Louise Nevelson: Persistence
Procuratie Vecchie, Piazza San Marco
23 April-11 September
As well as the monumental black-painted abstract wooden sculpture for which she is best known, this major survey of American sculptor Louise Nevelson also includes many other key bodies of work from the 1950s through to the 80s. There are white-painted installations and works in raw wood and gold as well as little-known examples of her important collages and wall-based assemblages. The show also marks the opening to the public for the first time of a chunk of the 500-year-old Procuratie Vecchie which runs down the Western side of St Mark’s and gives Venice yet another set of grand exhibition spaces, renovated by David Chipperfield architects.
German pavilion, Giardini
Berlin-based Eichorn is known for her humour and bold conceptual gestures and I can’t wait to see what she does for Venice. If her past form is anything to go by she’ll be taking few prisoners. Her first UK solo exhibition at London’s Chisenhale Gallery involved her closing the space and giving its staff a fully paid holiday for the run of the show, while for Documenta 11 in 2002, in a comment on the relationship between art and money, she founded a public limited company with a special status that prohibited it from raising its capital. I’m hoping she will follow in the footsteps of Hans Haacke to grapple with the vexed history of the German pavilion, rebuilt by the Nazis in 1938.
Milk of Dreams: International Pavilion
This year's Venice Biennale is named after Milk of Dreams, a series of drawings turned into a book by the Surrealist artist Leonora Carrington and I am thrilled at its foregrounding of the many overlooked women artists associated with the Surrealist movement worldwide. One of my favourites amongst this tribe of trailblazers is the British artist Ithell Colquhoun whose interest in the occult caused her to be ousted by the British arm of the movement and whose savage, subversive, sexually charged work deserves more recognition.