Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Artful Excess

Talk about stealing someone’s thunder, or alternatively, adding to the art-gorge going on right now in Venice, the new art monolith to money and creativity, the Punta della Dogana opened the day before this year’s Venice Biennale. Cruel or smart?

Housing major, major works by major, major artists (McCarthy, Catellan, Schutte, Kelley, the Chapmans, Gober and Gonzales Torres to name but a few) it is a sister/brother to Pinault’s first monolith, Palazzo Grassi.

The Punta della Dogana is a promontory at the entrance to St Mark’s Basin, where the Grand Canal meets the Giudecca Canal. The buildings of the Dogana di Mare were built in the late 17th century by architect Giuseppe Benoni. Where Benoni left off, Japanese architect Tadao Ando has taken off, completely transforming the builder’s interior with his signature cement blocking. It’s all Venetian glamour on the outside, and grey minimalism on the inside.

There are detractors already (the Boston Globe):

Pinault’s two displays of his splashy collection, at the Punta della Dogana and the Palazzo Grassi, are a case in point: They smack of an arriviste’s susceptibility to bloated works by fashionable names.

Criticism of the rich, beautiful, stylish or creative is not my arena, so Punta della Dogana, here I come.

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