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Friday, May 18, 2012

INTERVIEW WITH MARTIN BETHENOD, DIRECTOR OF PALAZZO GRASSI, VENICE



Interview with Martin Bethenod, director of Palazzo Grassi, Venice
As the private gallery of the French billionaire collector hosts its first solo show by a living artists, we speak to the director about its future plans

By Cristina Ruiz. Web only
Published online: 14 May 2012

The Palazzo Grassi in Venice, home to the contemporary art collection of the French billionaire François Pinault, has launched a new exhibition programme. The venue is to host a series of solo shows devoted to living artists; first up is the Swiss artist Urs Fischer (until 15 July) who has taken over the building’s grand atrium and first floor with works which span his entire career.

The exhibition, curated by Caroline Bourgeois, includes loans from collectors such as Peter Brant in the US, John Kaldor in Australia and Maja Hoffmann in Switzerland. Four Urs Fischer works belonging to Pinault are included in the show and others are on display on the second floor along with other works from his collection.

The announcement of the new exhibitions follows criticism in Venice that the two venues run by Pinault (following his 2006 purchase of Palazzo Grassi, the luxury goods magnate beat off competition from the Guggenheim Foundation to secure the city’s old Customs House, Punta della Dogana, which was renovated by the Japanese architect Tadao Ando and opened to the public in 2009) were catering only to the international art crowd which descends on the city for the Venice Biennale every two years and that the shows, largely drawn from the Pinault collection, changed infrequently.

We spoke to the Palazzo Grassi director Martin Bethenod about the current and future role of the private gallery.


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