The Dogana, a 17th-Century “former customs house” in Venice, is making headlines this week. The space was bought by renowned French art collector Francois Pinault in 2007 after he out-bid the Guggenheim Foundation, according to The New York Times. Renovations to transform the building into a stunning gallery space were led by Tadao Ando, a Japanese architect, and completed earlier this month.
Two buildings comprise the Punta della Dogana: the expansive Dogana and the Palazzo Grassi, a triangular-shaped space that opened in 2007 and is also owned by Pinault, according to artdaily.org. The Palazzo Grassi already houses work by prominent artists like Takashi Murakami, known for his successes in both fine arts and digital media. “Mapping the Studio,” the inaugural exhibition on display now, was planned with both sites in mind, and allows each space to dictate the presentation of the works.
“Mapping the Studio” features works from Pinault’s personal collection, as well as “Boy With Frog,” an 8-foot sculpture by American artist Charles Ray that was “commissioned for the building,” reported The New York Times. Ray agonized a bit over how large to make the sculpture, which sits outside the Dogana along a popular walking route among Venetians, but he isn’t usually one to obsess over the way his work will be perceived, telling W magazine in 2007, “I’m worried about making a good sculpture. I’m not so worried about the interpretation of it.”
To see it for yourself, head to the museum’s official Web site for information on visiting the Punta Della Dogana and the Palazzo Grassi, both owned by the Francois Pinault Foundation. Tickets are 20 euros (for access to both sites) or 15 euros (to visit one). The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. except Tuesday. — Sarah Amandolare