T+L Reports: Venetian Palace of Art
Published: April 2009
By Andrew Ferren
Paris's loss is Venice's gain. After French bureaucracy stymied luxury-goods magnate François
Pinault's plan to build a museum in the French capital for his collection of contemporary
art, Pinault decamped to the Grand Canal's Palazzo Grassi, which, serendipitously, had gone
on the market in early 2005. Pritzker Prize-winning Japanese architect Tadao Ando orchestrated
a swift revamp of the 18th-century palace, creating spare and serene galleries—unveiled
this April—that deftly give preeminence to both the art and the original Neoclassical
architecture. The inaugural exhibition, "Where Are We Going?" (through Oct. 1; 3231 Campo
San Samuele; 39-041/523-1680; www.palazzograssi.it),
features 200 works—less than a tenth of Pinault's collection—by 49 artists of
the postwar period, including Damien Hirst, Agnes Martin, Bruce Nauman, Gerhard Richter, and
Cindy Sherman. Jeff Koons's Balloon Dog (Magenta) playfully guards the palace entrance.
The art is in good company: the Venice Biennale, the Peggy Guggenheim Foundation, and the
Accademia are just a gondola ride away.