Hopes were high for the 2014 Biennale Architettura in Venice. Curator Rem Koolhaas had announced that the exhibition would not be a fashion parade of the latest architectural styles; rather, it would be a historical show dealing with the “fundamentals” of architecture. Koolhaas had asked that each of the national pavilions address how the country it represented had “absorbed” modernity in the century since 1914. Research was to be as important as display, and the expectation was for a rich variety of narratives from many different places and points of view. One section of the Biennale, Monditalia, situated in the Corderia of the Arsenale, addressed developments in twentieth-century Italy through forty individually curated...

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