Catherine Big, Study for Apollo, Apollo, 2021. Photograph by Daniela Görgens. © Katharina Grosse and VG Bild, Bonn, 2022.

“Katharina Grosse: Apollo, Apollo” at Espace Louis Vuitton Venezia

Usually when you walk into a Katharina Grosse show, you feel like the space came about this way: it was born in ballistic color. The painter’s exhibition in Venice at the Espace Louis Vuitton is a start. In the first of a series commissioned for the Louis Vuitton Foundation, Grosse uses the venue’s black box to finally show her hands to the public. Of course, being Fat, they are abstract and larger than life. Once you’ve gawked long enough, do yourself a favor: hop down an alley and order a €26 bellini and cheese toast at Harry’s Bar. You can fit this treat into two stops each time you pass through Piazza San Marco.

Installation view of Anselm Kiefer, Questi scritti, quando voirrno bruciati, daranno finalmente un po’ di luce (Andrea Emo)2022. © Anselm Kiefer Photograph by Georges Poncet, courtesy of Gagosian and Fondazione Musei Civici Venezia.

Anselm Kiefer at the Ducal Palace

Directly on this square you will find Anselm Kiefer whose showmanship is finally getting the accommodation it deserves. The Doge’s Palace, which flanks Venice’s most Instagrammed spot, is known for intermittently letting the art world play at home. This time, he lent himself to a giant. Kiefer was invited by the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia to respond specifically to the Sala dello Scrutinio, the room in the Palazzo where doges were elected, and reigns followed. The German painter and installation artist, known for engaging with the quintessence of life’s questions, approached this task philosophically, drawing first on the writings of the Venetian Andrea Emo. The results are moody and romantic. All You Want Early Night Kiefer aperitif.

paintings seen through the colonnade
Marlene Dumas, (from left to right) iPhone2018, courtesy of David Zwirner; Extraterrestrial2017, Pinault Collection; Spring2017, Private Collection, Courtesy David Zwirner; Amazon, 2016, Private collection, Switzerland. Installation view, Marlene Dumas, “open-end” at Palazzo Grassi, 2022. Photograph by Marco Cappelletti with Filippo Rossi © Palazzo Grassi © Marlene Dumas.

Marlene Dumas at the Palazzo Grassi

If you have more time than that, head to François Pinault, also known as Palazzo Grassi. This immaculately restored palace tends to put on life-changing shows with its top-notch budget and marble theater. Usually reserved for showman-type practices, this year’s exhibition features Marlene Dumas whose life-size portraits, while not exactly calm, foster the possibility of intimate encounters. The tension between the decorative nature of the Palazzo’s architecture itself and the immediacy of Dumas’ moody, dripping, moody, melting strokes adds something to the visual experience that cannot be replicated in the hygienic of a white cube. Dumas is visibly punk. Let the dark glamor roll when you stop next door at the Palazzina where you can sip your martini in the wickedly delicious embrace of Phillipe Starck’s Lynchian future.

Bosco Sodi at the Palais Vendramin Grimani. Photography © Andreavezzù.

Bosco Sodi at the Palais Vendramin Grimani

It must have been easy for artist Bosco Sodi to get used to working on the Grand Canal. After all, the artist’s studio in Red Hook, Brooklyn has huge doors to the water. It is perhaps this connectedness that makes the painter and sculptor’s Fondazione dell’Albero d’Oro-sponsored residency in Venice so alluring. He spent the winter in town preparing – living Nicolas Roeg’s film don’t look now– enriched fantasies? – as well as the creation of new works that sit alongside a substantial investigation of wall and floor pieces. Once you’ve taken the time to peek into the pigmented peaks and valleys of the alien lands of Sodi, find your own canal crevasse outside Vino Vero to lock yourself in cichetti and a glass of natural wine.

ceiling murals
Ceiling of the front side room of the piano nobile of the Palazzo Diedo with 18th century frescoes with large allegorical figures, surrounded by cherubs and cupids: Imeneo con divinità dell’Olimpo by Costantino Cedini, 1795. Photograph ©Alessandra Chemollo, courtesy of Berggruen Arts & Culture.

Sterling Ruby at Berggruen Arts and Culture at Palazzo Diedo

We’ll be leaving Sterling Ruby in Venice when everyone else is rushing home for the New York fairs, but hopefully he’s in good hands with the Berggruen Arts and Culture team as hosts. The billionaire-backed institute has set up the Los Angeles multihyphenates in the historic Palazzo Diedo for a year of architecturally beneficial experimentation. The first step, a facade modification installation, is worth a look. See it on your way out of town. It’s right in front of the train station. He can bid you arrived.

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