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With a museum circuit extending across the historic city and on the mainland, the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia presents an exhibition programme for 2022 that embraces both history and contemporary art.
The reopening of the Museo Fortuny, the return of the restored rooms in the Palazzo Reale to the Museo Correr, the MUVE Contemporaneo biennale with Anselm Kiefer, Afro and Raqib Shaw, the shows of MUVE Mestre on the mainland and of MUVE Outdoor abroad, the International Year of Glass, the Lace Biennale, events to mark the 150th anniversary of the death of the explorer Giovanni Miani and the return to the lagoon, after centuries, of the Venetian paintings in the Pushkin collection.
The Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia enters the year 2022 with the eagerly awaited reopening of two key places in the city’s museum circuit. The first to reopen its doors, two years after the Acqua Granda, is the Museo Fortuny in the Palazzo Pesaro degli Orfei. It now has a new exhibition layout focusing on the life that animated it when it was the home and workshop of Mariano Fortuny – 2021 was the 150th anniversary of his birth – and his wife and muse Henriette Negrin. The Fortuny, as it is called by Venetians, is to become a permanent exhibition venue. Paintings, clothes and fabrics, lighting and stage designs and everything associated with the artistic and productive paths that evolved in the palace, at the centre of the cosmopolitan relations of the age, will once again be on display for Venetians and visitors to admire all year round. The Museum will however also continue to host temporary exhibitions, with a particular emphasis on the contemporary.
Also long awaited, and delayed due to the pandemic, is the opening of the whole of the Palazzo Reale in the Museo Correr, the rooms of which look out over the basin of San Marco and the Royal Gardens. Occupied by various state offices for many years, the rooms have undergone a refurbishment initiated and carried forward by the Fondazione and Venice City Council together with the Soprintendenza and the Demanio dello Stato and with the crucial backing of the Comité Français pour la Sauvegarde de Venise with its international donors. Following appropriate, extensive and carefully judged restoration work, a new itinerary will now take visitors on a spectacular journey through 19th-century history, exploring, in their original location, the furniture and exquisite craft artefacts that belonged to the Habsburgs and then the House of Savoy. This priceless legacy, which has never been on public display before, is now being returned to the citizens of Venice, an important moment that is part of a wider project to open new exhibition spaces that will form the Grande Correr in the Marciana area.
In 2022 the Palazzo Ducale, which lies at the heart of Venice’s museum network, will host three major temporary exhibitions. Venetia 1600. Nascite e rinascite, which is currently running in the Appartamento del Doge, has been extended until June. Visitors can trace the history and representation of the episodes of crisis and rebirth of a truly unique city which is now 1600 years old. This anniversary will also be marked, in April, by the opening of an eagerly awaited installation by Anselm Kiefer, one of the leading artists active today, in the Sala dello Scrutinio, that comes with a title from the writings of the Venetian philosopher Andrea Emo: “Questi scritti, quando verranno bruciati, daranno finalmente un po’ di luce” (“When they are burnt, these writings will finally provide some light ”) and works created for the palace. The exhibition is part of MUVE Contemporaneo. In September Dialoghi veneziani (Venetian dialogues ) opens in the Appartamento del Doge. This exceptional exhibition will comprise paintings by leading Venetian artists active between the fifteenth and eighteenth century that will arrive from the Pushkin State Museum in Moscow. The priceless body of artworks include masterpieces by Titian, Guardi, Bellotto and Canaletto. The history of the transmigration of Venetian art towards the collections of the Tzar and then of the Soviet empire, accompanied by exemplary works from the collections of Venetian museums, will offer new angles for comparison of forms and styles in the repertoire of the great Venetian painting of that period. It will be a unique occasion for scholars and the general public to admire paintings that have been in Russia for centuries.
MUVE Contemporaneo has as its centrepiece the Anselm Kiefer exhibition at the Palazzo Ducale, and as its natural locus the Galleria Internazionale d’Arte Moderna in Ca’ Pesaro, that for this edition it is presenting Afro 1950-1970 Dall’Italia all’America e ritorno/ From Italy to America and Back, a tribute to one of the leading lights of Italian painting in the second half of the twentieth century and his twenty-year dealings with the American art world. In the same museum the English contemporary art scene is represented by a site-specific exhibition curated by Norman Rosenthal, Raqib Shaw. Palazzo della memoria, in which the artist of Indian origin translates visions of great Venetian painting into finely wrought surfaces. Es-senze, held on the piani nobili of the Museo di Palazzo Mocenigo, Centro Studi di Storia del Tessuto, del Costume e del Profumo, will comprise works by a group of artists active on the international contemporary creative scene, who explore the “artistic” potential of the senses, in particular that of smell. In Museo del Vetro di Murano the exhibition Silicon Dioxide has been extended, featuring the sculptures of Tony Cragg, his historic assemblages and new works, offering the English artist’s new curiosity for the various effects of the glass, in an installation enriched by a series of drawings, prints and watercolors. In Mestre, the Centro Culturale Candiani will host Punto, linea e superficie. Kandinsky e le avanguardie. Currently running at the Galleria Comunale d’Arte Contemporanea in Monfalcone, the exhibition is curated by the Galleria Internazionale d’Arte Moderna at Ca’ Pesaro, which, drawing on its own collections, traces a path back through the contemporary period to the works of the father of abstraction.
The MUVE Mestre project is continuing and gathering momentum, with a new website and a consolidated programme, especially in the Centro Culturale Candiani and in Forte Marghera. The new year saw the opening of the third edition of Artefici del nostro tempo, a competition for young artists held by Venice City Council and organized by the Fondazione MUVE. In Spring the selected artists will be invited to showcase their work in the Venice Pavilion at the Biennale and in the Summer at the big group show at Forte Marghera. Autumn will see the return, as usual, of the Premio Mestre di Pittura, curated in part by MUVE; a group show of the selected artists will be held at the Centro Culturale Candiani, where La pesca in laguna, a fascinating exhibition about fishing in the lagoon, is running until the Spring.
MUVE Outdoor 2022 will see the opening of Vittore Carpaccio: Master Storyteller of Renaissance Venice at the National Gallery of Washington in November. This show on the master of the Venetian Renaissance was to have followed but will now precede the show that was programmed for Palazzo Ducale but which has been put back due to the pandemic to the Spring of 2023. In February, the exhibition Wonder and Inspiration. Venice and the Arts of Islam will open in March in the Museum of Islamic Civilization in the Emirate of Sharjah. It focuses on the precious and sophisticated arts of Islam, which came to Venice – a bridge between East and West – over the centuries and found their way into the houses of merchants and finally, after the fall of the Serenissima, into its museum collections, from where the works and objects on display come. Finally, in September, an itinerant virtual exhibition, Venise et la Mer, will be presented in the Grand Palais at the Bastille in Paris. The product of a collaboration between the Fondazione MUVE, RMN – Réunion des Musées Nationaux and the French start-up ICONEM, it uses an innovative digital approach to enable an international audience to discover and explore a city with a great past that is looking to the future.
2022 is the International Year of Glass and the Fondazione MUVE is taking part with the Museo del Vetro di Murano, grasping the opportunity to further enhance knowledge of artistic glassmaking and its potential for creativity, design, technical execution and sustainability. It will participate in The Venice Glass Week and continue the Perle 2.0 project (the Art of Glass Beads was inscribed in UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2020), the collaboration with the lagoon’s glassmaking committee for the archaeological glass patrimony, other study activities and temporary exhibitions. In June the IV Biennale del Merletto – 4th Lace Biennale will be held in the Museo del Merletto di Burano . Lace making is an ancient traditional art in the lagoon and the procedue has been begun to obtain UNESCO recognition in order to preserve and promote it, also through contemporary interpretations.
The 150th anniversary of Giovanni Miani, the musicologist, patriot, collector and, above all, great explorer falls in 2022. A large room has been devoted to him in the Museo di Storia Naturale Giancarlo Ligabue, featuring the ethnographic collection resulting from his expeditions, which include one of the most adventurous chapters in the history of the discovery of the source of the Nile. In view of the upcoming anniversary the museum has begun a project to rediscover, study, survey and lend value to the collection and other collections built up by the explorer, in collaboration with other Italian and European institutions. Numerous initiatives will be launched for the general public in the course of the year, and during the months of celebration his diaries and autograph illustrations, now held in the library and only consultable by scholars, will be on public display in the room dedicated to him. In June the Museo at Fondaco dei Turchi is also hosting The Living Sea, an exhibition by the photographer and environmental philanthropist Hussein Aga Khan and by the video and documentary maker Simone Piccoli, curated by Marevivo, a non-profit organization of social utility, and FON Focused on Nature. This will be followed, in the autumn, by the 15th Abissi Underwater Photo Venice, the international underwater photographic show and competition.
The work to monitor the permanent collections, conduct scientific cataloguing, evaluate the state of conservation of the works and draw up annual restoration plans ensures that Venice’s artistic-historic heritage remains in an optimal state. The work of conservators also includes activities that now feed into the drawing up of scientific catalogues of the vast collections held and displayed in the museums, in response to an age-old request that is now being met. The volume Di Famiglie e di Persone. Guida agli archivi storici dei Musei Civici di Venezia secc. XI-XXI was published in 2021, and in 2022 publication is due to start of a series of Cataloghi generali (General catalogues) of the foundation’s different collections. The first volume to be printed will be on Renaissance majolicas (Maiolica del Rinascimento), which is due to be followed by three further volumes on miniature portraits (Ritratti in miniatura), 17th and 18th-century painting (Pittura del Sei e Settecento ) and the 19th and 20th-century painting collections of Ca’ Pesaro (Collezioni di Pittura del XIX e XX Secolo di Ca’ Pesaro).
As always, MUVE Education has a wide and well developed educational offering in 2022, with thematic itineraries, workshops and various kinds of activities, some of which link in with the main temporary exhibitions. These are aimed at every tier of the education system, teachers, families, adults and those with special needs.