A boy with a red tie, seated with his alert gaze trained on the artist. It is one of the eighty-two portraits distinguished by irony and, especially, by the dazzling pop colours of David Hockney, the eighty year old contemporary figurative arts master.
The Venice City Museums Foundation is presenting them at Ca’ Pesaro, in what is considered the biggest showcase dedicated in Italy to this artist, as a feather in the cap of an already extraordinary series of exhibitions addressing contemporary art by this Venetian institution, a preserver of Venetian museum heritage.
An Englishman by birth but a Californian by choice – maybe the ‘explanation’ for the artist’s bright colors stems from this fact – Hockney, a historical exponent of British pop art, offers us the depiction of what his personal relations are with the international artistic world, but also with his daily life.
And he carries out this project as if it were a challenge, a decidedly unusual one for an artist: he allows himself the same time span for each single portrait: three days, with three sessions lasting six hours and… the same context, a chair, always the same one, with the same neutral background.
This exhibition, which has just opened, may be considered as the peak of the Contemporary MUVE series of showcases presented by the City Museums for the occasion of the Biennale International Exhibition, but there are more, many other ones.
Among them, it is impossible not to mention the exhibitions by Mark Tobey at the Peggy Guggenheim, by Damien Hirst at Palazzo Grassi, by Philip Guston at Galleries of the Accademia; by Valery Koshlyakov at Ca’ Foscari, by Sottsass at the Cini Foundation, by David Lachapelle at the Casa dei Treoci, in addition to wonderful collective ones, like Intuition, set up at Palazzo Fortuny; The captain lied at Ca’ Corner della Regina (Prada Foundation); Glass Stress at Palazzo Franchetti; Force Space construction at the V.A.C. Foundation (Zattere).
The contemporary – but in this case only due to the technology used in setting it up – includes Magister Giotto, a spectacular multimedia showcase (the first of a series dedicated to the great masters of Italian art) scheduled for 13 July inside the monumental venues at the Misericordia.
But although art cannot avoid captivating guests in Venice, there are also other important opportunities for enjoying the city, according to what the moment offers.
The Redentore or Redeemer Fête for instance. It is one of the most picturesque events in Venetian tradition, a contemporary recital of an event that has characterised city customs and its history for centuries.
The religious celebration, characterised by a pilgrimage over a floating boat-bridge, is accompanied by the lay one, still distinguished nowadays by an evening spent between the quays and the water basin in front of the church and St. Mark’s dock.
During this period, in addition to the Redentore, there are many patron-saint festivities with their own regatta, the only remaining expressions of the town people’s soul.
Finally, there are shows. Among them all, the ones at La Fenice Theatre, with the performance of Vincenzo Bellini’s Sleepwalker and Giuseppe Verdi’s Traviata. In addition to these, together with the various programmed rendez-vous, there is an experimental artwork by Fabrizio Plessi and a special evening with Massimo Ranieri.
Regarding ballet, we may point out the last show of First Chapter at the Tese in the Arsenal, for the eleventh edition of the International Contemporary Dance Festival and the opening of the 45th edition of the International Theatre Festival, both events produced by the Venice Biennale.