Stefano Tonchi reviews Francois Pinault’s two-space show in Venice:
All the usual suspects are in attendance — Takashi Murakami, Cindy Sherman, Richard Prince, Marlene Dumas, Luc Tuymans, Rachel Whiteread, David Hammons, Mike Kelley, Cy Twombly, Thomas Schütte — joined now and then by a young or lesser-known artist. But unlike at Palazzo Grassi, the younger artists rarely leave a strong impression here. A room by Matthew Day Jackson strangely makes you feel the absence of any works by Damien Hirst; Richard Hughes’s “Broken Circle” graffiti monoliths pale in front of Twombly’s complex painting; Marc Grotjahn’s dark oil canvases fail to catch the Venetian light, while Huang Yong Ping’s gigantic meteor crashing down on a football field lands with a political thud; and Mark Handforth’s “Drunken Moon” sculpture, with its red laser beam eye, feels gimmicky installed in the Dogana tower, where it functions as a contemporary and dysfunctional lighthouse.
Occasionally you feel like you are walking through a show of the greatest hits from the best galleries in the world, the faint echo of the art market reverberating through the rooms. But the sublime location, the curators’ taste and the city of Venice itself combine to make the Dogana a unique and special experience. The show continues at Palazzo Grassi where a few rooms hold great surprises from the Pinault vaults (Erro next to Gelain, Pistoletto next to Adel Abdessemed). All in all, the Pinault Foundation is an incredible gift to Venice, a counterpoint to the official Art Biennale, that is expected this year to travel far from established territories and away from the coasts favored by rich collectors.
The Other Biennale (The Moment/New York Times)