number of the artists repping the U.S. have had a strong political dimension, and at first sight it looked as though Sze was breaking that mold. Her fantastical accumulations of detritus and throwaway goods can seem to pack more whimsy than wallop. But as her trademark agglomerations mounted to the building’s pediment, half concealing the Italian words that identify its owners, there was a sense that we were looking at a possible future for our nation, where all the stuff we make and own leaves no room for a true civic life. Her work may also speak to the larger condition of art in our times … but I’ll tackle THAT in a few days, in my full-scale Biennale review for Newsweek.

For a full visual survey of past Daily Pics visit