September 22, 2009

Three years after launching the Palazzo Grassi as an exhibition spacefor contemporary art in Venice, French magnate François Pinault has expanded his holdings inLa Serenissima with the opening of the Punta della DoganaFrançois Pinault Foundation, a vast contemporary-art space in the landmark triangularsite at the mouth of the Grand Canal. At a cost of about $30 million, it took Japanese architectTadao Ando only 14 months to insert a stunning suite of galleries juxtaposing Ando’ssublimely understated poured-concrete aesthetic with the restored rustic brick walls and woodenbeamed ceilings of the iconic 17th-century customs house. The inaugural exhibition, “Mappingthe Studio: Artists from the François Pinault Collection,” commandeers both the Doganaand the Palazzo Grassi, offering an in-depth look at 60 artists—including such disparatefigures as Jeff Koons, Sigmar Polke, Jake and Dinos Chapman, and Takashi Murakami—fromPinault’s distinctly personal collection. Outside, American artist Charles Ray has created asite-specific work, Boy with Frog, in white acrylic resin that offers a modern counterpointto the allegorical statue of Fortuna that has crowned the Dogana’s tower for centuries.

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