Venice joy at hosting Pinault art collection

10th May 2005, Comments 0 comments

ROME, May 10 (AFP) - Mayor Massimo Cacciari on Tuesday savoured the upcoming installation by Francois Pinault of his modern art collection in Venice's Palazzo Grassi, saying the French billionaire's presence would ensure a "high level" of cultural activity at the 18th-century palace on the Grand Canal.

ROME, May 10 (AFP) - Mayor Massimo Cacciari on Tuesday savoured the upcoming installation by Francois Pinault of his modern art collection in Venice's Palazzo Grassi, saying the French billionaire's presence would ensure a "high level" of cultural activity at the 18th-century palace on the Grand Canal.  

Pinault is to arrive Thursday to discuss plans to expose his collection - which includes works by Joan Miro, Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg and Jeff Koons as well as the young British artists Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin.  

The Venice mayor told the Turin daily La Stampa that he would "make proposals in various areas" to Pinault, a close friend of French President Jacques Chirac who upset the French art world with his decision to abandon a plan to build a museum for his collection outside Paris.  

"The presence of a great figure such as Pinault guarantees the continuation of a high (cultural) level" at Palazzo Grassi, said Cacciari, a philosopher who is close to the centre-left Margherita party and was re-elected mayor of Venice in April.  

Pinault acquired an 80 percent share of Palazzo Grassi, which was built in 1730 and was until recently used as a cultural showcase by the Fiat car firm, for EUR 29 million (USD 37 million) last month.  

Cacciari said Venice - which will retain a 20 percent share in the institution the city had acquired from Fiat's Agnelli dynasty - would be represented on Palazzo Grassi's board of directors and would be able to provide input on programming questions.  

"I think we will be able to work together, even if obviously Pinault's team will have the direct management responsibility," he said.  

The 69-year-old Pinault, owner of Gucci, Christie's auction house and the FNAC chain of media stores, announced his decision Monday to abandon a project to build a contemporary art museum on the site of a disused Renault car factory on an island in the river Seine five kilometres (three miles) downstream from the Eiffel Tower.  

Pinault will also develop the palace's theatre annex for additional exhibition space to display works from his 1,000-piece collection, a statement said Monday.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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