Something everyone talked about but no one has seen at the Venice Biennale is Gregor Schneider’s “Cube Venice 2005”. All we got to see at the Arsenale was the artist’s video proposal for an unrealized installation which would have been a 50-foot black cube plonked in the middle of St. Mark’s Place. The cube, made of scaffolding covered in black fabric, is inspired by the Ka’aba in Mecca, the holy site of Islam.
According to a scrolling text on the screen written by the artist, the work was meant to remind us of the cultural elements people of different religions have in common. Unsurprisingly, the work was rejected for “political reasons” and “against the wishes of the curator”. City authorities in Venice admitted that they vetoed the installation because “they were afraid it could harm the religious feelings of the Islamic community and block the view of part of the square”.