A Little Bit of Texas Is Coming to Venice as the Dallas Museum of Art Plans Its First Pop-Up During the Biennale

The late German artist Günther Förg's bold artworks will be installed in a resplendent setting on the Grand Canal.

Günther Förg Untitled (2004). © Estate Günther Förg, Suisse / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019.
Günther Förg, Untitled (2004). © Estate Günther Förg, Suisse / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019.

A little bit of Texas is coming to La Serenissima.

For the first time ever, the Dallas Museum of Art is going to Europe with “Förg in Venice,” an exhibition focusing on the late German artist Günther Förg. The presentation, which will be at the Palazzo Contarini Polignac as an official collateral event of the 58th Venice Biennale, opens to the public on May 11.

The show fulfills a lifelong wish of Förg’s, who had long wanted to have an exhibition in the floating city, but was unable to realize one before he died of cancer on his 61st birthday in December 2013. It brings together some 30 paintings and sculptures to be presented against the backdrop of a resplendent 15th century palazzo along the Grand Canal.

As part of the exhibition, individual paintings, tapestries, and decorative elements from the palazzo will be temporarily replaced or laid over with Förg’s comparatively bold artworks. In addition, a minimalist painting of window, four of his vibrant “Spot Paintings” from the late 2000s, early abstract works, and his lesser-known bronze mask sculptures will be on view in the career-spanning survey.

Günther Förg at the Dallas Museum of Art (installation view). Photo: courtesy of the DMA.

Günther Förg, at the Dallas Museum of Art (installation view). Photo: courtesy of the DMA.

Förg is one of the most significant artists of post-war Germany, with a varied practice that spanned photography, painting, sculpture, and graphic design. In the past five years, the market for his work has steadily risen, and each of the top 17 auction records for his work have been set since his death. (The top lot—an untitled, a six-part, acrylic-on-wood painting—was made in 1994 and sold at Phillips New York in May 2016 for $815,000 with premium, just above its low estimate of $800,000.) In June 2018, Hauser & Wirth announced that it would be the global representative of his estate.

While, the romantic, classical setting in Venice may at first seem an unusual setting for his loose, sometimes-geometric, sometimes-painterly style, the artist had long been interested in architecture, and he often made architectural interventions in his exhibitions. He was known for incorporating doors and window frames into his shows, and his photographs from the 1980s reveal an ongoing fascination with Italian rationalist architecture.

The forthcoming exhibition in Italy follows a significant presentation of his work at the Dallas Museum of Art last year titled “Günther Förg: A Fragile Beauty.” It was the first US show devoted to Förg in more than 30 years, and was organized in collaboration with the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

“Förg in Venice” will be on view from May 11 through August 23, 2019 at the Palazzo Contarini Polignac in Venice, Italy.

Günther Förg <i>Untitled</i> (2005). © Estate Günther Förg, Suisse / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019. Courtesy Estate Günther Förg, Suisse and Hauser &amp; Wirth.

Günther Förg, Untitled (2005). © Estate Günther Förg, Suisse / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019. Courtesy Estate Günther Förg, Suisse and Hauser & Wirth.

Günther Förg <i>Untitled (Mask) </i>(2000). © Estate Günther Förg, Suisse / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019. Courtesy Estate Günther Förg, Suisse and Hauser &amp; Wirth.

Günther Förg, Untitled (Mask) (2000). © Estate Günther Förg, Suisse / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019. Courtesy Estate Günther Förg, Suisse and Hauser & Wirth.

Günther Förg <i>Untitled (Mask)</i> (2000). © Estate Günther Förg, Suisse / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019. Courtesy Estate Günther Förg, Suisse and Hauser &amp; Wirth.

Günther Förg, Untitled (Mask) (2000). © Estate Günther Förg, Suisse / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019. Courtesy Estate Günther Förg, Suisse and Hauser & Wirth.


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