These Contemporary Art Galleries Show Another Side of Venice
The contemporary sculpture of giant hands by Lorenzo Quinn emerges from Grand Canal during the 2017 Venice Biennale | © Ferdinando Piezzi / Alamy Stock Photo
You can see Renaissance art and architecture on every corner of Venice’s streets, and the city has an abundance of grand palaces and collectors’ museums. But what about something more contemporary? Culture Trip’s guide to Venice’s galleries, from workshops to converted warehouses, shows you where you can get a look at the city’s thriving art community.
Venice has a multifaceted art scene © A. Astes / Alamy Stock Photo
Ocean Space is a global centre for “catalyzing ocean literacy, research, and advocacy through the arts” – sorely needed since the world’s oceans and their ecosystems are increasingly under threat, and a fitting cause to champion in water-bound Venice. The centre is located in an old church, San Lorenzo, which was closed to the public for nearly a century but has now undergone conservation and renewal. It’s run by TBA21 Academy, a non-profit founded by Swiss art collector Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza. Expect informative, beautiful installations that may well change how you look at the environment.
Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa
This foundation has two locations – one in San Marco and the other near Campo Santa Margherita. Founded in 1898 to assist “young artists who are often forbidden from entering large exhibitions,” it puts on all kinds of shows, but the most interesting are the group shows by young artists who live in Venice. Often these are students who are completing their degrees at the fine-arts academy, or artists-in-residence who come from all over the world. Make a visit here to see some groundbreaking art from tomorrow’s top names.
London’s Victoria Miro Gallery shows the work of established and emerging artists from the USA, Europe and Asia, and in 2017 it opened its first international venue in Venice. It’s a great combination, with Victoria Miro bringing its London-cool credentials to a 17th-century Venetian building, the former Galleria Il Capricorno. In a nod to Venice’s long art heritage, Victoria Miro has also established a studio space in the picturesque city, where artists can spend an extended period creating new work. Keep an eye out for exhibitions of those new pieces for a truly Venetian gallery experience.
Galleria d’arte Stefan Popdimitrov
If you stop by this gallery-workshop, you might find Stefan stretching huge canvases on wooden racks, preparing metal plates for etching with sticky tar or just having a chat with the rotating cast of neighbourhood characters who come through the shop. It is a truly bohemian artist’s studio, one that seems to have emerged from the 20th century unscathed by modern times. Visit this venue for artwork spanning a range of mediums including painting and sculpture, and for a unique insight into the local artistic community of Venice.
This intimate art space on the Giudecca waterfront features local and international artists and is a great stop for lovers of contemporary art. Established in 2007 to represent new talent, Giudecca 795 showcases art from a wide variety of genres – everything from painting to street art and mosaics. It was also the city’s first gallery to display street art, and today focusses on displaying emerging talent in a thoroughly modern and non-traditional medium that’s not usually associated with Venice.
Zuecca Project Space
This non-profit space is home to all kinds of cultural research, including contemporary art. Zuecca often houses big-name international exhibitions in conjunction with the Art Biennale, but the curators also organise more local events, workshops and shows to show off the best of Venice’s home-grown talent. Expect to see visual art, architecture, dance, cinema or drama at Zuecca, which has two exhibition spaces in the city: one on Giudecca Island in the former Palladian complex of Zitelle, and one named Spazio Ridotto on Calle Ridotto, close to St Mark’s Square and the Biennale grounds.
Magazzino del Sale
This unusual art space, part of the Emilio and Annabianca Vedova Foundation, has been converted from an old salt warehouse and was designed by famous architect Renzo Piano. At the Magazzino, the aim is to show the art and work of modern Italian painter Emilio Vedova. Discover works by other artists who have a connection with Vedova, admire his own works or just lose yourself in the beautifully restored warehouse space.
These recommendations were updated on November 4, 2019 to keep your travel plans fresh.