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July 31 2014

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6 posts tagged "Venice Biennale"

Federico Marchetti Adds Art to Yoox’s Oeuvre

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Federico MarchettiThe impressive second-quarter results posted recently by the Yoox Group, Italy’s e-commerce giant, was further proof that the future of high fashion lies online. But can CEO Federico Marchetti (left) work the same magic with fine art? It has been on his mind since he launched Yoox fourteen years ago. “I’ve always had the notion of the one-stop shop, with a mixture of modern and vintage, clothes and furniture,” he says. “The art component is the one that closes the circle.”

Marchetti tested the waters last October with Damien Hirst, Grayson Perry, and the first-ever edition by Italy’s top Pop artist Francesco Vezzoli. “He did it to help earthquake relief in Emilia-Romagna, where I’m from,” explains Marchetti. “We did an edition of 399 priced at 399 euros, dollars, or pounds.” Yoox is now providing corporate sponsorship for Vezzoli’s Trinity, a series of three exhibitions in three cities, the first in Rome now until November 24, the second opening at New York’s MoMA PS1 in the fall, and the third at the Museum of Contemporary Art in L.A. in early winter.

But any multimillion-dollar business can cough up sponsorship dollars. It was Padiglione Crepaccio (below), the much humbler Yoox initiative during the opening days of the Venice Biennale, which cast a more interesting light on Marchetti’s intentions in the art world. Curator Caroline Corbetta assembled work by ten Venetian artists under 30—the sort of creative types who are usually overlooked when the Biennale’s grand caravan rolls into town every two years—and exhibited the result in the house where three of them live. (A very nice piece of old Venice it was, too, calculated to make starving artists everywhere else in the world utterly puce with envy.) The twist was that the exhibition preview was online. “Like Saatchi, but in reverse,” says Marchetti. “Everyone else got to see it online before the art-world elite got there.” Which didn’t stop heavy hitters like Vezzoli, Diesel’s Renzo Rosso, and cherished art-world provocateur Maurizio Cattelan (a patron saint to young Italian artists) from showing up in person at the opening.

Padiglione Crepaccio at Yoox.comWith his Acne jeans and his Lobb shoes, Marchetti is almost correct when he describes himself as the Yoox customer. And he was setting a good example by shopping for art at Padiglione Crepaccio. (In keeping with the initiative, it was only possible to buy the pieces on the iPads provided, even if you were standing right in front of the art and the artist). Right now, Marchetti is picturing art on Yoox as “something like a TV talent show, 99 percent talent, 1 percent the special X factor.” But going forward, he imagines people picking up “a pair of jeans and a painting” when they visit the site. “It’s part of the plan to make yoox.com a playful lifestyle,” he adds. “But playful in a serious way. It’s not the Amazon approach. We’re serious about collaboration.” Serious enough, in fact, to partner with the legendary photo agency Magnum—its first venture into e-commerce—and Hirst’s publishing company, Other Criteria.

But when Marchetti insists, “Surprise is the beauty of Yoox,” I flip back to the young artists in Venice, in particular a painter called Thomas Braida. With talent like his in the equation, people are going to be picking up way more than one painting with their pair of jeans.

Photos: David Needleman (Federico Marchetti); Courtesy of Yoox

Beyond the Arty Parties: A Look Inside the Venice Biennale

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Massimiliano Gioni at the Trussardi partyThings must once have been so much easier for the social set. They simply followed the sun. But in the past few weeks alone, the bold-type butterflies have winged from Frieze in New York to the film festival in Cannes—with diversions to Monte Carlo for the Dior Resort show and the Grand Prix—and, now, to Venice, where the Biennale, the senior citizen of international art events, swung into gear with three preview days. They launched with the New Museum’s dinner on Tuesday night for its director of exhibitions, Massimiliano Gioni (left), who is not only the curator of this year’s Biennale but also the artistic director of the Nicola Trussardi Foundation in Milan. On Thursday night, it was the Trussardis’ turn to host a party in honor of Gioni. Jessica Chastain and Leonardo DiCaprio were among the guests. Bridging the two evenings was an opening at the Fondazione Prada of an exhibition that fetishistically re-creates, down to the size of the rooms in the original, a watershed show from the Kunsthalle Bern in 1969.

All in all, the preview days perfectly captured the swirling symbiosis of art, film, and fashion that is currently gilding popular culture with a hectic glamour. But even the movie stars couldn’t deflect the spotlight from the 39-year-old Gioni, who, with charisma to spare, has hitched his own star to the venerable wagon of the Biennale, in the process creating the kind of art happening that people will buzz about for years—or at least for the rest of 2013 (it closes November 24).

Marino Aurtiri's installation at the Venice Biennale

If you have the great good fortune to make it to Venice this summer, you’ll be able to experience Gioni’s recasting of contemporary art as something playful, wondrous, mythic. His launchpad—and the title he has given his curatorial effort—is The Encyclopedic Palace. In 1955, an Italian immigrant named Marino Auriti imagined a towering structure covering sixteen blocks on the National Mall in Washington, DC, where all the world’s knowledge could be stored (above). The scale model Auriti built is the centerpiece of Gioni’s exhibition in the Arsenale, the complex of ancient warehouses and armories that is one of the Biennale’s “official” locations. So powerful is Auriti’s concept that it immediately strikes an obsessive, fantastical, almost dreamlike chord, which echoes not just through the Arsenale but through the work of the dozens of artists Gioni has curated in the huge central pavilion of the Giardini, the municipal gardens that are the Biennale’s other focal point. In fact, that chord is so insanely irresistible (literally—the obsession bordering on madness of outsider art is one of the dominant sensibilities on display) that it seemed to infect the exhibitions staged in the international pavilions that encircled Gioni’s playground. These ambassadorial exercises in aesthetics (picture a World’s Fair of art) are often heavy-going, but I tried to imagine what kids would make of Jeremy Deller’s murals and bird-of-prey movie in the UK pavilion, or Vadim Zakharov’s huge showerhead raining gold coins down on the crowd in the Russian pavilion (below), or Mathias Poledna’s three-minute cartoon in the Austrian pavilion, which revives Disney’s labor-intensive pre-digital animation of the late thirties and early forties to gorgeous, disturbing effect. I felt like a kid myself looking at these things, thrilled, enthralled, slightly derailed, but refreshed of vision. Continue Reading “Beyond the Arty Parties: A Look Inside the Venice Biennale” »

A Time Warp in Venice, Courtesy of Prada

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If Prada’s Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola-directed Candy films are any indication, Mrs. Prada is an expert in cultural cross-pollination. So, naturally, the designer’s Fondazione Prada will be hosting an exhibition at the fifty-fifth Venice Biennale, which kicks off June 1. But don’t expect a Met-esque fashion venture. Instead, Prada will present When Attitudes Become Form: Bern 1969/Venice 2013—a to-a-tee re-creation of a groundbreaking show held in Bern, Switzerland, in 1969. The foundation plans to bring together works from the original installation (above), which featured icons such as Sol LeWitt, Richard Serra, Eva Hesse, Claes Oldenburg, and Carl Andre. And because it’s Prada, the whole thing will be set in the foundation’s eighteenth century palace, Ca’ Corner della Regina. Vintage conceptual art in Prada’s Italian mini-castle? We say bring on the Biennale.

When Attitudes Become Form: Bern 1969/Venice 2013will be on view at the Ca’ Corner della Regina, in Venice, from June 1 through November 24.

Photo: An installation view of Live in
Your Head. When Attitudes Become Form, 1969, via grupaok.tumblr.com

Postcard From Venice: Laure Heriard Dubreuil Reports From The Final Days Of The Biennale

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The Webster co-founder Laure Heriard Dubreuil and her boyfriend, artist Aaron Young, hit Venice this week for the legendary Biennale di Venezia. For those farther than a vaporetto away from the action, she’s sending back updates on the sights and the sounds (and a few parties, too).

We started Friday at the Prada Foundation, which I found to be one of the highlights of the entire Biennale. I totally related to Maurizio Cattelan’s sculpture of an ostrich with its head in the ground (left), but I have to say—clothes being such an important element of my life—my favorite piece was Louise Bourgeois’ cell (clothes) from 1996. Walking around it, you snuck peeks through a pair of glass doors to discover a white blouse with the words “The cold of anxiety is very real” embroidered in red.

After the Foundation, I walked around the little streets with Aaron and went for a gelato. It’s a must in Italy, especially with this beautiful weather. We couldn’t resist any longer. Then onto an antique little shoemaker’s shop behind Piazza San Marco to get a pair of Gondoliers’ velvet shoes. I’d love to wear them totally worn-out in red and navy with summer dresses… (Speaking of summer dresses, there were plenty on display over the course of the festival…and none more popular among festivalgoers than Prada’s and Alaïa’s. I haven’t been anywhere for the past five days without seeing at least four or five beautiful women showing off one or the other’s Spring 2011 collections!)

From there, went to see Julian Schnabel’s show, Permanently Becoming and the Architecture of Seeing at the Museo Correr. The show was closed when we arrived but fortunately Julian arrived at the same time with Cyprien Gaillard (another artist who has a few pieces in Venice, too) and they opened the doors for us. The ballroom was completely dark when we entered, as the shutters were already closed, but Julian opened a window himself and the sunlight brought his piece El Spontaneo (for Abelardo Martinez) (1990) back to life! Continue Reading “Postcard From Venice: Laure Heriard Dubreuil Reports From The Final Days Of The Biennale” »

Postcard From Venice: Laure Heriard Dubreuil Reports From The Biennale

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The Webster co-founder Laure Heriard Dubreuil and her boyfriend, artist Aaron Young, hit Venice this week for the legendary Biennale di Venezia. For those farther than a vaporetto away from the action, she’s sending back updates on the sights and the sounds (and a few parties, too).

Thursday was another beautiful day in Venice, and we went to see all of the countries’ pavilions at the Giardini. Even before seeing the art, I was blown away by the very intense smell of jasmine, my favorite fragrance and the one I wear. The entire fence surrounding the garden is covered by blossoming jasmine flowers. Continue Reading “Postcard From Venice: Laure Heriard Dubreuil Reports From The Biennale” »