The current exhibition and/or the permanent collection at Punta della Dogana was a huge disappointment. I had already made up my mind that I wanted to see this art museum from reading what now seems a misnomer of possessing one of the best or the best contemporary art collection in Europe. Since my mind was made-up, I stopped further research. So when time constraints and travel companion preferences came into play, the Palazzo Grassi got relegated to second priority.
If I had spent a couple of minutes looking at the slideshow of the two exhibitions at the sister museums, I would have realized, I would have loved at the exhibition at the Grassi and hated the one at the Dogana, making the better travel decision.
I was traveling with a pregnant friend and felt bad subjugating the child to disturbing sounds, alarming images and exhausting the mother with heavily contextual abstract art. Leaving the beauty of Venice, we were confronted with art that “hits us in the back of the head.” (Bruce Nauman) And we paid 15 euros for it.
When we first entered the museum Nauman’s No, No, New Museum (1987) greeted us with a video of a female clown repetitively making the most awful animalistic noises, a cross between the sound of retching and an ugly coital grunt. This sound resonated loudly into the next several rooms of the museum, from ticket counter through to coat check and into the first exhibition room. I wanted to leave immediately but I had decided so I couldn’t go back.
Whenever I make a bad travel decision and my friend has to suffer, I always feel such extreme guilt and it doubled as there was a baby involved. I hope he can forgive me for second-hand images of Mickey Mouse holding a gun to a faceless man, the skulls, crucifixes, emaciated monkey fetuses, and the awful sounds that permeated the museum from other video installations but none as worse as the one that greeted us at the entrance.
There were some beautiful pieces which I captured below.