Philanthropist Nicolas Berggruen has announced the creation of Berggruen Arts & Culture with the acquisition of the historic Palazzo Diedo by the Nicolas Berggruen Charitable Trust, in Venice Cannaregio district. It is currently undergoing restoration and renovation to serve as a base for this multi-faceted, international program and its activities in Venice and around the world.
It’s an extraordinary honour to be chosen as the first artist in residence at Berggruen Arts & Culture – Sterling Ruby
In this most recent initiative to encourage the work of today’s artists, deepen the connection between contemporary art and the past, and make art more widely accessible to the public. At Palazzo Diedo, Berggruen Arts & Culture will host an array of exhibitions—some drawn from Nicolas Berggruen’s personal collection—as well as installations, symposia, and an artist-in-residence program that will foster the creation of art in Venice. To bring the palazzo to life during the renovation phase and make its new role visible to the public, Berggruen Arts & Culture has named Sterling Ruby as its inaugural artist-in-residence. Ruby will create A Project in Four Acts, a multi-year installation at Palazzo Diedo, with the first element debuting on April 20, 2022, and on view through the duration of the 59th Biennale Arte.
Internationally renowned contemporary art curator Mario Codognato, who has served as chief curator of MADRE in Naples and director of the Anish Kapoor Foundation in Venice, has been named the artistic director of Berggruen Arts & Culture. Venetian architect Silvio Fassi is overseeing the renovation of the palazzo, which will open officially in 2024, concurrent with the Biennale di Venezia.
Nicolas Berggruen said, “As someone with a deep love of Venice, I have wished for a long time to provide a place where art can be inspired by this city and created in the city. We are thrilled to realize this dream by renovating the Palazzo Diedo—a magnificent building long associated with one of Venice’s historic families—and making it accessible to the broad public as a base for the wider Berggruen Arts & Culture initiative. We look forward to seeing innovative artists from the city itself and worldwide come to Palazzo Diedo to make new work and put forth new ideas, returning Venice to its eminence as a site of artistic creation.”
Mario Codognato said, “After spending so much of my career away from the city where I was born and the place that formed me, I am excited to be in Venice again, joining Nicolas Berggruen in creating this new creative centre that is so full of promise. With Nicolas, I believe in art that speaks to the public, challenges us to think anew, and sparks discussions—and I believe in Venice as a city that has not only a past but also a future as one of the world’s great crossroads of art and ideas.”
Sterling Ruby said, “It’s an extraordinary honour to be chosen as the first artist in residence at Berggruen Arts & Culture, to work with the Palazzo Diedo, and to be a part of Nicolas’s ambitious vision. As the building is restored over the next few years, the installation I’ve imagined will change with it, expressing and also commenting on what it means to reclaim a building with so much history and reflecting in a direct, material way the traditions of artmaking and craft that are so much a part of Venice.”
The first phase of Ruby’s A Project in Four Acts will be a relief structure that leans across the façade of the building, remaining on view through November 2022. As the construction commences, Ruby will stage two exterior installations through the end of 2022 and late spring of 2023, responding to the structure and enclosing it as it transforms. The final phase will include a residency concluding with an exhibition at Palazzo Diedo, which will be part of the official opening in spring 2024.