This spring and summer, fresh art will fill historic churches, palazzi, and institutions across Venice. To help you navigate the flood of ambitious exhibitions and projects, we share a selection that you won’t want to miss—ranging from new glass sculptures by leading contemporary artists to the color-soaked paintings of
Since opening his studio on the island of Murano in 1989, Venice native Adriano Berengo has been dedicated to bridging glass traditions and contemporary art. He’s invited over 300 artists—with little or no prior experience in glass—to learn glassmaking from the masters at his studio. And for the past decade, Berengo has biannually mounted exhibitions of the resulting work, called “Glasstress,” to coincide with the Venice Biennale. This year, visitors are treated to new work and highlights from years past, including pieces by internationally renowned artists like
, who worked with curator Caroline Bourgeois to mount 80-plus paintings, dating from 1986 to the present, from the French billionaire’s collection and a new, site-specific mosaic on the floor of the central atrium. Tuymans is known for searing figurative paintings—often in a washed-out palette of grays, blacks, and sepia tones—that appropriate images from the media to offer dark commentary on recent history. The marble mosaic, Schwarzheide (2019), appears to be a simple rendering of pine trees but is based on drawings that Holocaust survivor Alfred Kantor created in a concentration camp.
“Baselitz - Academy”
Gallerie dell’Accademia di Venezia, Campo della Carita, 1050, 30123 Venice
is the first living artist to have an exhibition at the Galleria dell’Accademia. The German artist is showing his feverish paintings and drawings, as well as deftly hewn figurative sculptures, ranging from across his more than 60-year career and including new work created specifically for the show.
movement, which saw artists transition from painting on canvas to mounting ambitious installations that broached the space between art and life. Curated by Germano Celant, this is the first Kounellis retrospective since his death in 2017. The show includes works created between 1959 and 2015, including installations and architectural interventions that explore combustion, Greco-Roman history, metaphysical dimensions, and gravity, among the artist’s other favorite subjects. A highlight is the massive installation that fills the courtyard with coffee bean–filled sacks and plates of metal.
“Pittura / Panorama: Paintings by Helen Frankenthaler 1952–1992”
Helen Frankenthaler’s famed color-stained canvases have not been shown in Venice since 1966, when they held pride of place at the U.S. Pavilion of the Venice Biennale. Now, they are shown at Palazzo Grimani, an art institution that dates back to the 16th century, which is particularly fitting given the inspiration Frankenthaler gleaned from Venetian artists of that same era. The exhibition, curated by John Elderfield, includes work from four stages of the artist’s career, organizedto illustrate the evolution of her career.
The Future Generation Art Prize’s biannual show spotlights impressive young artists under age 35. The featured artists are addressing the future of humanity and urgent contemporary issues around globalization, nationalism, and technology. Among work by 21 international artists, you can expect to see pieces by Emilija Škarnulytė, who won the prize this year, and as well as
Joan Jonas, Moving Off the Land II, at Ocean Space, Chiesa di San Lorenzo, 2019, work in progress. Moving Off the Land II is commissioned by TBA21–Academy and co-produced with Luma Foundation. Photo by Enrico Fiorese.
, who represented the U.S. at the 56th Venice Biennale, is the first artist to put on a public project at Ocean Space, a new cultural space dedicated to fostering research on the oceans by both artists and scientists. Jonas’s multimedia project is the result of three years of research in waters surrounding Jamaica and at aquariums around the world; through sound, video, performance, sculpture, and more, the work surfaces the vital cultural significance of oceans, both spiritually and ecologically.
“The Spark Is You: Parasol Unit in Venice”
Conservatorio di Musica Benedetto Marcello di Venezia, Sestiere di S. Marco, 2810, 30124 Venice
May 9–Nov. 23, 2019
Sahand Hesamiyan, Forough, 2016. Courtesy the artist.
Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art celebrates its 15th anniversary with a show of nine contemporary Iranian artists, including
takes over Victoria Miro’s charming Venice gallery space with her mixed-media paintings that collage together her own cultural heritage with that of her American peers. The show includes the latest work from her ongoing series “The Beautyful Ones,” in which she continues to lend her figurative subjects emotional depth through deft use of found images, a rich color palette, and poignant facial expressions and gestures.
Espace Louis Vuitton Venezia, San Marco 1353, 30124 Venice
transforms the Louis Vuitton space with a multifaceted, multisensory work that toys with viewers’ perceptions. The piece, fueled by the activity of microorganisms and a computer program, is comprised of various elements—a marquee light fixture, phosphorescent wallpaper, a mirrored shutter—and foregrounds the artist’s interest in parallel realities.
“Marina Abramović: Rising” and “Renata Morales: Invasor”
Ca’ Rezzonico Gallery, next to the Ca’Rezzonico Museum, Dorsoduro 2793 and 2793A Venice
May 6–July 6, 2019; opening: Tuesday 7 May, 5:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m.
Marina Abramovic, Rising (VR still), 2018. Courtesy of Acute Art.
The Montreal-based Phi Centre presents a pair of exhibitions by accomplished women artists. “Rising” seeks to envision the disaster of melting polar ice caps by inviting the viewer to don a virtual reality headset; the video, produced by Acute Art, simulates being in a glass tank filling with water alongside
pioneer Jean Arp was the first artist Peggy Guggenheim collected—she bought a bronze after seeing it made at a foundry with the artist. Decades later, that bronze is at the heart of this survey dedicated to the artist’s experimental nature. The show illustrates Arp’s ability to deftly tread the boundary between figuration and abstraction; and his mastery of material, with works in bronze, wood, marble, plaster, painting, collage, drawing, and tapestry.
“Artists Need to Create on the Same Scale that Society Has the Capacity to Destroy: Mare Nostrum”
Chiesa di Santa Maria delle Penitenti, Fondamenta Cannaregio, 910, 30121 Venice
May 11–Nov. 24, 2019; preview May 8–10, 2019
Lauren Bon and The Metabolic Studio, Artists Need to Create on the Same Scale that Society Has the Capacity to Destroy, 2006. Photo by Joshua White. Courtesy of The Brooklyn Rail.
This exhibition curated by the Brooklyn Rail spotlights the environmental crisis in the Mediterranean through works by 73 artists. Curators Phong Bui and Francesca Pietropaolo have gathered works by emerging and established artists with social and environmentally focused practices, such as a new piece of blown glass droplets by
recently added figurative work to his usual abstract repertoire. This show at the San Giorgio Maggiore church features the new work, including a series of paintings titled “Madonna,” the artist’s tallest sculpture yet, and works from a manuscript that was originally handmade by the monks.
Casey Lesser is Artsy’s Lead Editor, Contemporary Art and Creativity.
Correction: A previous version of this article stated that “Marina Abramović: Rising” and “Renata Morales: Invasor” run from May 6–October 28, 2019. These shows close July 6, 2019. The text has been updated to reflect this change.