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Venice revisited

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If you are anywhere near Venice during the rest of the summer, be sure to visit the biennale.

The subject, 'Less Aesthetics, More Ethics', has provoked some highly interesting exhibits, both in the national pavilions and at the Arsenale, where director Massimiliano Fuksas has picked an eclectic global mix of designers to compete against a massive video wall featuring life as we know it. Astragal loved the all-out polemic in the exhibit by Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, with its witty scalpel job on the architecture of the past 40 years (see below). Each of six styles is accompanied by a vinegarish cartoon, particularly scathing about Decon-Abstract Expressionism, which they dismiss as 'all fanfare is no fanfare'; and metallic brew ('sagging guy-wires, curving roof and nineteenth century exposed frame'). For a hint about who they might be referring to, look at the exhibit alongside - by Bernard Tschumi!

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