Astute investor and owner of brands such as Gucci, Yves Saint-Laurent and Stella McCartney, as well as the Chateau Latour vineyards in Bordeaux and Christie's, the prestigious auction house, François Pinault has decided to share with the public his passion for art, specifically, contemporary art. An eclectic selection from his collection, one of the largest in the world, is on view under the title Mapping the Studio: Artists from the François Pinault Collection, at two spectacular locations: a permanent exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Centre of Punta della Dogana, and a temporary exhibition at Palazzo Grassi.
Linked by the waters of the city's Grand Canal, the two buildings bring together all kinds of artwork: video art, pedestal sculpture, sensorial installations... And all the works on display are owned by one single collector, one of the few who can afford to buy complete sets of works by contemporary artists. Also apparent from the exhibitions is Pinault's penchant for frequenting the studios of artists, and witnessing the process of creation and execution of the works.
It's a good idea to start your visit at the Palazzo Grassi and then head over to Punta della Dogana. Crossing the Ponte dell'Accademia bridge, you leave behind the best known and busiest part of Venice and find empty streets that lead to the beautiful baroque church of La Salute. Alongside, the old custom house has been woken from years of neglect to house the Pinault collection, and this tip of the island, one of the most spectacular locations in the canal-woven city has returned to life.
Takashi Murakami, Felix Gonzalez Torres, Richard Prince, Bruce Nauman, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Franz West, Rachel Whiteread and Fischli & Weiss are among the artists whose works are on display. Outside, Boy with Frog by Ray Charles looks out over the water from the tip of the triangular site. The ground floor of the grey concrete space created by the Japanese architect Tadao Ando, includes a stuffed, suspended horse by the Italian Maurizio Cattelan and three huge canvases by Rudolf Stingel, while on the first floor there are portraits by American artist Cindy Sherman as well as Bourgeois Bust, by Jeff Koons