Pinault wins Punta della Dogana


Punta della doganaFrançois Pinault president of Palazzo Grassi wins the battle with the Guggenheim Foundation to build a new Venice art venue that should be inaugurated in 2009 in Punta della Dogana.

After several months of dispute, the French billionaire Francois Pinault, who owns one of the world's finest collections of modern art, has won a long-running battle with the Guggenheim Foundation, one of the world's richest art institutions with a global network of galleries from New York to Bilbao, to turn the crumbling Renaissance warehouse in Venice into a new contemporary art gallery of Venice.
Pinault and the Guggenheim Foundation both already have an established foothold in the canal city.
The Peggy Guggenheim museum, located in the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni on the Grand Canal, hosts a famous collection of European and American art from the first half of the 20th century.
On the same canal, a few metres ahead, Pinault bought two years ago Palazzo Grassi, that had been administered by Fiat from 1984 to 2003, and moved there part of his modern art works there.

The two contenders had both presented plans to convert the 17th century Punta della Dogana, a landmark customs house abandoned for decades, into a new art venue.
Both had commissioned leading architects to redesign the 2,500 sq metres site across the water from St Mark's Square: Tadao Ando of Japan for Pinault and the Anglo-Iraqi Zaha Hadid for the Guggenheim Foundation.

The Venice Municipality asked to specify which works the contenders would put on exhibit, after a committee of experts failed to pick a winner earlier this year, giving both projects a score of 95 points out of 100.
The Guggenheim foundation was ruled out of the competition because failed to submit a precise list of the art works that would be permanently displayed at the new venue.

The new Venice art space should be inaugurated in 2009.


by Roberta Nalesso | VeneziaSì editorial staff


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