Home of a Tycoon’s Contemporary Art Collections

Chi Heng PUN

Chi Heng PUN

Venice Biennale Intern

Amongst “thousands” of exhibitions that are now being held during the period of Venice Biennale, you probably want to squeeze some time to visit the Venetian museum of one of the richest men in the world, François Pinault, who owns the high-end fashion house Gucci group. Seeing his collection as a competitor with Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Pinault has shown his ambition in being the connoisseur of contemporary art and has so far opened three sites in Venice including Palazzo Grassi, Purta della Dogana and a relatively new space called Teatrino. All those venues were designed by Tadao Ando. It has been a trend for luxury brands to open museums dedicated to contemporary art and culture in collaboration with world-famous architects; for example, Rem Koolhaas designed the Fondazione Prada Milano site and Frank Gehry realised the project for Foundation Louis Vuitton.


Heading towards Palazzo Grassi, you will pass by Teatrino where they are now showing a body of works by Chinese rising-star Jia Aili


Palazzo Grassi is now hosting a major solo exhibition of Martial Raysse who is one of France’s most important living artists. After the retrospective at Centre Pompidou in 2014, this is the first large exhibition dedicated to the artist outside France. The exhibition brings together works from 1958 to the present day including paintings, sculptures and neon works. As one of the pioneers of pop art, Martial Raysse creatively used neon light and film in paintings examining the multifaceted nature of materials. The use of attractive objects and vivid colour also represented the consumerist society he was living in.


Suzanna, Suzanna (1964)


Installation view with iconic painting Made in Japan – La grande odalisque (1964)


Ici Plage, comme ici-bas (2012)


Located just next to Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute is Punta della Dogana. Here you will see a familiar name, Danh Vo. He was invited to curate a show titled “Slip of the Tongue”. The entire venue are occupied by a mixture of artworks from masters of the 13th century to Pablo Picasso and Fischli & Weiss, of which some are taken from Pinault collection. Danh Vo also showed a selection of his works. The exhibition investigates the materiality of art objects and incorporates the concept with historical context through contemporary and classical arts. Every object reflects its own history, though the relationships among them might not appear to be strong, and each crosses a wide spectrum of timeline.


Lovely little garden nearby


Danh Vo, Untitled (2015)


Roni Horn, Gold Field (1980-1982)


Andres Serrano, Piss Christ (1987)