“Punta della Dogana”

Six exhibitions to see in Venice during the Biennale

From 13 May to 26 November, a dense programme has been scheduled at Venice for the 57th Biennale. From Xavier Veilhan’s “Merzbau musical” to Mark Bradford’s social project, we take a little look at the openings not to miss. This year, the Venice Biennale is being steered by a Frenchwoman, Christine Macel, curator of the department of contemporary and prospective creation at the Centre Pompidou. The event’s theme, “Viva Arte Viva”, covers the capacity of artists to “invent their own universes” and “inject vitality into the world we live in”, in the words Paolo Baratta, president of the Venice Biennale foundation. This faith in art and the future is a deliberate choice on Baratta’s part after a beautiful but austere 2015 vintage, curated by Okwui Enwezor (“All the World’s Futures”). The Italian city will be welcoming numerous exhibitions and national pavilions simultaneously. Much to see, to hear, and to reflect on…   French Pavilion: a new-generation recording studio This year, the French Pavilion at the Venice Biennale is being overseen by Xavier Veilhan, and shouldered by curators Lionel Bovier (director of the MAMCO in Geneva) and Christian Marclay (artist and musician). Veilhan, as successor to Céleste Boursier-Mougenot, is setting up a project called “Merzbau musical” which plays on the volumes and decors of the French Pavilion’s space, drawing inspiration from a recording studio. The exhibition’s title is a nod to Kurt Schwitters whose “Merzbau” consisted of a habitable construction of variable dimensions, composed of salvaged objects. Schwitters’ project, initially intended to be named “Cathédrale de la misère érotique” (Cathedral of Erotic Misery), started in Hannover, then continued in Oslo and New York, throughout the artist’s life. In the French Pavilion, Xavier Veilhan places at the public’s disposal all types of musical instruments – some existing, others invented for the...

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When museums deal with private collectors

The Art Newspaper reports that for several years now, museum directors have been organising exhibitions for collectors with private museums overseas, to make up for their lack of public funds. Frances Morris, director of the Tate Modern, notably organised a post-war Asian and European art exhibition for the private museum of collector George Economou in Athens, just as curator Mark Godfrey coordinated a minimalist art retrospective for him earlier in the year. And the Greek collector, a board member of the Tate Foundation, made a big donation to the Tate Modern… Iwona Blazwick, director of the Whitechapel Gallery, also settled a three-year agreement with the British-Canadian Weston family, in 2011, in exchange for which an exhibition was organised in their residence in Windsor, Florida. Meanwhile, director of the LACMA, Michael Govan, has worked with François Pinault to help him acquire an installation by Bruce Nauman, For Beginners (2010), and the museum today owns 50 % of the work. Bear in mind that Govan also curated an arte povera exhibition at Punta della Dogana, Pinault’s private museum in...

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Palazzo Grassi: 10 years already 

May 2005. The newspaper Le Monde published a commentary by François Pinault:  “Je renonce” in capitals, I give up. What was the big collector giving up? The building of a contemporary art museum to house his collection on Seguin Island in Boulogne-Billancourt, just west of Paris. “Administrative obstacles” had got the better of the project, launched in 2000.But François Pinault, being the businessman that he is, would not let the giving up of this project gnaw away at him. Less than a year later, in April 2006, he inaugurated the Palazzo Grassi in Venice. He brought out the big guns for the occasion: the acquisition of a building for €27 million, five months of renovation entrusted to Japanese Tadao Ando for €5 million. In 2007, the Fondation Pinault extended its empire to the Punta della Dogana, having obtained the green light from Venice to invest in and develop the site. This April, the Palazzo Grassi, made over by Pinault, will be ten years old. At the latest Art Media Agency dinner-debate, its director Martin Bethenod retraced “this fine adventure at a frenzied pace”. It was in 2010 that Martin Bethenod joined the frenzied pace, as chief executive officer and director of the Palazzo Grassi-Punta della Dogana. François Pinault obviously knew who he was dealing with. Martin Bethenod was behind the FIAC’s return to the spotlight — he was its General Director from 2004 to 2010 —, but also a critical success thanks to his artistic direction of the Paris Nuits Blanches event in 2010. So what’s the Bethenod recipe? Solid knowledge of the world of art and its workings. Knowledge that he acquired at the French Ministry of Culture as deputy head editor of Connaissance des Arts, and also at the Centre Pompidou where he was head of the...

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François Pinault Foundation announces two new exhibitions in Venice

Venice, 3 Janurary 2011, Art Media Agency (AMA). Punta della Dogana presents “In Praise of Doubt”, a presentation of historical pieces and new works, many of which were made specifically for the Dogana. The works question the idea of uncertainty and convictions about identity and revisit the relationship between intimate and exhibition space. Of the twenty artists featured at the exhibition, almost half was not shown during previous exhibitions of the François Pinault Collection. A second exhibition, “The World is Yours”, at the Palazzo Grassi rethinks the traditional limits between the geography of art and the manner we associate with others and the world. The exhibition inauguration coincides with the Venice Biennale and will feature works by forty artists from twenty countries.  Once again, the majority of these artists were not shown during previous exhibitions of the Pinault collection. For Pinault, the two exhibitions present visions of art that are distinct, but complementary, like a visionary force. The works were selected by Caroline Bourgeois.  She has curated numerous exhibitions, including “Money”, “Joe Jonas”, “Valie Export”, “Cao Fei”, “Abdel Abdessemed” and “Loris Gréaud”, as well as a number of François Pinault exhibitions, such as “The Passage of Time” in Lille, “A Certain State of the World” in Moscow and “Who is Afraid of Artists?” at Dinard. In Praise of Doubt opened on 10 April and “The World is Yours” will run from 4...

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