Political issues that excite newsprint, airwaves and social media are getting a very open airing at the 58th Venice Biennale contemporary art fair. They include fake news, migration, poverty, global warming and armed conflict.

American curator Ralph Rugoff titled the main exhibition “May You Live in Interesting Times,” which opens Saturday and runs through Nov. 24. Rugoff says contemporary art in particular allows issues to be examined in all their complexity.

Many of the 79 artists invited to participate in the main exhibition make very literal references to present-day woes. One artist transported a hulking smugglers’ ship where 700 migrants perished in 2015 to the edge of the Arsenale former shipyard. Another constructed a robot that mechanically spreads a blood-like substance evenly around.

The wreck of the 'Barca Nostra' fishing boat, which sank in the Mediterranean Sea in 2015 with 700 migrants on board, is displayed at the 58th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
The wreck of the ‘Barca Nostra’ fishing boat, which sank in the Mediterranean Sea in 2015 with 700 migrants on board, is displayed at the 58th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

The Biennale extends into 90 national pavilions.

Ghana pavilion curator Nana Oforiatta Ayim smiles during the 58th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
Ghana pavilion curator Nana Oforiatta Ayim smiles during the 58th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
A man walks through the
A man walks through the “Fogscreen’ installation by artist Jitish Kallat at the India pavilion during the 58th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
Venice Biennale President Paolo Baratta, right, and US curator of the Biennale Ralph Rugoff are engulfed by a smoke effect as they pose at the 58th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
Venice Biennale President Paolo Baratta, right, and US curator of the Biennale Ralph Rugoff are engulfed by a smoke effect as they pose at the 58th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
A man looks the
A man looks the “Tabernacle” sculpture part of “Liberty” installation by artist Martin Puryear, at the United States’ pavilion during the 58th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
Israeli artist Aya Ben Ron stands by her
Israeli artist Aya Ben Ron stands by her “Field Hospital” installation during the 58th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
Visitors watch the
Visitors watch the “Field Hospital” installation by artist Aya Ben Ron on display at Israel’s pavilion during the 58th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
A woman takes a picture of the
A woman takes a picture of the “Mondo Cane” installation by artists Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys shown at the Belgium pavilion during the 58th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
A visitor stands next to
A visitor stands next to “Cloister Redoubt or Cloistered Doubt” sculpture part of the “Liberty” installation by artist Martin Puryear, at the United States’ pavilion during the 58th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
United States curator Brooke Kamin Rapaport, left, poses for a picture at the
United States curator Brooke Kamin Rapaport, left, poses for a picture at the “Liberty” installation by artist Martin Puryear at the United States’ pavilion during the 58th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
A man walks past an installation at the Madagascar pavilion during the 58th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
A man walks past an installation at the Madagascar pavilion during the 58th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
A man looks the
A man looks the “Mondo Cane” installation by artists Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys shown at Belgium’s pavilion during the 58th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
A man looks the
A man looks the “Aso Oke” sculpture part of “Liberty” installation by artist Martin Puryear, at the United States’ pavilion during the 58th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
An actress performs at the
An actress performs at the “Deep See Blue Surrounding You” installation by artist Laure Prouvost, at the French pavilion during the 58th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
Visitors watch the
Visitors watch the “Moving Backwards” installation by artists Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz on display at Switzerland’s pavilion during the 58th Biennale of Arts exhibition in Venice, Italy, Tuesday, May 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

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