The Venice Biennale is the premier event of the contemporary art world. Other events and fairs are prominent, but something special about Venice — the long history, the star curators, the romantic location, et cetera — keeps it on top.

The focal point of the Venice Biennale is a collection of national pavilions in a park, the Giardini. To an outside observer, the pavilions may seem random in their architectural styles (which widely differ) and in the selection of countries on display (Great Britain, Uruguay, and Japan are three of the total 29). There have been numerous calls for an update to the…