Crowley-Harris Thoth at the Venice Biennale

An announcement from OTO dated 10 April 2013:


The 55th International Art Exhibition, or Venice Biennale, titled Il Palazzo Enciclopedico (The Encyclopedic Palace), is curated by Massimiliano Gioni and was organized by la Biennale di Venezia, chaired by Paolo Baratta. It opens to the public on June 1 and runs through November 24.

O.T.O. International Headquarters and the Warburg Institute arranged for the inclusion of nine of the Aleister Crowley and Frieda Harris Thoth Tarot paintings. We have held back releasing news of their inclusion until the general press releases from the Biennale went out, which happened in mid-March.

A few Thoth paintings have been shown before. Leaving aside Harris’ own shows in the 1940s, the first was the inclusion of “Atu XX, The Aeon” in the O.T.O.-curated October Gallery Crowley art show of 1997, which had a brief run. The second was the inclusion of four trumps (Atu II – The High Priestess, Atu IX – The Hermit, Atu XVIII – The Moon and Atu XIX – The Aeon) in the 2008 Traces du Sacré show at the Centre Pompidou, which ran for just over 3 months.

The Biennale is the first time so many Thoth paintings will be on public display for such a length of time—about 5 months. Attendance at the last Biennale approached 400,000, so this will introduce the Thoth Tarot to a large, new and sophisticated audience.

 We wish to thank Massimiliano Gioni and his assistant-curator Helga Just Christoffersen for their inclusion of Crowley and Harris, and the Warburg Institute for making the loan of the paintings possible.

The nine paintings included are:

Atu VIII – Adjustment, 1940
Atu XII – The Hanged Man, 1938–40
Atu XV – The Devil, 1938–40
Atu XVI – The Tower (or: War), 1939
Atu XVIII – The Moon, 1938–40
Atu XIX – The Sun, 1938
Queen of Wands, 1938–40
Ace of Cups, 1940
Queen of Cups, 1938–40

As a side note, this year’s Biennale also includes work by two other Thelemite painters, Harry Smith and Xul Solar.

For information, see:

La Biennale de Venezia (English)
La Biennale di Venezia – 55th International Art Exhibition – The Encyclopedic Palace
Venice Biennale to showcase new generation of young British artists
Venice Biennale Artist List Announced

Announcement by Hymenaeus Beta – reproduced with the author’s permission from



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