Sunday, June 24, 2012

Art Night Venezia 2012

The courtyard of the Ex-Ospedale degli Incurabili, now L'Accademia di Belle Arti, last night
Judging from the crowds at the few venues we managed to visit, the second edition of Art Night Venezia (or l'arte libera la notte) was a huge success.

From 6 pm until midnight last night, museums, private and public institutions, bookstores, and theaters all over the city hosted performances and exhibitions--all free to the public.

The impossible list of venues we wanted to visit totaled 13--just a fraction of what was on offer--and ranged from an exhibition at La Scuola Grande San Giovanni Evangelista in San Polo to another at Fondazione Querini Stampalia in Castello.

Having gotten a very late start, and in the company of a 4 1/2-year-old, we managed a total of just three.

 First among them was a visit to The Palazzo Cini Gallery at San Vio. Jen and I had tried to visit a couple of months ago, only to learn how very out-of-date our trusty Venetian guidebook was: it was closed--and not just for the part of the year designated in our guidebook, but year-round. So last night was our only chance.

How I'd like to post a photo here of Botticelli's Judgement of Paris, of Pontormo's Double Portrait of Two Friends, or of a particularly beautiful 14th-century Sienese painting of Christ the Redeemer, all gold and pale rose, but photo-taking was not allowed, the guard told me, except with a cell phone. The image at right, of Sassetta's Madonna dell'umilità, is from, but is worth a visit to the Palazzo Cini all by itself--if you ever find it open again.

For the guard confirmed that the Palazzo's gallery is now closed year-round, except for special events. He vaguely alluded to the possibility of it re-opening for part of the year again some time in the future--but more in a tone of amiability than conviction. 

Two Guggenheim favorites: Marini & Brancusi
Our next stop was to an institution you'll have no trouble finding open: the Guggenheim Museum. It was, as always, marvelous--and packed with people. Sandro's favorite things there were a very large contemporary outdoor mechanical piece--like a faceless and hence purposeless clock--and a 4 euro can of Fanta from the museum cafe served in a tall glass of ice with a straw nearly as long as his arm by a very nice pair of baristi.

Like many others, he also could not help but remark upon the pipoto (Venetian term for penis) of Marino Marini's enthusiastic Angel of the City, at right.

By the time we finally finished with the Guggenheim, the concerts at our next destination--Ca' Artom, right next door on the Grand Canal--had concluded, so I can't tell you a thing about the inside of that palazzo, now used by Wake Forest University for their study-abroad program.

All indications at our final venue were that the open studios at the Accademia di Belle Arti in the Ex-Ospedale degli Incurabili on Zattere would be happening well beyond the scheduled midnight closing time. But it was already too late for Sandro, asleep in his stroller despite an early evening nap, and we could only devote a little time to works that merited much more.

It was perhaps the perfect venue to end at, however, this hive of energy and creativity and, yes, even hope, along one edge of this city that some people are all-too-ready to write off as merely a museum. Art is still being made in this city, as you can see below, and it was reassuring to see this at the end of the evening, to find that this essential urge does seem to be incurable.


  1. Sounds like a fabulous evening and how lucky to get to see the Cini! Every book mentions how fabulous the Cini collection is. So glad you were able to see it. I love those crawling babies in the next to last photo.

    1. After being so disappointed to find that the Cini was closed forever (it seemed) a couple months ago, it was indeed exciting to find it open for one night at least. Those babies were fun; I wish Sandro had been awake to see them...