In another post on this blog we talked about the imposing Palazzo Grassi in Venice and luxury tycoon Francois-Henri Pinault’s enviable collection of international contemporary art. In order not to repeat ourselves, we will simply remind travelers that the Venetian palace as well as the site known as Punta della Dogana (which has been converted into a unique exhibition space) both host exhibitions that showcase works from Pinault’s collection. The actual exhibition on view until the end of the year – that is,December 31, 2012– has been given the disquieting name “In Praise of Doubt”.
La Punta della Dogana
The repurposed old Venetian customs house known as Punta della Dogana has an industrial air without having ever been so and a history rife with trade. It is a triangular-shaped building which opens on two sides to the waters of the canal and is attached at the base to the Palazzo Grassi. After its restoration, the building has been used as an exhibition space. It’s high, thick walls now serve as the backdrop for the collections of the multimillionaire Pinault.
All of the exhibitions are curated by Caroline Bourgeois and take many months to organize. This is due in part to the complexity in mounting and managing the works, since many of the installations and sculptures are of such a large scale and made of such diverse materials that they are difficult to move.
In Praise of Doubt
That is the name of the exhibition currently on display which runs until the end of the year. For it, a variety of works was selected from all over the world that raise questions about what is like to be changeable, about the relationship of man in a liquid environment, about the limits of transformation and something as slippery as the adaptability or the capacity of survival when the world begins such dizzying changes that a panic breaks loose.
Caroline Bourgeois has chosen not only which works are included but also the location and placement of each in the exhibition, so that each poses a question about the following and the entirety becomes a dialogue with the spectator-viewer. If we stop to view the installations by Chinese artist Chen Zhen, we may see a visual tour of the five continents of our planet or an ironic look at women as icons and objects for marketing or for sexual satisfaction (symbolized, for example, by the Barbie Doll), which references the work of North American artist Paul McCarthy. The show closes with art projects that examine the role ofVeniceas a catalyst for avant-garde art expressions over the centuries.
The artists exhibited there are very much contemporary artists – the majority of the artists were born after 1940 and some are not yet even 35 years old. As a result, it offers a unique opportunity to see what is happening in the worldwide contemporary art scene. Here is the link to the exhibition, which also has information about how to purchase tickets: http://www.palazzograssi.it/en/exhibition/in-praise-of-doubt
You can even rent apartments in Venice with views of the Palacio Grassi or the Punta della Dogana. What are you waiting for?