Venice Biennale: Battle of the Artist Bands

© Hannah Vandermolen

A series of concerts at the Venice Biennale will feature rock bands composed of visual artists.

When Franck Gautherot curated the French Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2001, he didn’t expect to someday return as a rock impresario. But that’s effectively his role at this year’s edition, which begins in early May. “We came with the idea of a festival of rock bands run by visual artists,” says Gautherot, the cofounder of Le Consortium, a contemporary art center in Dijon, France, which is coproducing a series of concerts from May 7 to 9 in Venice. During the mini festival—called Venetian Blinds—two bands a night will play at the 225-seat Teatrino, in luxury magnate Francois Pinault’s arts complex, Palazzo Grazzi. Silencio, David Lynch’s velvet-rope club in Paris, is a producing partner. The Turner Prize winner Martin Creed and Rodney Graham, who represented Canada at the 1997 Biennale, each front an eponymous band. New York–based artist John Miller leads the “global country” band the Cornichons. Also taking the stage is the painter Emily Sundblad, performing with bandmate Matt Sweeney, who has worked with musicians Cat Power and Neil Diamond. Tickets by invitation only, from May 7 to 9;