French luxury-goods pioneer Francois Pinault lifts the veil on his staggering, world-class art collection, and its new home in Venice.

French luxury-goods pioneer Francois Pinault lifts the veil on his staggering, world-class art collection, and its majestic new home, the legendary Palazzo Grassi in Venice, Italy.

When the world is graced with a new art foundation, it shines just that much brighter. But when the foundation belongs to PPR founder François Pinault, contains over 2,000 works of exceptional contemporary art, is housed in a legendary 18th century Venetian Palace, boasts an airy, interior design by "starchitect" Tadao Ando, and has a giant pink Jeff Koon's dog guarding it's façade, it not only sets the world aglow, but electrifies it with excitement.

For thirty years Pinault has discretely nurtured his passion for contemporary art by collecting art—lots of it—resulting in one of the foremost collections of our time. After years of keeping its contents hush-hush, Pinault has finally lifted the veil of secrecy by swinging open the doors to the Palazzo Grassi, the spectacular jewel box of a building that now houses his exceptional treasures. "The desire to possess - born at the moment I first came in contact with art - has been transformed into a profound need to share," explains Pinault in the catalog to his foundation's inaugural show, "Where Are We Going?"

While presenting only 10% of the luxury tycoon's expansive collection, the remarkable exhibition sheds light on the taste of this steadfast collector. Curated by Alison Gingeras, it is a provocative journey from abstraction to figurative work that makes a detour to encompass Pinault's rich appreciation for Italian Art Povera. '"I didn't want the exhibition to be a sampling, but an illustration of my systematic support of certain artists," explains Pinault, who devoted monographic rooms to favorites such as Damien Hirst, Cindy Sherman, Cy Twombly Mark Rothko, Raymond Pettibon and Donald Judd. Presenting 222 works by 49 artists, the show leaves one pondering what other Pinault gems await their public debut. That question, Pinault assures, will be gradually answered over time. 'This is far from a culminating point: it's more of the beginning of a long adventure. New exhibitions from my collection will soon see the day in different parts of Venice, such as at the Punta della Dogana, as well as in Lille where I will show video and photographs from my collection in 2007." Until then, get in your gondola and set sail for Venice's new home for contemporary art.

"Where Are We Going?" Selections from the François Pinault Collection
April 30 through October 1, 2006
Palazzo Grassi, Venice
Tel +39 041 523 1680

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