US Pavilion: Test Case, or Warning?

“The genius of a man, who thinks he has discovered the formal truths, reconciles the truths that kill with the truths that authorize killing.” – René Char

Walls, ceilings, stairs, columns, doors, windows, frames, roof, details; although there are no major stairs in the US Pavilion, it’s only fitting that the architects of record, William Adams Delano and Chester Holmes Aldrich, followed, to some degree, the Palladian system for building. Not only because the host city is Venice—which is of course Palladio’s city—but also since such a reference harkens back to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, itself a Palladian Villa. But, would it be correct to say that the US, and its pavilion today bespeaks a Jeffersonian vision of yeoman farmers, non-interventionism, and most importantly, a deep weariness toward government, and the demand to constantly be on guard for its possible corruption?

Who is to say, but in light of the very recent scandals—and their related political theatrics—that currently mire the Obama Administration—from the alleged Benghazi “cover-up,” to the selective use of the Internal Revenue Service to target political rivals, to the surveillance of the Associated Press, to the proliferation of drone attacks, to the unprecedented whistleblower prosecutions, and general lack of prosecutions against financial institutions, not to mention the hopefully dwindling War in Afghanistan—it would be hard to say that the national pavilion, and the government that it represents, does not stand as a symbol for a new kind of perpetual vigilance. Unlike the Jeffersonian ideals though, wherein the citizenry is tasked with being the watchdog for wrongful government, it would seem that now is the time in which the US has inverted the right to police justly.

In any case, this text presents a paradox, as a US citizen is here allowed the voice to protest such a flipping of the roles and moreover the “rules.” To this end, the only true test for the pavilion and the nation, that is, if both are ever to return to their implicit originary values, is to check in, over the course of the Biennale, and see the peoples’ and the government’s response to said affairs. But instead of simply passing such trials, could now be the time in which we all move beyond systems of suspicion in the first place?

Adam Kleinman


The Bronx Museum of the Arts
Sarah Sze
Carey Lovelace; Holly Block
Budget provided by the state:
$ 3.400.000 (€ 2,629,951)
Open Call?
Selection procedure:
The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs issues an open call for proposals to all U.S. curators at non-profit arts organizations. Proposals are then reviewed by an advisory committee convened by the National Endowment for the Arts.


Carey Lovelace
The United States of America
Lives and works in:
The United States of America
No. of participations in the venice biennale:


Sarah Sze
The United States of America, 1969
Lives and works in:
The United States of America
No. of participations in the venice biennale:
Represented by galleries in:
London and New York

Politics & Economics

State System:
Federal presidential constitutional republic
Ruling Political Party:
The Democratic Party controls the Senate and the Presidency. The Republican Party the House of Representatives.
Population (World Bank, 2011):
GDP per capita (World Bank, 2011):
Unemployment (World Bank, 2011):
8.9% of the labor force
Net OECD ODA Aid Donated (2011):
Military Expenditure (SIPRI, 2011):


Coalition of the Willing


Country independent since:
1776 (from Britain)
Last Major Border Revision:
1959 (inclusion of the 50th State of Hawaii)
Colonial History:
Former British colony & former and current colonial power
Former Colonies:
Liberia, Cuba, Panama Canal Zone, Philippines, Kiribati, Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, Marshall Islands, Palau, Federated States of Micronesia. Currently, the United of America controls the territories of Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands.
International Court of Justice cases:
Global Militarization Index (BICC, 2011):
Nuclear Force?
Ongoing Conflicts and Disputes:
Ongoing War on Drugs and War on Terror. Support to the Colombian government in their armed conflict with non-state actors.Targeted killings in Pakistan, Jemen and Somalia. Non-lethal support to the rebels in Syria.
Participation in Multinational Missons:
NATO mission in Afghanistan. UN peacekeeping missions in Afghanistan, Congo, Haiti, Israel & Middle East, Liberia and Sudan.