Patrons Tour of the Venice Biennale 2017
Messum Wiltshire’s curator Catherine Milner and Kate Sallier de la Tour led a small group of collectors including some Messums patrons around the Venice Biennale in a five night whistle stop tour of the most important fixture in the contemporary art calendar.
From Phyllida Barlow’s concrete boulders at the British pavilion that flanked the outside of the building like shrubs in Fred Flinstone’s garden to some ‘speaking portraits’ by Paul Benney in a deconsecrated church, Venice offered a wide array of artistic offerings.
One of the most memorable exhibitions was in the Palazzo Fortuny where three floors of the building, once the atelier of the famous fabric designers, showed everything from ancient stone menhirs dating from 4,000 BC to Marina Abramovich’s newest installation – a collection of crystals that visitors were invited to touch to realign their chakras.
Other spectacles included Damien Hirst’s gargantuan exhibition of make-believe treasures from a faked shipwreck. The artist, who was wandering around his exhibiton as we visited it, happily posed for a number of photographs with members of our group.
One of the most arresting sights however was not formally part of the Biennale at all; an unidentified Englishman was spotted sailing down the Grand Canal on the opening morning of the festival in a Maserati converted into a boat.