To tell the truth, a slow change had already begun before Covid. But it was this global stopping to come, without crowds, the city could return immaculate, silent, with legendary dolphins leaping into the Grand Canal. But so be it: while thinking about how to limit admissions and thinking, at least in part, of the conquered idyll, the season began at the end of April with contemporary art paints, concentrated in the opening week of the 59th Biennial of Art (until November 27), this year entitled “The milk of dreams” and curated by Cecilia Alemani, the first Italian woman in this role. It is a decidedly feminine edition, with 191 artists among the 213 names present, without counting the exhibitions scattered around the city, from “Surrealism and magic”, with works by Leonora Carrington and other painters at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection (up to 26) to ” Open-End », the solo show by Marlene Dumas at Palazzo Grassi (until 8 January 2023), and the sculptures by Louise Nevelson at the Procuratie Vecchie (until 9 September).
The latter is a space returned to the city after centuries of closure and degradation: the Generali Group building in Piazza San Marco was renovated by David Chipperfield with a conservative project that enhances the original exposed brick walls and the perspective of arches. which divide the bar, coworking area, reading room and an interactive museum on human potential.
Exhibitions to explore and places to re-discover
Fascinating in its decadence, not yet restored, Palazzo Manfrin also opened in the same days to host the monumental carnal works of Anish Kapoor, who will create his foundation here. The exhibition also continues at the Gallerie dell’Accademia, where other works by the Indian artist alternate with the sculptures of Antonio Canova (until 9 October) and the fourteenth-century tables in the chapter house. But art in Venice is not just the Biennale. In every period of the year, for example, you can walk the historical itineraries that reconstruct the work of Carlo Scarpa. An eclectic designer of the 1950s, he created the Olivetti store in Piazza San Marco in record time, a sort of ante litteram Apple Store, as well as a timeless model of interior decoration and today a museum managed by Fai. His are also the garden of the Querini Stampalia Foundation, the setting up of the first room of the Gallerie dell’Accademia, the entrance portal of the Iuav and the Aula Magna of Ca ‘Foscari. But these are just examples, because Scarpa’s influence can be read everywhere, even in the contemporary details of the St Regis Venice, which organizes guided tours of the architect’s places for guests.
The shock of Kiefer and the wonders of Fortuny
The civic museums, sometimes forgotten apart from the Doge’s Palace, where a cycle of site-specific paintings by Anselm Kiefer is exhibited (“These writings, when burned, will give some light”, until 29 October), represent a heritage to be rediscovered ranging from archeology to the history of costume. Among these, Museo Fortuny reopened fashion on 9 March and with an installation that highlights the genius of its owner Mariano da Vinci, known as the “Leonardo da Vinci of the ‘900” for his creativity in many fields, from fabrics to, painting at the show. With his friend Gabriele d’Annunzio he had in fact designed an outdoor party theater with a movable cover, which was never built, otherwise by other inventions, such as that never revealed way of pleating the silk for the Delphos dress, peplum in one size and no seams still in the windows of Fortuny boutiques.
Enough with the junk!
Fortunately, the kiosks of junk are increasingly grouped into avoidable islands, while the high local craftsmanship is going through a flourishing season thanks to the commitment of glass masters, mosaicists, masks, impraresse And goldbeater. And thanks to events such as Homo Faber, which in April brought to the island of San Giorgio more than 400 artifacts from 58 countries made from “living human treasures” – as the Japanese artisans who are custodians of ancient crafts are defined -, an extraordinary heritage and sustainable because, as Alberto Cavalli, curator of the exhibition says, «he makes his voice heard through his daily work».