Contemporary Art in Venice

     Venice has a rich art history, but its involvement in the contemporary art world makes Venice a destination for those who are interested in the arts of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.  With destinations like The Venice Biennale, The Guggenheim, and the island of Murano Venice brings new art to a city and country with a rich tradition in the arts.  The Venice Biennale, founded in 1895, is an institution responsible for bringing events in the avant-garde in art, architecture, cinema, dance, music, film, and theatre.  The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is notable for its large number of twentieth century European and American works of art.  Additionally, the artisans of Murano island continue to produce the glass that so many visitors of Venice go to see and take home.  Venice has much to offer in the contemporary art world; its exhibitions,  collections, and artisans continue to bring tourists and artists alike to the vibrant city.

The Venice Biennale

52nd International Art Exhibition

     The Venice Biennale is an exhibition center that hosts a series of art and cultural events once every two years.  Founded in 1895, the event grew international attention and participation in the early part of the twentieth century.  The exhibition's venues are based around the Giardini di Castello, a park that houses thirty different national park pavilions.  Specific international events at the Biennale include: the International Film Festival, the International Art Exhibition, the International Architecture Exhibition, the Festival of Contemporary Music and Theatre, and the Festival of Contemporary Dance.  In recent years, the Biennale has been turned over to the control of a Foundation, which hopes to attract outstanding new exhibitions during the formal Biennale and the rest of the year.


The Peggy Guggenheim Collection

The Peggy Guggenheim museum, as seen from the Grand Canal

     The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is the private collection of Peggy Guggenheim, and it is housed in her former private home, Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, located on Venice's Grand Canal.  Guggenheim began her art career with the opening of a small gallery in London.  Tired of her gallery, she continued her career in art collecting with the hopes of one day opening a contemporary art museum.  She eventually revealed her collection in New York, and then she brought it back to Europe, where it debuted at the 1948 Venice Biennale.  Shortly thereafter, Guggenheim purchased Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, and in 1951 she made her home open to the public.  Guggenheim eventually donated her art to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, and upon her death, her home and collection have expanded to become one of the best museums in Italy for contemporary twentieth century art.  Today the works include examples of Cubism, Surrealism, Futurism, Metaphysical Painting and Abstract Expressionism.  Artists represented in the collection include Picasso, Kandinsky, Miro', Klee, Dali', Pollock, Rothko, and Giacometti among others.


Murano Island

      The history of glass blowing in Venice is over one thousand years old, and the history of glassblowing on Murano Island dates to the later part of the thirteenth century.  The skill was often associated with eastern countries such as Syria, Palestine, and Egypt, so Venice's location on the northeastern coast of Italy made it a bridge between eastern and western cultures.  Early glassblowers were given rewards in order to guard the industry, and workers who left the island were forbidden to return-a mode of keeping the secrets and skills from leaving the island.  Today, the tradition of glassblowing continues, with artisans using the same skills that have been passed down for centuries.