Venice Biennale No. 1: The Dogana Point

There is no better time to restart this blog than the Venice Biennale. I live in Venice about a hundred yards from the main section of the Biennale. I’ve lived here for two Biennale, and have never seen the main section. I’ve seen some of the outlying exhibits, but never the permanent pavilions. 

Last night we had a chance to get into the Dogana Point, a museum that is at the converted customs house, which shares the François Pinault Collection with Palazzo Grassi. I’ve been to both the Dogana and the Grassi. I’ve never been impressed with most of the works there, with the exception of a few Cy Twomblies. The current exhibition is no different.

The Dogana is a vast space. Lots of wonderful art could be displayed there, but the curators have chosen a generally hideous and uninteresting collection. A rectangular box full of water. An installation that looks as though it was inspired by the Ikea catalogue, cabinets and all. (Although were two large flower pots that interested me, but I couldn’t find a sales person.) A few poorly executed paintings. Three wheelbarrows, each with a crumpled up duffle bag. In other words, it was all crap.


The only interesting work was a piece called Décor by Algerian-born artist Adel Abdessemed, which consists of four sculptures of Jesus being crucified, rendered with razor wire. [put photos here  I’m usually a painting type of guy, not caring much for sculpture, but these were fascinating.

The takeaway: Don’t bother with the Dogana. It’s as uninteresting as usual, and not worth the fee.

(Photos not mine. They can be found on