News continues to come out ahead of the May opening of the Venice Biennale, the cultural event that’s dubbed the Olympics of the art world. Over the transom yesterday came word not of a new pavilion announcement, but that an entire arts district will be set up permanently on the island of Giudecca, a quick vaporetto ride across the Grand Canal.
Called the Giudecca Art District, it will open in May and have within its boundaries 11 galleries and three national pavilions, as well as a dedicated art space with adjoining garden. The galleries include Italian art concerns such as Chiesa delle Zitelle, the Starak Foundation, Spazio Bullo, Spazio Silos, and Galleria Sant'Eufemia, and the three national pavilions that will be up on Giudecca during the span of the Biennale are Estonia, Iceland, and Nigeria. All in all, there will be 60 artists exhibiting on the island, led by a flagship exhibition of work by the artist Aleksandra Karpowicz with the October! Collective, titled “Body as Home.”
The Giudecca, while across the Giudecca Canal from the central islands of Venice, has long been a destination during the opening of the Venice Biennale. Marina Abramović, Damien Hirst, and Ai Weiwei have all staged memorable shows on Giudecca, and many foundations host lux shindigs on its coast, ferrying guests across the Grand Canal at sunset in chartered fleets. And it’s also the chosen digs for many dealers looking to be a bit removed from the madness that takes over the cramped, waterlogged city during the Biennale’s opening hoopla. Many stay at the extremely upscale Hotel Cipriani, doing deals by the salt-water pool.