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
The contemporary sculpture of giant hands by Lorenzo Quinn emerges from Grand Canal during the 2017 Venice Biennale | © Ferdinando Piezzi / Alamy Stock Photo
Ione Wang

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.

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Ocean Space

Art Gallery
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

Art Gallery
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.

Victoria Miro

Art Gallery
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

Art Gallery
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.

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