PANKABESTIA Punk Beasts of the Swimming Cities A retrospective of “Swimming Cities of Serenissima”

PANKABESTIA. Punk Beasts of the Swimming Cities

As the 53rd Venice Biennale enters its last days and the world’s art community reflects, Anonymous Gallery, curator Spy Emerson and the artist SWOON provide a glimpse of what critic Jerry Saltz called “…The most moving moment I had at the Biennale…”

“Pankabestia: Punk Beasts of the Swimming Cities of Serenissima”, is a retrospective of artist Swoon’s “Swimming Cities of Serenissima”, her recent invasion of the Venice Biennale. Traveling from the Karst region of Slovenia to Venice, Italy, Swoon and 30+ artists braved the waters of the Adriatic Sea and navigated a fleet of three intricately hand crafted vessels. The exhibition opens on November 20, 2009 and includes artwork, objects, and a series of performances based on the “Swimming Cities” invasion.

The environment/experience will include large-scale wall drawings, original Swimming Cities boat installations, portions of the ships, found objects acquired from sea, performances from the original members of the journey, beautiful photographic documentation from artist Tod Seelie, and art from Spy Emerson, Monica Canilao and many others.

Seelie, whose portraiture ( )will be featured in “Pankabestia,” documented the journey from Slovenia to Italy. His documentation of the journey can be found at

Money raised with this campaign will go to the production of the exhibition, theater performances and the series of peripheral events in New York and Miami that will coincide with “Pankabestia.”

The following prints will be offered as a part of this campaign:

Switchback Sisters –

Tod Seelie:
Print 1 –
Print 2 –
Print 3 –

For a full calendar of Pankabestia events and performances, and availability of tickets, please visit from November 1, 2009 on.

Curator Spy Emerson’s thoughts on the experience:

“Pankabestia”- what the Italian villagers called us when we floated into town on our junk rafts. It translates to “punk beasts”, and by all accounts we were – magical, grubby, unruly creatures carrying out an enchanted mythical scene, looking like bits of broken dreams, drifting.

The townspeople were apprehensive along the rural canals to Venice. They locked their doors and windows when we stopped in town, and they watched. The beauty of the rafts was captivating, the poetic pilings and forced perspectives, stairs spiraling upward, and tiny pagodas with corrugated reflections. The brave came to look… then the curious, and before long all people were welcoming us with gifts and food. In a remote fishing village, a woman told me in broken English, we kissed a breath of life into her old home, and we will not soon be forgotten.

The Swimming Cities of Serenissima was Living Art, designed by SWOON, and executed by 30 individual artists known for their abilities to make unreal things happen. Constructed was a reality without right angles, standard rules did not apply there. Alice, Maria, and Old Hickory were the protagonists of our story, and our traveling homes. Living on the rafts, the crew became a visual part of the large moving sculptures, and participants in the mad drama flourishing in turbulence, primal urges, euphoria and fear.

In retrospect, I see that we were punk beasts. We raided dumpsters, slept on the ground, shat in the woods, and laughed in the rain. We let loose our social restraints to be free to create and experience something profound,
to drag our fingertips along the underside of bridges, and jump the fences of the Venice Biennale.”

spy emerson

Anonymous Gallery 169 Bowery New York, NY
Opens Nov 20 6-9pm