At least 100 protestors on Wednesday, the second day of previews for the 2024 Venice Biennale, gathered in front of the American and Israeli pavilions, which are positioned next to each other in the Giardini Della Biennale, calling for a free Palestine. 

The demonstrators chanted “shame on you” and “Biden, Biden, you can’t hide. We charge you with genocide,” drawing out the role the United States has played in Israel’s ongoing war through billions in aid and weapons.

Visitors to the Biennale watched the group who waved Palestinian flags, held up several large posters with graphic images of soldiers and the hashtags “No death in Venice” and “ANGA”, the acronym for Art Not Genocide Alliance, an international group of artists, writers, and cultural workers who had previously called for the exclusion of Israel from this year’s Biennale.

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The Israeli pavilion was closed both yesterday and today. Ruth Patir, the artist chosen to represent Israel at the Biennale, said Tuesday that it will remain closed until “a ceasefire and hostage release agreement” is reached between Hamas and Israel.

The US Pavilion, which features work by Jeffrey Gibson, the first Native American artist to represent the country solo at the Biennale, became a flashpoint during the protest after a man dressed head to toe in matching bright blue outfit including a ball cap and blazer, stormed into the exhibition and began shouting “this is the real genocide pavilion” while visitors looked and and filmed the incident with their phones.

Shortly after, two people climbed on top of Gibson’s 10-by-18.4-by-17-foot concrete and fiberglass sculpture made of a group of pedestals and waving a black and white keffiyeh.

An hour later there was a long queue to enter the US Pavilion and no sign that a protest had occurred, apart from the red flyers that littered the Giardini’s gravel grounds. The leaflets read “No Death in Venice. No to the Genocide Pavilion.”