Order was the order of the evening as thousands of people set sail for the Gala opening of the Sydney Biennale #18 Thursday night. After the 2010 migration debacle during which one of the boats broke down leaving so many stranded on the wharf and worse, sober, the 2012 operation was comparatively clinical. We know that the organisers can’t win when it comes to crowd control … damned if they do and damned if they don’t, the 2012 party was a herding triumph. Indupitably, the Biennale has learned a great deal from the blue heeler and employed lots of scary young people to keep everyone in line … literally. The security was tight with tickets and wrist bands checked at check points along the way and more junior people herders making sure that elderly artists didn’t stray from the beaten track. Riff raff were quickly evicted from the Island, no voting, no beg your pardons. There was good food, plenty of drinks and the fun people eventually gathered out the back near the toilets, as is their want. And no one was burdened or bothered by unecessary and/or unsightly art. Re the Biennale itself …. the social secretary has been seen sniffing around with Melbourne girlfriends Emelia and Natalya and so we imagine a few highly judgemental comments are on the way. In the mean time the Sydney Biennale is a happening thing at Cockatoo Island, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Pier 2/3 and Museum of Contemporary Art. Photos by Nat and Dave.