Some dream of a palace filled with riches, but for Italian-American artist Marino Auriti, the wealth he wished to hoard was entirely that of knowledge. In 1955—fifty-eight years before New Museum curator and this year's Venice Biennale International Exhibition curator, Massimiliano Gioni, would honor his concept at the 55th Venice Biennale—Auriti patented the idea to house all of the world’s knowledge in a single 136-story building (700 meters high and encompassing 16 city blocks in Washington, D.C.) and began to build. Though never realized, Auriti’s concept has been chosen for the theme of the Venice Biennale—his architectural model has been carefully packed and shipped overseas where it will be met in perfect company. “The biennale model itself is based on the impossible desire to concentrate the infinite worlds of contemporary art in a single place,” Gioni says, “a task that now seems as dizzyingly absurd as Auriti’s dream.”
Installation shot of Marino Auriti'sIl Encyclopedico Palazzo del Mondo (Encyclopedic Palace of the World), (ca. 1950s) in "The Encylopedic Palace" at the 55th Venice Biennale.