I took a couple of hours off this morning and went with my friend Laura to see the exhibit at the Punta della Dogana. We’d heard that residents could get in free on Wednesdays.Not that I’m cheap or anything but 17 Euro admission sounded pretty steep to me.
The old Custom’s House and Warehouses had been rotting for years when Mr Pinault came along with his cheque book and saved Venice’s ass. The restoration took a long time. I know because the building works have interfered with my preferred route for an early morning walk. But now it’s all fixed up and from the length of the lines, quite the art destination du jour.
As we went in I saw two nuns, seated, taking a breather or so I thought. Now I realise they were probably saying the rosary. The show is a vulgar, infantile, pornographic affront. It contains little wit and little beauty but if you’re in the mood to be grossed out, hurry along before it closes. I must mention in particular Robert Gober’s Male & Female Genitalia wallpaper (I didn’t venture into the gift shop but you can probably get the tea towel for your favourite aunt); Takashi Murakami’s ejaculating and breast milk squirting mannekins; and Paul McCarthy’s Train, Pig Island or as it might equally well have been titled, Bush be Buggered. If you’re not familiar with Paul McCarthy you may recall his earlier, challenging piece, Santa Claus with Buttplug. I sense this is an artist with constipation issues.
Anyway, if you’re in Venice and you don’t mind paying 17 Euro to be mocked, do catch the show. Just don’t take Grandma.