Meeting Place: Conversations about Art

Members-only online lectures with art historians and curators exploring Peggy Guggenheim’s collection and the history of the artistic avant-garde.

In a picture, it should be possible to discover new things every time you see it. But you can look at a picture for a week together and never think of it again. You can also look at a picture for a second and think about it your whole life. For me, a picture should be like sparks. It must dazzle like the beauty of a woman or a poem.

Joan Miró, I Work Like a Gardener, 1958.

Peggy Guggenheim’s collection tells the story of modern art. As such, the works of art collected by the U.S. patron and the story of the artists who created them will act as a fil rouge for a series of lectures led by curators and art historians in English and Italian, that takes place in the spring and fall of 2023.

The impact of World War II, the birth of assemblage, multifaceted female artists are just some of the many topics discussed in this fascinating series of online lectures.

How to join

  • The online lectures are in Italian or Italian and last one hour. Participants will receive a Zoom invitation a few days before each lecture.
  • The course is for members only.
  • It is possible to register for single lectures.
  • A donation of €5 is required for each lecture*.
  • Participation is free for Young Pass and Young Pass + friend members
  • Participants can join mid-course and receive recordings of previous lectures.
  • A special collaboration with Ca’ Foscari University allows students joining the course to receive 1 CFU (academic credits).

*Payment by credit card only. Charitable donations to The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, Venice branch, are tax-deductible for IRPEF and IRES according to D.L. 35 on 14/03/05.

March 13, 2023 - 7 pm

Joseph Cornell and Laurence Vail: Pioneers of Assemblage

with Gražina Subelytė

• online - members only - in ITALIAN

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In the fall of 1942, Peggy Guggenheim opened her museum-gallery, Art of This Century, in New York. The first temporary exhibition held there included objects created by U.S. artist Joseph Cornell and French-born U.S. artist and writer, and former husband of Peggy Guggenheim, Laurence Vail. Cornell and Vail are considered pioneers of collage and assemblage, two artistic innovations which are the starting point of this lecture focused on these artists’ practice and their impact on modern and contemporary art.

While Vail was one of the main figures of the Parisian art scene during the 1920s, becoming a member of the Dada group and traveling extensively, Cornell rarely left his home in New York. Vail persistently criticized the European bourgeoisie through satirical collages, while Cornell was primarily interested in telling stories through the boxes he created using random objects he found on the street.

Two very different lives that were, however, united in the development of new techniques that were crucial to the development of contemporary art.

Gražina Subelytė is Associate Curator at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, where she has curated Surrealism and Magic: Enchanted Modernity (2022), 1948: The Biennale of Peggy Guggenheim (2018–2019), and Rita Kernn-Larsen: Surrealist Paintings (2017), and co-curated From Gesture to Form: Postwar European and American Art from the Schulhof Collection (2019) and Peggy Guggenheim: The Last Dogaressa (2019–2020). She has also published the catalogue Hannelore B. and Rudolph B. Schulhof Collection (2016), as well as numerous articles and essays on modern art, particularly on Surrealism and its relationship with magic and the occult. She completed her PhD at The Courtauld Institute of Art in 2021.

March 27, 2023 - 7 pm

Avant-garde Artists and the Noble Art of Escape

with Giovanna Brambilla

• online - members only - in ITALIAN

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Many of the main figures in the avant-garde were forced to flee to the United States during World War II. Each story is unique and different, as each artist experienced their overseas exile differently. Marc Chagall never warmed to the idea of abandoning France, so much so that he never spoke English and returned to Paris as soon as he could. Others, especially those who had taught at the Bauhaus, like Joseph Albers and László Maholy-Nagy, were enthusiastic about the new possibilities the United States could offer. For Max Ernst, who had made it to the United States thanks to his then wife, art patron Peggy Guggenheim, it was an intense and fruitful period of artistic production, during which he experimented different techniques like pouring.

Through seminal works, the lecture will cover touching stories about the courage, fragility, experimentation, and loneliness of artists who, during the twentieth century, searched for a space and place where they could express themselves.

Giovanna Brambilla is an art historian and an expert in cultural heritage education and mediation. Her main focus is the relationship between museums and the public, particularly accessibility and inclusion. After graduating from university, she worked for a year as a volunteer researcher at the British Museum, London, before completing postgraduate courses in General and Museum Education at Roma Tre University, in Communication and Intercultural Mediation at the University of Bergamo, in Art History at the University of Milan (with a scholarship), and in Communication in School Settings at the University of Siena. From 1996 to 2022 she was the head of the Education Department at GAMeC, the Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Bergamo. She is currently self-employed and works with the Direzione regionale Musei Lombardia as the Head of Local Projects and Audience Development. She is also a member of the Knowledge Community of the Cultural Welfare Center, Turin, focusing on museums, hospitality, and wellbeing. Her most recent publications include, ldiqua. Immagini per chi resta (2023), Mettere al mondo il mondo: Immagini per una rinascita (2021), and Inferni: Parole e immagini di un’umanità al confine (2020).

April 3, 2023 - 7 pm

Abstraction and the Applied Arts in the Artistic Production of Sonia Delauney, Bice Lazzari, and Sophie Taeuber-Arp

with Flavia Frigeri

• online - members only - in english

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Sonia Delauney was a pioneer of abstraction who explored the full potential of colors and their combinations, and the effect of refracted light. A multifaceted artist, she experimented with textiles and tapestries, as well as abstract clothing and furniture. For this Ukranian artist art should be part of everyone’s daily life, which is why her artistic production was so varied.

Bice Lazzari and Sophie Taeuber-Arp's artistic trajectories were similar. They dedicated their lives to creating abstract designs for objects for daily use as well as for works on canvas. The lecture will explore these tree women artists' abstract language, and how they brought art into everyone’s daily lives.

Flavia Frigeri is an art historian and Chanel Curator for the Collection at the National Portrait Gallery, London. From 2016 to 2020 she was a Teaching Fellow in the History of Art Department at University College London (UCL) and continues to be a longstanding member of faculty on Sotheby’s Institute’s MA in Contemporary Art. Previously she was Curator for International Art at Tate Modern, where she co-curated The World Goes Pop (2015) and Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs (2014) among other exhibitions.