Venice Biennale invites heavy thinking on political issues

Political issues that excite newsprint, airwaves and social media are getting a very open airing at the 58th Venice Biennale contemporary art fair

VENICE, Italy -- Political issues that excite newsprint, airwaves and social media are getting a very open airing at the 58th Venice Biennale contemporary art fair. They include fake news, migration, poverty, global warming and armed conflict.

American curator Ralph Rugoff titled the main exhibition "May You Live in Interesting Times," which opens Saturday and runs through Nov. 24. Rugoff says contemporary art in particular allows issues to be examined in all their complexity.

Many of the 79 artists invited to participate in the main exhibition make very literal references to present-day woes. One artist transported a hulking smugglers' ship where 700 migrants perished in 2015 to the edge of the Arsenale former shipyard. Another constructed a robot that mechanically spreads a blood-like substance evenly around.

The Biennale extends into 90 national pavilions.