The words ?Sold out? replaced the ?Hellas? sign at the Venice Biennale?s Greek pavilion on June 15. The Greek Ministry of Culture and Tourism swiftly condemned the action, and said that ?art is an area of free expression and contest, one which should under no circumstances turn into an act of violence and vandalism.?
It now appears that the international Internet collective ?Anonymous? was behind the vandalism. The collective claimed responsibility for the incident on its online blog, implying that the Greek entry at the Biennale had been sold to the International Monetary Fund.
The Greek entry was not the sole target of activist action. Placards were erected by Italian and Spanish demonstrators outside the Spanish pavilion, while the US pavilion witnessed a kind of creative intervention atop its glass roof. The motto in the latter case was ?Free Bradley Manning,? referring to the 23-year-old US army solder who was charged with leaking a classified video of an US Apachi helicopter killing Iraqi civilians.
Meanwhile, a banner at the Greek pavilion explains that the ?Sold out? sign has nothing to do with artistic creativity. The Anonymous collective has been active since 2008 and seems to be drawn to public artworks.
The Venice Biennale runs to November 27.