APR 10: In Praise of Doubt
There is little doubt that François Pinault holds the deed to the most ravishing contemporary art property in the world. Nestled on a dazzling spit of Venetian real estate at the mouth of the Grand Canal, the Punta della Dogana—the 17th-century customs house remodeled by architect Tadao Ando—opened two years ago as a capacious counterpart to Pinault’s Palazzo Grassi, the home to displays from the French billionaire’s 2,000-plus-work collection. Nor is there any question of its popularity with visitors—more than half a million of whom have passed through the Punta della Dogana’s massive doors. Now, in her first exhibition there, curator Caroline Bourgeois is importing at least the theme of uncertainty with the 20-artist ”In Praise of Doubt” (April 10 through the end of next year). Anchored by historical icons including a formidable row of late Donald Judd boxes, an early-Sixties Ed Kienholz brothel tableau, and cult artist Marcel Broodthaers’s rooms filled with ersatz evidence of wars past, the show juxtaposes pieces by a globally inflected roster of artists (Chen Zhen, Adel Abdessemed, Subodh Gupta) with work realized for the occasion (Julie Mehretu’s canvases delving into Venice’s commercial and architectural foundations, and Tatiana Trouvé’s cerebral rumination on the site’s way-station past). Weaving together the exhibition’s various strands is the octogenarian American artist Elaine Sturtevant, who for more than four decades has re-created Warhols and repainted Stellas to become one of the most original practitioners of the inherently dubious art of appropriation. In Venice her homage-remake of Félix González-Torres’s shower of lights and her tribute to the master of doubt, Marcel Duchamp, will steal the show.