Art Fairs

Jasper Sharp's Highlights of the Venice Biennale 2019

By Sotheby's
British art historian Jasper Sharp is Curator for Modern and Contemporary Art at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, where he has curated exhibitions of artists such as Lucian Freud, Joseph Cornell, Susan Philipsz, and the current Mark Rothko retrospective. Here, he selects his picks of must-see exhibitions and pavilions at the 58th Venice Biennale.
Jasper Sharp at the Mark Rothko exhibition at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, March 2019. Stefan Fuertbauer

Arshile Gorky: 1904-1948 Ca’ Pesaro – International Gallery of Modern Art
A survey of the remarkable Armenian-American artist Arshile Gorky, this is the exhibition that I am perhaps most looking forward to in Venice this year. An important conduit between Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism whose life was cut tragically short at the age of 44, Gorky was one the most gifted painters and draughtsmen of the twentieth century.
Ca’ Pesaro – International Gallery of Modern Art

Jannis Kounellis Fondazione Prada, Ca’ Corner della Regina, Venice
The Prada Foundation will this year present a retrospective of the late Arte Povera artist Jannis Kounellis, the first since his death in 2017. Curated by his long-time collaborator Germano Celant, it will bring together more than seventy major works from 1958 to 2016 in the elegant canalside galleries of Ca’ Corner.
Fondazione Prada

Jannis Kounellis performing at Centro Arti Visive Pescheria, Pesaro 2016. Photo Michele Alberto Sereni.

Edmund de Waal: Psalm Ghetto Nuovo / Ateneo Veneto, Venice
Edmund de Waal will create an exhibition located in two historical venues: the Canton Scuola, a 16th-century synagogue in the Jewish Ghetto, and the 15th century Aula Magna room at the Ateneo Veneto, which will house a pavilion holding 2,000 books written by exiled writers from Ovid to the present day.
Canton Scuola, Ghetto Nuovo/Ateneo Veneto

Time, Forward! Palazzo delle Zattere, Venice
This year the V-A-C Foundation will present an ambitious exhibition on the subject of time curated by Omar Kholeif. Composed entirely of newly-commissioned works, it will include artists Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Rosa Barba, Daria Irincheeva, Alexandra Sukhareva, Adam Linder, Haroon Mirza, Walid Raad and James Richards.
V-A-C Foundation

Rosa Barba, Trujillo region. U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center, 1977. © USGS. Courtesy of V–A–C Foundation, Venice.

May You Live in Interesting Times Central Pavilion, Giardini, and Arsenale
The Biennale’s central exhibition is curated this year by Ralph Rugoff, Director of the Hayward Gallery, London. The list of artists is shorter than in previous years, and includes several of the most promising younger artists including Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Avery Singer, Alex Da Corte and Ulrike Müller.

Liu Wei, Microworld, 2018. Courtesy Liu Wei Studio & Faurschou Foundation Beijing. Photo © Jonathan Leijonhufvud.

National Pavilion of the United States Giardini, Venice
A long-overdue recognition for the brilliant sculptor and draughtsman Martin Puryear, one of the quiet heroes of post-war American art. Curated by the Madison Square Park Conservancy, an institution focused exclusively on public art, it will be well worth standing in line for.
Giardini Della Biennale

Martin Puryear, Big Bling at Madison Square Park, 2016. © Martin Puryear. Courtesy of Matthew Marks Gallery.

National Pavilion of Ghana Artiglierie, Arsenale
The first ever appearance for Ghana at the Biennale features a pavilion in the historical Artiglierie of the Arsenale designed by David Adjaye, with contributions from six artists including John Akomfrah, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye and El Anatsui.

Olivetti Showroom Piazza San Marco
Don’t even think about leaving Venice without visiting this iconic shop, designed by legendary Venetian architect Carlo Scarpa in 1958 and located in the Procuratie Vecchie of Piazza San Marco. Private tours can be arranged in advance.
Olivetti Piazza San Marco

WATCH: Tim Marlow's Must-See Museum Shows: The Venice Biennale's Best Installations, from America to Ghana

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