The François Pinault’s Art Empire is going to thrive

Bruno Racine. Photo: Jean-François Robert
A greater emphasis on the dialogue between old and contemporary art is what the new Director Bruno Racine sees as the near future of the François Pinault Contemporary Art Foundation in Venice.

Bruno Racine (b. 1951), the new director of the Contemporary Art Fund Francois Pinault in Venice, has big plans. In addition to high public positions in the French government, his record includes the directorship of the French Academy in Rome and the presidency of the Centre Pompidou and the National Library of France. Four months ago he replaced Martin Beteno, the director of the Pinot Foundation in Venice, with a similar position in Paris, where the foundation is to open in the spring of 2021 in the renovated historic building of the Exchange.

At a recent briefing, Bruno Racine outlined the fund’s strategy and plans. Recognizing the emerging axis of Venice-Paris with the inevitable coordination of exhibition projects, he assured that it does not imply the reproduction of the same exhibition in two cities. “A small project in Paris could become big and ambitious in Venice,” explained Racine. At the same time, in the “Galaxy of Pinault” Venetian institutions – Palazzo Grassi, Punta Della Dogana, and Teatrino (space for display and discussion) – will retain their primary importance and identity. And perhaps, as Racine stressed in particular, with even more “emphasis” on the dialogue between old and contemporary art. “Of course, this is not a revolutionary idea, but it can help us better understand the challenges that contemporary artists pose and explain the transition from continuing the tradition to breaking with them,” the director explained. He does not rule out that one of the Foundation’s two spaces in Venice could be fully dedicated to exhibitions from François Pinault’s richest collection.

He also touched upon the theme of the rescheduling to 2022 of the Venice Biennale of Contemporary Art, stating that he did not consider it a problem and even vice versa. “This crisis gives us an opportunity to go down a path that has yet to be understood,” he said.

The new director also confirmed the opening on 11 July of three exhibitions previously scheduled for March: “Henri Cartier-Bresson. The Big Game” and “Yusef Nabil. Once in a Dream” in Palazzo Grassi, “Untitled. 2020 in Punta Della Dogana.


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