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 local and contemporary? Here’s our guide to Venice’s galleries, from one-room storefronts to converted warehouses, where you can get a look at the city’s thriving art community.
Galleria Bevilacqua La Masa
This foundation has two locations — one in San Marco, and the other near Campo Santa Margherita. They put 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 that come from all over the world.
Galleria Bevilacqua La Masa, San Marco, 71/c, 30124 Venice, Italy, +39 041 523 7819
This tiny, one-room gallery on Via Garibaldi is the size of a college dorm room, and has opened very recently. However, their current exhibition of the Japanese photographer Masahito Agake is truly incredible, and if you are in the area in the evenings you shouldn’t miss swinging by for a visit.
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 neighborhood characters that come through the shop. It is a truly bohemian artist’s studio, one that seems to have emerged from the 20th century unscathed by postmodern times.
This intimate art space on the Giudecca waterfront features local and international artists. It is both serious and unpretentious, a great stop for lovers of contemporary art.
Malandrin Art Studio
This little store close to San Marco is run by the Malandrin family. The shop is set up to attract tourists, but don’t miss the hidden gems: artwork made by the father and son duo. Mario, the father, creates dreamy watercolors in a style that’s totally born from the lagoon—the cool colors of the morning and the mist and mystery of the evenings. The son, Lorenzo, is a photographer, and he’s walked through every inch of the city. His photographs show the city in its infinite variety.
Zuecca Project Space
This is a nonprofit space for all kinds of cultural research, including contemporary art. They often house big-name international exhibits in conjunction with the Art Biennial, but the curators also organize more local events, workshops, and shows.
This experimental art space is converted from an old salt warehouse. Their programs are a heady mix of exhibitions, workshops, performances, rowdy parties, and political organizing. It’s a young and rebellious space, and one that’s embedded within the student community in the city.