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Venice’s New Contemporary Art Gallery

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

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