Remarks by Chargé d’Affaires Degnan at the Opening of U.S. Pavilion

Venice Biennale - Opening of the U.S. Pavilion featuring Mark Bradford’s exhibition

Remarks by Chargé d’Affaires Degnan at the Opening of U.S. Pavilion featuring Mark Bradford’s exhibition “Tomorrow Is Another Day”

May 11, 2017

(As prepared for delivery)

Welcome everyone to the U.S. Pavilion at this, the 57th Venice International Art Biennale.

It is an honor to be here today for the opening of Mark Bradford’s exhibition “Tomorrow Is Another Day.”

Since the U.S. Pavilion opened in 1930, dozens of art biennales have been held in this gracious structure.  That 1930 opening, by the way, was attended by then United States Ambassador to Italy, John W. Garrett.  Since then, it has become a tradition of sorts for the United States ambassador or Chargé d’Affaires to come to this lovely city to open the U.S. Pavilion for most every art and now also architecture biennale.  It is a tradition that I am pleased to continue.

Over the past eight and a half decades, works by some of America’s most important 20th- and 21st-century artists have been installed in this pavilion.

And now we have Mark Bradford – communicator, artist, educator, social activist and creator of “Tomorrow Is Another Day.”

Mark, you are indeed in excellent company.  And having just toured the pavilion with you and the curators Chris Bedford and Katy Siegel, I can certainly say that to me, at least, it is well deserved honor.

Your work fits well within the great tradition of showcasing the finest America has to offer at this, one of the world’s preeminent – if not the preeminent – international art biennales.  Your work reflects the innovation, the creativity, the vitality of the American spirit.

I want to say to Chris Bedford and Katy Siegel – your work as curators on this exhibition has been extraordinary.  Congratulations.

But this pavilion is not just about the artists and curators who have been showcased.  It is also about those who support the arts.  I am proud that the United States government provided funding for this project and played a role in selecting the artist.

I am also thankful for the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and especially its director, Philip Rylands, and his staff.  Their stewardship of this pavilion for the past 30 years has been truly remarkable.

Finally, this pavilion represents a successful public-private partnership and I want to thank the many, many individuals, foundations, businesses and others who have supported the pavilion.  I can’t name them all, but I must recognize the contributions of at least two of them: the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University and the Baltimore Museum of Art.  Without the generous support of individuals and institutions such as these, we would not be able to share some of what is best about America with the world.