The Venice Biennale after the opening is always much easier to navigate!
However, it lacks the excitement of the art world celebs and glam parties as well as the hysteria of the pre-opening snafus and overcrowding.
What I loved about Venice:
First stop on my list was the Prada Foundation, Ca’ Corner della Regina, to see Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli’s collection of early Italian contemporary art (1952-1964) curated by Germano Celant. The exceptional quality of works by Fontana, Burri, Castellani and Manzoni highlighted the first of many exhibitions to take place over the next six years. Also included in the exhibition are works by Kapoor, Heizer, de Maria, Koons, Bourgeois, Vezzoli, Demand, Ray, Hirst, Judd, Cattelan and Baldessari. It is an extraordinary experience to view contemporary art in this refined space!
Heading over to the Palazzo Grassi to see “The World Belongs To You” curated by Caroline Bourgeois, I was bowled over by Thomas Houseago’s “L’Homme Presse” jutting out on the Grand Canal. Truly an imposing and powerful sculpture! His work is also featured in the Punta della Dogana, “In Praise of Doubt”. Inside the Palazzo, Francesco Vezzoli’s videos are superb and well worth taking the time to watch in the little theatre. Other outstanding artists include David Hammons, El Anatsui, Friedrich Kunath, Matthew Day Jackson, Nicholas Hlobo, Urs Fischer, Rudolf Stingel and Maurizio Cattelan.
Not to be missed on San Marco is “Permanently Becoming: Julian Schnabel and the Architecture of Seeing” at Correr Museum, curated by Sir Norman Rosenthal, following last year’s highly acclaimed exhibition by David Moos at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto. Forty paintings and sculptures, exploring Julian’s career from the 1970s to the present illustrate his unique aesthetic, influenced by the great American masters, Pollock, Twombly, as well as the great Europeans including Giotto, Goya, Gaudi and Picasso. MOCA LA will have a retrospective of Julian’s work in 2012, which is now being organized by director Jefrey Deitch.
Do not leave Venice without seeing “Penelope’s Labor: Weaving Words and Images” at San Giorgio Maggiore. The exhibition of tapestries dating from the 15th century to today is beautifully installed. My favorites are Grayson Perry’s “Walthamstow” tapestry and Marc Quinn’s “flowers” depicting our manipulated natural world. These artists and others rediscover weaving as a contemporary medium.