Friday, May 8, 2015

Mosque installed at Venice Biennale tests city’s tolerance for Islam

By Randy Kennedy
A gathering at Santa Maria della Misericordia, a Catholic church that has been transformed into a mosque for the Venice Biennale. Credit Casey Kelbaugh for The New York Times
ITALY---For the next seven months... Venice will find itself in the middle of the roiling debate about Islam’s place in Europe. On Friday, as part of the Venice Biennale, a former Catholic church in the Cannaregio neighborhood will open its doors as a functioning mosque, its Baroque walls adorned with Arabic script, its floor covered with a prayer rug angled toward Mecca and its crucifix mosaics hidden behind a towering mihrab, or prayer niche. The transformation is the work of a Swiss-Icelandic artist, Christoph Büchel, who has become known for politically barbed provocations. [link]