Doug Fishbone's Venetian mini-golf course

Doug Fishbone’s Biennale Golf Course

The American artist brings his mini-golf course to Venice in time for the 2015 Biennale this May

As a golfing destination, Venice will never rival California’s Pebble Beach or Scotland’s St Andrews. Yet this summer, as part of the 2015 Biennale, the city will have a course fit for art lovers and in keeping with curator Okwui Enwezor's wider themes.

The American-born, London-based artist Doug Fishbone, plans to bring his Leisure Land Golf course to the city as part of the festival. Every hole in this nine-hole course will be designed by an artist. This work is typical of Fishbone, who installed 30,000 bananas in Trafalgar Square in 2004; cast himself in a Nigerian film production in 2010; and hung a fake work in Dulwich Picture Gallery earlier this year.



Indeed, in 2012, Fishbone curated a similar work (see video, above), Doug Fishbone and Friends Adventureland Golf, featuring holes made by of the UK’s leading artists, including the Chapman brothers and David Shrigley.

At the time, Fishbone described how he had been intrigued by the sculptural quality of mini-golf courses ever since he was a kid. However, this Venetian iteration appears, despite its name, to be a little more critical. Its organisers, the British arts body EM 15, say the Leisure Land Golf course will “explore the histories and relationships – both real and imagined – between work, leisure, colonialism, tourism, information and economics.”


Installation view of Doug Fishbone and Friends Adventureland Golf (2012)
Installation view of Doug Fishbone and Friends Adventureland Golf (2012)

And indeed, the holes creators include tougher, less visually-minded figures, such as the Israeli architect and geographer Eyal Weizman and the Ghanaian-born writer and director John Akomfrah, as well as Yinka Shonibare, Lindsay Seers, Hetain Patel, Candice Jacobs, Ellie Harrison, Yara El-Sherbini and Fishbone himself. So, while the golf maybe easy, the ideas and theory behind the course might be a little knotty this time around.


score card from Doug Fishbone and Friends Adventureland Golf (2012)
score card from Doug Fishbone and Friends Adventureland Golf (2012)

Anyone looking to put around should visit it at 40, Castello in Venice; it will be open Tuesday – Sunday,  9th May–26th July 2015. For more go here, and for greater insight into how a golf course can qualify as an artwork get a copy of Defining Contemporary Art, which features contributions by this year’s Biennale curator Okwui Enwezor.