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Alicja Kwade 2018 Biennale

Venice / Basel / Berlin 2024

Last updated on Feb 01, 2024

Global Perspectives on International Contemporary Art and Culture: Venice Biennale / Art Basel / Berlin

Faculty: Ren Fiss

Venice Biennale / Art Basel / Berlin

May 28: Zoom program meeting*

In Europe: June 7-24, 2024

Venice Housing Check-in: June 7, 2024

Berlin Housing Checkout: June 24, 2024 

*Before traveling abroad, the class will hold a preliminary one-day online seminar.

Interested in this program? Check out the class overview from Faculty Ren Fiss

Info Sessions:

Tuesday January 30, 3:15-4pm, ZOOM

Thursday February 15, 11:15am-12pm, Room E1

Thursday February 22, 11:15am-12pm, Room E1

Two photos of Venice made into one image side by side together: cityscape and Biennale entrance.

Venice Biennale, Recreated beach for Sun & Sea live opera about climate crisis in Lithuania Pavilion

Program Description

Open to undergraduate and graduate students

This course explores highly anticipated international art spectacles in Venice and Basel, as well as the city of Berlin, capitol of the international art world.

We begin at the 2024 Venice Biennale, an event that brings creatives from all over the globe to exhibit in unique venues throughout this dramatic city of canals and islands. Themed this year as FOREIGNERS EVERYWHERE, the Biennale will focus on artists who are themselves foreigners, immigrants, expatriates, diasporic, émigrés, exiled, and refugees—especially those who have moved between the Global South and the Global North.

An installation at the 2017 Venice Biennale by Chiharu Shiota, two long, slim boats of distressed wood angled up from the ground. Rising out from the boats is a complex red web, forming a cloud above them from which dangle hundreds of metal keys.

We will then travel to Basel, Switzerland, to attend Art Basel. Art Basel in Switzerland is the most influential art show on a global scale. Even though its events in Miami and Hong Kong enjoy immense popularity in their own right, the show in Messe Basel is where it all originated and its traditions and modernity create a unique blend for art lovers.

CCA Students visit site of former Berlin Wall with artists who grew up in former East Germany

Finally, in Berlin, we will explore the reinvention of the German capital as one of the most innovative and cutting-edge centers for contemporary cultural production. The Berlin cultural scene draws much of its energy from the city’s tumultuous history: the complex intertwining of past and present that make up Berlin’s ever-changing political, artistic, and architectural landscape. Students will be introduced to a wide range of international practitioners and experts: we will visit artist studios, private collections, and non-profit spaces; meet with curators, artist collectives, architects and gallerists.

Reichstag Dome, Berlin (German parliament building)

Student Testimonials

"This course included a worldly view of art, one that I had not experienced up until this trip."

"The field trips alone were the most fantastic part of our trip... We kept being met with smiles, leaving our classroom time with even more joy, knowledge and thoughts to apply to our own works and futures as both students, artists and community members"

“Ren is a fantastic trip leader. In many ways, “class” and “lecture” became completely abstract. We had discussions over dinner, outside museums, walking the streets of Venice or Berlin. I really loved this not just for my learning style, which responds far more to that kind of engagement than to a classroom, but because seeing, experiencing, and learning could happen in the same instant. It felt very rich and dense because of that.”

About the Instructor

Ren Fiss is a professor, writer and curator whose current research examines global branding practices in relation to the mechanisms of globalization in the contemporary art world and its accompanying exhibition economies, with a focus on how citizenship and historical memory are visually produced. Her case studies examine different post-Cold War "brandscapes" in Vietnam, Germany, and South Africa, where the expediency of culture is accelerated in order to meet the demands of unification in the wake of political upheaval or trauma. Some of her past projects include Blue Flowers in a Catastrophic Landscape (Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid) and Necessary Force: Art under the Police State (University of New Mexico). She has also authored books and articles on German cultural history. Fiss holds a PhD from Yale University and a BA from Brown University. Prior to academic teaching, she worked in the curatorial departments of the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, and the New Museum in New York City. Born in New York City to German parents, she has worked in Germany in conjunction with exhibition projects, grants and residencies.

Learn more about Ren Fiss »

Germany four photos.png


  • Undergraduate students: Successful completion of at least sophomore level by summer 2024 and instructor approval.
  • For 3000-level History of Art and Visual Culture Elective credit: Intro to the Modern Arts (HAAVC-1080)
  • Graduate students: Instructor approval

In addition, all students must be in good academic, conduct, and financial standing for the 2023–24 academic year. Students who are on probation in fall 2023 are not eligible to enroll in a 2024 summer study-abroad program.

10-Museum der Dinge.jpg

Course Satisfies

  • For undergraduate students, this course satisfies a History of Art and Visual Culture elective (HAAVC-3000) or a Social Science & History elective (SSHIS-2000).
  • For graduate students, this course satisfies a Grad-wide elective (GELCT-6100), Curatorial Practice elective (CURPR-6060), or Fine Arts Elective (6480).

Program Tuition

$7,000 + $50 summer registration fee

Included in program tuition:

  • 3 credits; housing; some meals; local transportation, including transportation from Venice to Basel to Berlin; guest artists; field trips; entrance fees; and travel/health insurance

Not included in program tuition:

  • Airfare to Venice, Italy, and return from Berlin, Germany; ground transportation to and from airports in Venice and Berlin; most meals


Please see Frequently Asked Questions or email