It only took a few hours—and espressos—to catch the jitters going around Venice the day before press opening. Since I was in tow with the Commissioner of the US Pavilion, our own Bill Menking, and crew it was a privileged view, but no less insane as architect elves, ie support staff, scurried around town trying to find that last minute acetate binder, glue gun, 6-color color printer etc etc. The big guns don’t arrive til later today or even tomorrow if they were not invited to Zaha Hadid’s super-dinner at Palladio’s Malcontenta, a powerbroking hour away, at least. (We heard that Thomas Krens was planning to rechannel some back canal in order to take a shortcut there).
Aaron Betsky, the curator of the whole to-do, was troubleshooting from his post on a low wall outside the Italian Pavilion in the Giardini across a gravel path from the Dutch Pavilion, his old haunts. Ole Bauman, the current director of the Netherlands Architecture Institute, was nearby wondering if Rem Koolhaas might show up to see the Dutch Pavilion’s “Archiphoenix,” a research project as only the Dutch can do research projects on the educational implications for architecture on the fire that recently wiped out the Faculty of Architetcure in Delft University. (Hint: He’s won’t. Rem is headed for New York to unveil the design on Thursday for 23 E 22, his luxury high-concept carbuncle condo attached to One Madison Park). Bauman was hosting a kind of hallow’s eve party for all the worker bees from all the national pavilions (there are 32 of them) fueled by kegs of peach juice and prosecco, hummus, and pasta made by an imported organic Dutch chef. Benjamin Ball of Ball Norgues of Los Angeles was on hand happy and hyper about his string installation at the Italian Pavilion whose theme features 50 experimenters and 4 master iconoclasts. Betsksy was explaining what exactly that meant when a staffer whispered in his ear that some Gehry drawings weren’t fitting their frames and he dashed off….