Indecent homophobic racket against Milovan Farronato cannot be tolerated

Intolerable and unworthy is the indecent homophobic rabble-rousing against Milovan Farronato, curator of the Italian Pavilion at the 2019 Venice Biennale.

After the news of the appointment of Milovan Farronato as curator of the Italian Pavilion at the 2019 Venice Biennale, perhaps few expected that media attention would focus not on the critic’s past experience, not on his ideas, not on what contours the Pavilion curated by him might take, not on the comparison with the other curators who came out the losers of the selections, but on the indecent homophobic gazzarre that has been unleashed against Farronato since the first hours. And if the comments of many social users, who wrote a little bit everywhere, could also be quickly branded as mere background noise, it is nevertheless necessary to spend a few words on the post published by Elena Donazzan, councillor of the Veneto Region, on her Facebook page. It is necessary to do so, because Elena Donazzan holds the delegations for education and equal opportunities. Here is what she wrote: “She, pardon him, is #MilovanFarronato: yesterday he was appointed by the Minister of Culture Alberto Bonisoli to lead the Italian Pavilion at the 2019 Venice Biennale dArte. Yes, you got it right. He has been called to represent Italy at next year’s Venice Biennale dArte: not at the Venice Carnival then, but at the most important cultural event for the Veneto region and all of Italy, he will be our business card to the thousands of international visitors who will attend the Biennale. The photos taken from his Instagram profile (-> comment themselves: let me be clear, what he does in private does not interest me. But may I say that when one has to represent a nation it would serve to be at least ... more authoritative? I don’t know about you, but I have no words!”

Elena Donazzan’s statements are of unconscionable gravity, and they cannot be tolerated in theItaly of 2018, even more so when they come from an alderman who has the delegations for education and equal opportunities. With a post like the one above, opened by an aggressive and childish joke (“she, pardon him”) and aggravated by remarks that denote a very poor knowledge of contemporary art circles (since none of the Biennale visitors would pause to judge a national pavilion by the way its curator dresses, and since this modesty that the alderman believes can somehow hold them back, is simply nonexistent), Elena Donazzan has certainly failed in her institutional duties: Suppressing discrimination, fighting homophobia, encouraging respect for others, fighting bullying, promoting culture. Elena Donazzan, in open contradiction with herself when she states that she is not interested in Milovan Farronato’s private sphere, perhaps misses the fact that a curator’s authority is not measured by the clothes he wears, but by his resume, his projects and his experiences. It matters little, then, that Milovan Farronato is a critic with an international profile, that he has held the position of director and curator of the Fiorucci Art Trust for seven years, that he has been associate curator of the Galleria Civica di Modena for four years, that he has taught at the IUAV in Venice, that he has curated exhibitions halfway around the world, and that he writes in various trade magazines: better, for Elena Donazzan, to focus on Instagram photos. One can then animate endless discussions about which was, of the ten curators initially selected, the most suitable for the Italian Pavilion, but no one would include their orientation or their attire among the elements of judgment.

Milovan Farronato
Milovan Farronato

And if it is necessary to speak of bad business cards, to that category it is, if anything, necessary to ascribe the assessor’s statements. Which should prompt us to question whether Elena Donazzan is fit for office: it is unacceptable that an alderman in charge of education and equal opportunities, instead of congratulating the curator and wishing him well in his work (as any institutional figure of any political orientation should do) should launch into such reactionary and violent remarks, the only result of which was to unleash a jumble of homophobic comments, fortunately then submerged by those who prompted Elena Donazzan to assess the unseemly brutality of her remarks. And what is worse, is that three days after the incident, the councilor did not even deign to apologize for her words. An apology owed not so much to Milovan Farronato (who, of course, as a curator with an international profile, was not in the least bit hurt by Elena Donazzan’s words), but to all and sundry who still suffer discrimination because they are different, because they have a certain sexual orientation, because they like to dress one way rather than another: a councillor for education and equal opportunities should defend with all his might those who still, because of the ignorance, self-righteous respectability and retrograde stupidity of many people, encounter daily obstacles that prevent them from living their relationship with society with serenity and fullness. Here it is: Elena Donazzan ’s thoughtless attack moves in the opposite direction, and we therefore wait for her political side to distance itself and resolutely reaffirm the need to fight discrimination, as well as bullying (including keyboard bullying), and for the councilor to apologize to the entire civilized world.

In the meantime, fortunately, we are pleased to note that, at the moment, disdain prevails on social media for Elena Donazzan’s phrases: we are therefore convinced that, in the space of a few hours, this affair will no longer be remembered (or, if anything, we will remember it as a tiny episode defeated by culture, the real one) and we will finally be able to return to talking about art, especially since the day before yesterday Milovan Farronato gave his first interview as curator of the Italian Pavilion to Rolling Stone. The critic anticipated a pavilion where there will be “names with different profiles and from different generations,” that the artists “will not be separated, divided,” but “there will be dialogues between them,” that “there will not be a section dedicated to one or the other, but an encounter and maybe even a clash, an opposition, a concomitance of meanings,” and that the choice of the three names that Farronato will bring to the Biennale was dictated by “being able to tell a unified story, made up of different individualities.” And he went on to express appreciation for the contemporary Italian scene: “things are improving and Italian institutions are also active. Rivoli, Museo Madre, Museion or Mambo with its new director are important realities, with significant activities. Finally the art in Italy can be at the level of international standards.” We will see, when the names of the three artists are announced, what Milovan Farronato has in store for us.

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