Peggy Guggenheim, Vincent Meessen, and the Ritual of Collaboration at the Venice Biennale

Peggy Guggenheim: The Black Sheep

Peggy Guggenheim stands as one of art history’s most powerful, flamboyant archetypes for patronage. She launched the careers of , , , and , and her legacy is visible most clearly in Venice’s Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, where she lived for much of her life and where the Peggy Guggenheim Collection is housed today. Her name has become synonymous with sustained and impassioned support of artists throughout their careers, elaborate sunglasses, and coteries of shih tzus. Here, filmmaker Lisa Immordino Vreeland, who recently released the documentary Peggy Guggenheim—Art Addict, discusses Guggenheim’s revolutionary approach to patronage. “What drove her was a passion for the artists. Today, it is so much about financial investment, and this was not at all what she was thinking about,” says Vreeland. “She really did it for the love of the art, and I think that is an important message that she wanted to give us.”

The Belgian Pavilion: Personne et les autres

For this year’s Belgian Pavilion, artist passed up the opportunity to present a solo exhibition and, instead, invited an international cohort of creators to show with him. “Personne et les autres” explores contemporary global exchange and creative collaboration within the context of Belgium’s colonial history. Artists from Belgium, Brazil, the Democratic Republic of Congo, France, French Guyana, Italy, Pakistan, the United States, and Zimbabwe come together as a global network of voices—an approach that undermines the traditional structure of the Biennale’s Olympics-style national pavilion model. Here, Meessen and Congolese artist discuss the progressive artistic and sociopolitical potential of collaboration. “This idea of collaboration is a strong thing—it’s a need to share an experience, a space, a culture,” says Baloji. “To talk about our reality, and also to dream.”
Artsy Editors
Films directed by Poppy de Villeneuve.