Tag Archives: contemporary art

Biennale Bites – recap, Day 3

The last preview day was Friday, and the air was considerably more relaxed. Took in more both at the Giardini and in the Arsenale…and managed to catch Best Artist Golden Lion winner Christian Marclay’s “The Clock” before running to a author preview at the new cafe at the Serra greenhouse. Basta for now, although there is much more to see of the Biennale and other shows running concurrently — including the one at the Fortuny that a friend described as the best she’s ever seen there — now that’s saying a lot.

The 54th Biennale opened to the public as of June 4th and will be around until the 27th of November — plenty of time even for off-season travelers. Outside the official venues there are free exhibitions sprinkled throughout palaces, scuole, ex-churches, hotels and businesses in Venice — you can’t help but run into them.

Although art pros from critics to collectors to curators will have lots to say about the composition and creation of this year’s Biennale, there’s something for everyone — see for yourself until November 27.


Biennale Bites – Preview Day 1

A glorious day; even if it did threaten to be a bit drippy, it never quite followed though. Between the ground that must be covered to get your press pass, the many square kilometers of the Giardini, the expansive Arsenale, and seemingly endless number of exhibitions that take place there, composed of and constructed from every conceivable form of medium imaginable — a day is barely enough to get started. I love the corderie (where all the ropes for Venetian vessels were once hewn and wound), a soaring space, which as you walk it presents you with once concept after another: some massive, some grouped, some walk through, some painted, some constructed, some inscrutable, some in your face. “It’s a photograph,” comments one onlooker. “I did one of these at university. Everything old is new again.” Contrast the ancient Corderie with a bright, blooming Giardini, dotted with pavilions large and small, each devoted to a single country, each proudly hosting this year’s representative exhibition.

But expression will not be confined, and neither will the Biennale. It’s as if exhibitions have rained down over the city, searching for a suitable space — and if there was one, it now hosts some irrepressible form of contemporary expression: palaces like the Prada-restored Corner, the Scuola della Misericordia, the Palazzo Grassi, the Fortuny; others like the Punto della Dogana, and more, and more. Sure, some are renovated for hotels, some hold regular concerts for tourists. But it seems the Biennale knew that these spaces were also ideal for something a bit more — vibrant — and has managed to bring the point home.

Whether the works are new or revived, comprehensible or less so, it’s a joyous thing for lots of reasons, this Biennale, not the least of which is being a catalyst in bringing old structures back to life and filling them with enough contemporary expression and vitality to the degree that every journalist who had the mean, the commission and who could spell the word “art” is here to see just what emerging artists from almost every country in the world have to say.

The former queen of Cyprus would be quite proud, I’d imagine. Do you think she’s keeping an eye out?



Razzle Dazzle

marquis_car_tognon.jpgOn the off years of the art (as opposed to architecture) edition of the Venice Biennale, contemporary art fans can find themselves a bit lost here. There’s the Guggenheim, of course, and Pinault’s collection at Palazzo Grassi plus the works housed his restoration of the Punto della Dogana; and Ca’ Pesaro at the opposite end of the Grand Canal. Come of the smaller private galleries can get overlooked, unfortunately, because they don’t necessarily present Venetian-themed things, but nonetheless exhibit works that at least for contemporary art enthusiast would be worth seeking out.

gallery1.jpg One of these galleries is Caterina Tognon Arte Contemporanea, located in the luminous Palazzo da Ponte in the Calle del Dose, just off Campo San Maurizio. Caterina, in collaboration with Grainne Sweeney of the National Glass Centre in the UK, is currently hosting works by glass artist Richard Marquis until July 3rd.


photo Allegretto

These two series of marvelous, fanciful works have the unlikely inspirations of wartime razzle-dazzle ship camouflage, and the bubbly race cars that blistered the Bonneville Salt Flats in a bygone era. I wouldn’t dare delve into further explanations; suffice it to say that the show is easy recommendation for anyone from enthusiast to collector.

Richard Marquis – Razzle Dazzle Man

until July 3rd

Tue – Sat, 10 – 1, 3 – 7:30

Caterina Tognon Arte Contemporanea