15 Satellite Shows You Need to See During the Venice Biennale

The Arsenale and Giardini are no longer the only must-see spots in town.

Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

This May, Venice will once again undergo its biannual transformation, temporarily becoming the capital of the global art scene as members of the art world descend upon the city for the opening of “Viva Arte Viva.” The highly-anticipated 2017 Biennale, curated by Christine Macel, promises to pack a punch, with 120 artists slated to show their work in the artist-focused exhibition.

Along with the Biennale come the inevitable satellite shows—some officially partnered with the Biennale, others functioning entirely independently—with a list that seems to grow every two years. (artnet News’ Sarah Hyde reported on the phenomenon in February.)

2017 is no exception. There are, of course, the much-hyped biggies: Damien Hirst‘s shipwreck at the Pinault Foundation, Chris Ofili inaugurating Victoria Miro’s new Venice outpost, Carol Rama breaking a decade-long absence from Venice in an exhibition at Ca’ nova, and Philip Guston making a Venetian debut with the first museum show dedicated to his work in the city at the Galleria dell’Accademia.

But these four only touch the surface of what can be seen in the Floating City. Here, artnet News has rounded up 15 other exhibitions to add to your agenda.

Stage Designs and Costumes by Anna Viebrock at the Volksbühne, Berlin, 2014. Photo by Walter Mair, courtesy Fondazione Prada.

1. Thomas DemandAlexander Kluge, and Anna Viebrock, “The Boat is Leaking. The Captain Lied,” at Fondazione Prada, May 13—November 26

“The Boat is Leaking. The Captain Lied” is the product of an ongoing artistic exchange between the three artists and show curator Udo Kittelmann. Taking its inspiration from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, the exhibition promises to focus on where the respective practices of these three artists converge, in an aim to offer a critical awareness of the present-day state of our world.

Douglas Gordon, Gente di Palermo (2017) video installation. Image courtesy Palazzo Ducale.

2. Douglas Gordon, “Gente di Palermo,” at Palazzo Ducale, May 13—November 24

The Doge’s Palace will host the world-premiere of Gordon’s new video installation, titled Gente di Palermo (which translates from Italian to “People from Palermo”). While shooting in the Capuchin Catacombs in Palermo, Gordon spotted an abandoned inflatable dolphin floating among the embalmed corpses—thus providing a framework to his film that highlights the juxtaposition between life and death.

Rita Kernn-Larsen, Self-Portrait (Know Thyself) (1937). Image @Rita Kernn-Larsen, by SIAE 2017.

3. Rita Kernn-Larsen, “Surrealist Paintings” at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, February 25 – June 26

This presentation of Kernn-Larsen’s work will be the Danish artist’s first exhibition outside of Scandinavia since her one-person show at the Guggenheim Jeune in London in 1938. More than half of the paintings on view were also shown in the 1938 exhibition, marking a return to a Guggenheim venue and boosting the Surrealist painter’s exposure, who to this day remains little-known outside of Denmark.

Hieronymus Bosch, Hermit Saints Triptych (c. 1493). Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

4. “Jheronimus Bosch and Venice” at the Palazzo Ducale, February 18 – June 4

After a campaign of restoration financed by the Bosch Research and Conservation Project (BRCP) and the Getty Foundation of Los Angeles, the exhibition presents three newly-restored paintings conserved right in Venice at the Gallerie dell’Accademia. In her review of the show, artnet News’ Sarah Hyde wrote, “Despite advances in technology which have enabled human beings to go much further in articulating their deepest fears, Bosch is still the master.”

Giovanni Anselmo, Mentre Oltremare Appare Verso Sud-Est (1981-2016). Image courtesy the Fondazione Quercini Stampalia.

5. Giovanni Anselmo at the Fondazione Querini Stampalia, May 10 – September 24

For his one-person show, curated by Chiara Bertola, the artist has created four site-specific works, one for every room of the exhibition. Further information on the show is kept mum, but the accompanying text promises audience engagement: “[The exhibition] is a route of trajectories and directions, weights and energies which represent five moments in which a meaning is implied: the visitors become participants.”

Dineo Seshee Bopape. Detail: mabu/mubu/mmu (2017). Image courtesy PinchukArtCentre.

6. Future Generation Art Prize at the Palazzo Contarini dal Zaffo Polignac, May 12 – August 13

Co-curated by Björn Geldhof, Artistic Director of the PinchukArtCentre, and independent curator Anna Smolak, the Future Generation Art Prize show boasts a roster of 21 artists from 16 different countries, who are all under the age of 35. The list includes Martine SymsIbrahim Mahama, Andy Holden, and of course, this year’s Prize Winner: the South African artist Dineo Seshee Bopape.

James Lee Byars, The Golden Tower, 1990 (2017). Installation view from the Gegenwart Ewigkeit exhibition at Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, 1990. Courtesy Michael Werner Gallery, New York and London. © The Estate of the Artist

7. James Lee Byars, “The Golden Tower at Dorsoduro, Campo San Vio, May 13 – November 26

The show’s eponymous work is a sight to behold: standing at an imposing 66 feet, The Golden Tower is the largest piece ever made by American artist James Lee Byars, who passed away in 1997. In keeping with the late artist’s wish to eventually exhibit the tower in a public space, Michael Werner Gallery—which represents his estate—collaborated with Fondazione Giuliani to present the piece outdoors in Venice.

Jan Fabre, Detail of Planet I –‐IX (2011). Photo by Pat Verbruggen. Image courtesy Angelos bvba and CLP Relation Pubbliche.

8. “Jan Fabre – Glass and Bone Sculptures 1977–2017” at Abbazia di San Gregorio, May 13 – November 26

As the straightforward title suggests, the exhibition is a selection of sculptures by Jan Fabre, spanning 1977 to 2017, that are comprised of glass and bone. The body of works on view are being shown together for the first time, and are described as paying homage to Flemish painters—who used ground bone to make pigments—and Venetian glassblowers, for their mastery of working with said materials.

Tehching Hsieh, One Year Performance (1980-1981). Photograph by Michael Shen. Image courtesy Tehching Hsieh and Sean Kelly Gallery.

9. Tehching Hsieh, “Doing Time,” at The Palazzo delle Prigioni Venice, May 13 – November 26

Beginning in September 1978—when he lived in New York as an undocumented immigrant—Taiwanese artist Tehching Hsieh initiated a series of five consecutive yearlong performances in downtown Manhattan. “Doing Time” presents documents and archival materials from two of Hsieh’s One Year Performances, assembled in an installation that explores the two iterations of the performance side-by-side for the first time, and how they might reflect on human life and its relation to systems of control.

Marzia Migliora, Quis contra nos. (2017), Photo Michele Sereni

10. Marzia Migliora, “Velme”, at Ca’ Rezzonico, May 13 – November 26

Curated by Beatrice Merz, the exhibition features Marzia Migliora’s works in video, sound, photography, and installation, created as a reaction to the historic museum building of Ca’ Rezzonico and its collection, which includes pieces such as the Mondo nuovo (New World) fresco by Giandomenico Tiepolo and the painting Il Rinoceronte (The Rhinoceros) by Pietro Longhi. The titular Velma, the meeting point between water and land, evokes the history of Venice as a leading economic trading power between the 8th and the 18th centuries, and the threat to the Sinking City’s existence today.

Shirin Nashat, Anna from The Home of My Eyes series (2015). Image courtesy Written Art Foundation, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

11. Shirin Neshat at Museo Correr, May 13 – November 26

Featuring a selection of photographs from the series The Home of My Eyes (2015), and Neshat’s new video Roja (2016), this presentation of recent works marks a shift in the Iranian artist’s practice, as her newer work takes the focus off her native country and instead points an eye towards other cultures. The 2015 series The Home of My Eyes depicts the various people of Azerbaijan through a hefty 55 portraits, while 2016’s video work Roja turns the camera inward to look at Neshat’s personal experience of living as a foreigner in the US.

Image courtesy of fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, Venice.

12. Lucy McKenzie at Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, May 10 – September 10

Lucy McKenzie will have a solo show at the Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa’s Palazatto Tito. The installation will comment on the venue’s original purpose as a private, residential space, dealing with themes of gender and racial differences with painting, sculpture, painted furniture, and ornaments. It is presented in collaboration with the Fiorucci Art Trust, for whom Mckenzie led the 2013 “Volcano Extravaganza.”

Giorgio de Chirico, Piazza d’Italia (1916). Image courtesy Axel Vervoordt and Daniela Ferretti.

13. “Intuition” at Palazzo Fortuny, May 13 – November 26

Named after “intueor,” the Latin word for “a form of knowledge that cannot be explained in words,” this exhibition looks at intuitive impulses in art movements, beginning with prehistoric shamanistic rituals through to present-day artistic interest in automation. On the way, it stops at religious iconography, the birth of abstraction, and 1960s avant-garde movements like Gutai, ZERO, Spatialism, COBRA, and Abstract Expressionism.

Pierre Huyghe, A Journey, (2015). Image courtesy of the artist and Espace Louis Vuitton Venice.

14. Pierre Huyghe at Espace Louis Vuitton Venezia, May 13 – November 26

In 2005, Huyghe went on an expedition to remote islands in the Antarctic, which he documented and then juxtaposed with footage of a spectacular concert held at the Central Park ice skating rink. The video, titled A Journey that Wasn’t, is the center of the show at Louis Vuitton’s Venice exhibition space.

Pae White, <i>Qwalala,</i> work in progress. Courtesy Cini Foundation, Le Stanze del Vetro

Pae White, Qwalala, work in progress. Courtesy Cini Foundation, Le Stanze del Vetro

15. Pae White at Le Stanze Del Vetro, May 12 – November 30

On the island of San Giorgio Maggiore, Le Stanze Del Vetro will unveil a new large-scale commission by Pae White. Its title, Qwalala, is the Pomo indigenous American word for the flow of the Gualala river in Northern California. Nearly 250 feet long, the sculpture takes the shape of a winding wall made of 3,000 clear and colored glass bricks, handmade in Italy.


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