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Venice Biennale

The Best of the Venice Biennale: Tiepolo, Ai Weiwei, Chloe Wise, and More

The 60th edition of the Venice Biennale is currently on view, bringing together some of the most celebrated emerging and established artists in the world. We’ve compiled some of the best exhibitions on display.

The theme of this year’s Venice Biennale is “Stranieri Ovunque – Foreigners Everywhere,” paying homage to a Turin collective that fought racism and xenophobia in Italy in the early 2000s. As explained by curator Adriano Pedrosa, “stranieri ovunque” has two meanings: wherever you are, you will always encounter foreigners; and no matter where you find yourself, you are always, deep down, a foreigner yourself.

With 330 participating artists from over 90 countries across the globe, the sheer number of exhibitions to visit is staggering. We’ve compiled some definitive must-sees, from an assortment of Walton Ford’s paintings in conversation with Tiepolo to a retrospective of the esteemed Franco-Chinese painter Chu Teh-Chun.

Venice Biennale Christopher Bucklow, “Tetrarch (Claudia Schiffer),” multiple aperture pinhole photograph, 2010. Courtesy of the artist.

“Breasts,” Curated by Carolina Pasti at ACP Palazzo Franchetti

April 18–November 24, 2024

With “Breasts,” curator Carolina Pasti presents a myriad of ways in which the female body can be hidden, flaunted, eroticized, and historicized as seen through the eyes of thirty emerging and established artists. Prune Nourry debuts a sculpture made of a breast made of Venetian glass and bronze, nodding to her survival of breast cancer. Robert Mapplethorpe and Irving Penn’s photographs document the female form as something dreamlike and ephemeral, showing breasts from unconventional angles. Marcel Duchamp takes a light-hearted approach with “Prière de toucher (Please Touch)” (1947), a book with a foam-rubber breast affixed to its cover. Chloe Wise’s “Soccer” (2023) is both frank and expressive in its depiction of a woman’s breasts resting on a soccer ball, while a headless woman covering her breasts modestly retains her anonymity in an unnamed painting by Anna Weyant. In its totality, Breasts indicates that the female body functions as a catalyst for larger conversations about illness, sexuality, motherhood, and body image.

Venice Biennale Yoo Youngkuk, Work, 1961, oil on canvas, 136 x 194 cm © Yoo Youngkuk Art Foundation

Yoo Youngkuk: “A Journey to the Infinite” with Fondazione Querini Stampalia

April 20—November 24, 2024

Documenting the evolution of one of Korea’s most important artists, “A Journey to the Infinite” is a true standout at this year’s Venice Biennale. Yoo Youngkuk made history by integrating traditional Korean aesthetics into modern Western art movements like Surrealism and Constructionism while pioneering avant-garde movements of his own. Now, for the first time ever, the painter’s works will be presented in a solo show in Europe. Curated by Kim Inhye, “A Journey to the Infinite” presents thirty of Youngkuk’s large-scale oil paintings and twenty copper prints alongside an array of photographs in the historic Fondazione Querini Stampalia. Many of the works presented date back to the 1960s and 1970s, when Youngkuk worked alone in his studio with minimal social interactions.

Venice Biennale Chu Teh-Chun, Sans Titre (Personnages), 1955. © Adagp, Paris, 2024 © Fondation CHU Teh-Chun

Chu Teh-Chun: “In Nebula” at Fondazione Giorgio Cini

April 20–June 30, 2024

Curated by art historian Matthieu Poirier,In Nebula” is a retrospective devoted to the celebrated Franco-Chinese painter Chu Teh-Chun. Boasting exceptional loans, this collection presents fifty emblematic paintings mostly produced from 1955 onwards—the year Teh-Chun permanently moved to Paris, settling among the Western avant-garde. In Nebula unfolds in reverse chronological order, displayed in a panoptic manner across three levels of the Fondazione Giorgio Cini. The exhibition indicates Teh-Chun’s major contributions to gestural abstraction, forming a link between Hans Hartung, Mark Rothko, and Helen Frankenthaler.

Venice Biennale Paul Cézanne, Young girl with loose hair, c. 1873/1874, oil on canvas © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie, Museum Berggruen, Leihgabe aus Privatbesitz / Jens Ziehe

Picasso, Matisse, Klee, and Giacometti: “Elective Affinities” at Gallerie dell’Accademia

March 24–June 23, 2024

This spring, more than 40 modernist masterpieces by  Picasso, Matisse, Klee, and Giacometti make their Italian debut courtesy of Berlin’s Museum Berggruen — Neue Nationalgalerie.Elective Affinities” puts these works in conversation with celebrated Venetian paintings by renowned artists including Giambattista Tiepolo, Pietro Longhi, Giorgione, and Canova. This showcase spans two venues, Gallerie dell’Accademia and Casa dei Tre Oci, and invites viewers to compare these two important collections’ similarities in iconography and subject matter. Picasso’s portrait of “Dora Maar with Green Fingernails” (1936) is displayed alongside Giorgione’s “La Vecchia” (1506), uniting to offer an introspective look at the intimate relationship between artist and sitter.

Walton Ford, Phantom, 2023. Watercolor, gouache and ink on paper, 60 x 119 1/2 inches. © Walton Ford.

Walton Ford: “Lion of God” at Ateneo Veneto

April 17–September 22, 2024

Walton Ford masterfully depicts animals in the wild via rich, saturated portraits. This week, the painter makes his Italian solo show debut with “Lion of God,” a major site-specific exhibition featuring a new body of work. Lion of God takes up two rooms at Ateneo Veneto, an educational institution steeped in Venetian history—Tintoretto, Pietro Longhi, and Alessandro Vittoria are among the famed painters whose works line the building’s halls. Ford’s exhibition is in conversation with the institution’s art collection: Tintoretto’s “Apparizione della Vergine a San Girolamo (The Apparition of the Virgin to St. Jerome)” (1580), which also features a lion cast dramatically in dark light, is to be found alongside Ford’s sweeping watercolors.

Venice Biennale Christoph Büchel, “The Diamond Maker” (2020)

Christoph Büchel: “Monte di Pietà” at Fondazione Prada

April 20–November 24, 2024

Monte di Pietà” presents a series of historical and contemporary works by Swiss artist Christoph Büchel, with a vast selection of objects and documents centered on the history of property, credit, and finance. Hosted in the Ca’ Corner della Regina building, this exhibition interrogates the development of collections and archives, as well as the creation and meaning of real or artificial wealth; Monte di Pietà ruminates on the many institutions that have historically offered financial relief to the poor as an alternative to predatory lending practices. Perhaps no work unites these themes more than “The Diamond Maker” (2020), a suitcase containing lab-grown diamonds.

Venice Biennale Ioan Sbârciu, Transylvanian Lights, 2015. Courtesy of Isabelle Arthuis.

Ioan Sbârciu: “Estranged from Nature” with Zuecca Projects and the European ArtEast Foundation

April 16–July 14, 2024

For this year’s edition of the Venice Biennale, esteemed Romanian painter Ioan Sbârciu decided to focus on issues of estrangement, loss, and resilience. “Estranged from Nature,” curated by Maria Rus Bojan, comprises the artist’s most ambitious exhibition to date, yielding a coherent overview of the recurrent themes that have permeated his work since the 1980s. Sbârciu is renowned for his monumental landscapes, and here they manifest as tempered explosions of color on canvas. In three interrelated paintings successively entitled “Cinder Forest,” “Transylvanian Lights,” and “Infinite Landscape,” Sbârciu imbues a sense of mythology within landscapes that bring gardens and rivers to mind.

Morad Mostafa, “I Promise You Paradise” (2023)

“Your Ghosts are Mine” with Qatar Museums at ACP Palazzo Franchetti

April 19–November 24, 2024

Curated by Matthieu Orléan, “Your Ghosts of Mine” traverses themes of communal memory and transnational exile as seen through the eyes of over 40 filmmakers and video artists coming from the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia. Works range from fiction and animation to documentary and memoir; the invented narrative is blended with fact, and spirituality is infused with postcolonial sensibilities. Though the ideas in Your Ghosts of Mine are plentiful, the topics of deserts, borders, and cultural ruins consistently recur throughout the exhibition like a thought one cannot shake. Orléan remarked of the showcase, “These films don’t belong to the mass media and cultural industry. They follow their paths, never forgetting that they are and will be perceived as pieces of history.”

Venice Biennale Ai Weiwei, Sleeping Venus with Coat Hanger, 2022, LEGO bricks, 308 x 500,5 cm, 121.6 x 197.04 in. Photographer: Ela Bialkowska, OKNO Studio.

Ai Weiwei: “Neither Nor” with Galleria Continua

April 13–September 15, 2024

One of the most transformative, versatile artists of our time, Ai Weiwei’s work transcends the confines of any single medium while giving way to larger ideas about politics and the culture at large. The artist’s creative career can now be traced through “Neither Nor,” an exhibition at Galleria Continua comprising a vast assortment of new works made with LEGO bricks alongside historical works made from porcelain, wood, bamboo, and marble. “Neither Nor” is a continuation of the iconoclastic, darkly political work that made Weiwei famous. The artist inserts the gravest aspects of our contemporary culture into masterpieces by artists like Giorgione and Leonardo da Vinci, infusing a sense of death and disaster into traditional and well-known works. Of his choice to create such sinister pieces with seemingly light-hearted LEGOs, Weiwei remarked, “The existence and logic of using LEGO as a structure are surprisingly consistent with the logic of my expression on social media… Both include temporal and spatial factors, the flattening, fragmentation and expropriated continuity of media and reality, including existence itself, ideologies, politics and events, and linguistic approaches to culture and dreams.”

“A World Of Many Worlds” with Asymmetry Art Foundation & Asia Forum

April 20, 2024

Co-presented with Asia Forum, “A World of Many Worlds” is a one-day assembly hosted on the first day the Venice Biennale is open to the public. An engaging series of keynotes, panel conversations, performances, mini-tours, and screenings will be hosted at the historic Fondazione Querini Stampali. Anchoring the program are two roundtable discussions that ask poignant questions for our times: “How are Asian diasporas imagining future worlds beyond existing thought paradigms?” and “How are eco-conscious practices advocating for climate justice and transnational solidarity in a globally entangled world?”

Eun-Me Ahn: Event/Performance Curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist

April 18, 2024

Trained in traditional Korean dance and shamanic practices, Eun-Me Ahn presents a performance curated by the Swiss art critic Hans Ulrich Obrist on the island of San Giacomo. In her performances, Ahn deliberately shifts between joy and gravity, discords, and shamanic rituals.




As we get ready for the 60th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, open April 20—November 24, 2024, we’re sharing the must-see Venice Pavilions.
We speak with Troy Makaza about his installation at the Zimbabwe Pavilion in the Venice Biennale about finding innovation in tradition.
Here we spotlight the pavilions you won’t want to miss, including the Denmark, Spain, Netherlands, Romania, Iceland, Taiwan, and Saudi Arabia Pavilions.


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