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5 Must-See Venice Masterpieces from Tiffany Zabludowicz

The 60th Venice Biennale is a supremely hopeful opportunity in the eyes of collector and curator Tiffany Zabludowicz for an enhanced global framework of what constitutes great art. Among the 330 artists presenting from around the world, the visionary celebrates Zabludowicz Collection creatives, imparts her must-see Pavilions, and more.

Collector and curator Tiffany Zabludowicz has developed a sage and spirited curatorial practice focused on groundbreaking installation, performance, and digital art. While embarking on a new edition of the 60th Venice Biennale, the esteemed co-chair of the Young Collectors Council at the Guggenheim Museum—and founding member of the Artemis Council at the New Museum—shares with Whitewall this singular opportunity to see history unfold with Zabludowicz Collection artists Yael Bartana, Berlinde De Bruyckere, Tesfaye Urgessa, and more.

Portrait of Tiffany Zabludowicz Portrait of Tiffany Zabludowicz by David Bebber.

WHITEWALL: Within your many roles—curator, founder of Times Square Space, collector—why is Venice an important visit?

TIFFANY ZABLUDOWICZ: The Venice Biennale is an opportunity to see history in the making, to see artist’s presenting their best works, and to see curators changing the face of art. The last biennale, ‘The Milk of Dreams,’ 2022, curated by Cecilia Alemani, finally solidified women’s place in the canon of art history. I am thrilled to attend this 60th version curated by Adriano Pedrosa, the first Latin American curator and the first from the Southern Hemisphere ever appointed to curate the International Art Exhibition. With the title ‘Foreigners Everywhere’ my hope is that this Biennale will solidify a more global framework for what constitutes great art. With 330 artists from around the world it is going to be an immense education for us all.

As a collector, the Biennale presents an opportunity to celebrate artists we have collected. This year I am most excited about Zabludowicz Collection artists: Rebecca Ackroyd, Darja Bajagić, Yael Bartana, Berlinde De Bruyckere, Louis Fraction, Barbara Hammer, Lauren Halsey, Rindon Johnson, Beatriz Milhazes, Ciprian Mureșan, Puppies Puppies (Jade Guanaro Kuriki-Olivo), Șerban Savu, Yinka Shonibare and Tesfaye Urgessa.

“With 330 artists from around the world it is going to be an immense education for us all,”  Tiffany Zabludowicz 

WW: What are the pavilions on your must-see list?

TZ: Number one is the British Pavilion, partly due to national loyalty, partly because Sir John Akomfrah is a great inspiration to so many artists! He is a founder of the Black Audio Film Collective, 1982. His beautiful films are imbued with symbolism and I will be sure to leave a lot of time for this pavilion, as I guarantee it will be a feat.

I cannot wait to see Tesfaye Urgessa carry the opportunity of the first ever Ethiopian Pavilion. I have a similar relationship to his paintings as I do to Philip Guston’s; with their soft, delightful palette they draw me in and with their haunting undertones they highlight challenging truths and always stay with me long after my viewing.

This year also introduces the first ever Nigerian pavilion and the great curator Aindrea Emelife, has chosen some of the best artists, including Yinka Shonibare, Tunji Adeniyi-Jones, and Precious Okoyomon. I can’t wait to see it!

The German pavilion, ‘Thresholds’ promises to envision a shared future for us all with works by Yael Bartana and Ersan Mondtag, exploring themes of national identity and trauma.

WW: Which artists’ work are you excited to see in the main exhibition?

TZ: I am most excited to see Rebecca Ackroyd’s ‘Mirror Stage’ curated by Attilia Fattori Franchini, at the Fondaco Marcello, a former tobacco warehouse—a history which the artist hasn’t shied away from. Ackroyd’s works are always so representative of our contemporary moment and yet also drenched in art historical references. 

WW: What are you looking forward to seeing outside the Giardini and Arsenale?

TZ: I am extremely excited for Max Levai’s exhibition of Frank Auerbach, a truly underrated master.

One of the best exhibitions I have ever seen was by Pierre Hughe’s retrospective at LACMA in 2014, which was so beautifully installed and deeply fascinating. I cannot wait to see his exhibition at the Pinault Foundation.

There are so many exciting performances this year including ones by Puppies Puppies, which will take place Friday and Saturday at 11:30am. Puppies Puppies, who just had an exhibition at the New Museum, performances are always surprising, thought-provoking, and emotional.

Advice for Biennale First-Timers

WW: Any advice for someone visiting Venice for the biennale for the first time?

TZ: Take your time exploring—don’t hesitate to travel to the strangest corners of the city—and most importantly, bring an umbrella!

5 Must-See Venice Masterpieces, According to Tiffany Zabludowicz 

1. Berlinde De Bruyckere’s “City of Refuge III” at Abbazia di San Giorgio Maggiore

Berlinde De Bruyckere Installation view of Berlinde De Bruyckere.

Curated by Carmelo A. Grasso, Ory Dessau, and Peter Buggenhout, Belgian artist Berlinde De Bruyckere debuts “City of Refuge III” within the spiritual arena of a 16th-century Benedictine church. Set on Venice’s transcendent island of San Giorgio Maggiore, where elements of Palladian architecture soar, the visionary offers new creations invoking the divinity of the storied space. Developed in partnership with the non-profit Benedicti Claustra Onlus and Director Carmelo A. Grasso, hypnotic installations of Arcangeli sculptures and wall-vitrine artworks throughout the church’s aisles, Sacristy, and Monastery radiate cultural and mythological vigor.

2. John Akomfrah: “Listening All Night to the Rain” at the British Pavilion 2024

Arcadia John Akomfrah, “Arcadia” (still), 2023. © Smoking Dogs Films © Lisson Gallery.

John Akomfrah’s immersive exhibition “Listening All Night To The Rain” delves into themes that have resonated throughout his four-decade career, ranging from memory and migration to racial injustice and climate change. This exhibition transcends conventional visual representation; in fact, it’s a call to action, encouraging audiences to listen attentively to the voices often marginalized or ignored. Akomfrah’s multi-layered installation invites viewers on a journey through the pavilion, where various media intertwine to create a dynamic exploration of contemporary issues.

3. The German Pavilion Debuts a Critical Reckoning of Migration 

60th Venice Biennale - German Pavilion artists German Pavilion Portraits; photo by Andrea Rossetti and Nick Ash, courtesy of the artists.

The German Pavilion debuts “Thresholds,” a critical reckoning of the complex meeting point between the past and future through migration and modes of belonging. Three visceral scenarios lead visitors through the new exhibition. Artist Yael Bartana embarks on the tragedies of the present with imagination and hopefulness for a collective future, while visionary Ersan Mondtag reveals a dramatic universe of memory in constant flux. Artists Michael Akstaller, Nicole L’Huillier, Robert Lippok, and Jan St. Werner activate the island of Certosa outside the Giardini with radiant themes of progression through space and time. 

4. Rebecca Ackroyd’s “Mirror Stage” at the Fondaco Marcello

Installation view of Rebecca Ackroyd, Installation view of Rebecca Ackroyd, “Mirror Stage,” photo by Andrea Rossetti, published by Kestner Gesellschaft.

Mirror Stage presents a collection of new works by Rebecca Ackroyd (b. 1987 in Cheltenham, UK). Assembled into a dreamlike installation where the artist’s singular processes of replication and fragmentation distort our perception of reality, desire and disgust, the familiar and the uncanny, past and present coalesce into an intriguing phantasmagoria comprising large-scale paintings, drawings, cast sculptures, and ready-made objects. — Source

5. Max Levai’s Exhibition of Frank Auerbach

Frank Auerbach Installation view of Frank Auerbach, photo by Sebastiano Pellion di Persano.

Max Levai is pleased to announce Frank Auerbach: Starting Again, a comprehensive presentation of the acclaimed British-German artist in Venice, Italy. The exhibition will be on view from April 18 through June 28, 2024—coinciding with La Biennale di Venezia. Mounted at Palazzo da Mosto in Venice, the show marks a return to the city in which Auerbach won the Golden Lion at the Biennale in 1986. For the first time since that watershed presentation, work from nearly five decades of the artist’s creative production will be on display in the city. The exhibition will span two levels of the historic Palazzo da Mosto—built by architect Antonio da Ponte at the end of the 16th century, just around the corner from where he would go on to design the famed Rialto Bridge. — Source

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