Victoria Miro represents some 40 international artists and artist estates with galleries in London and Venice. The intimate exhibition space in Venice is housed in a 17th-century palazzo, in the former Galleria Il Capricorno, and was opened on 10 May 2017 with an inaugural exhibition, Poolside Magic, by Chris Ofili.
This quintessentially Venetian canal-side location is in the heart of the San Marco district. Victoria Miro Venice continues to feature a year-round program of exhibitions and to provide the special opportunity for its artists to work and stage exhibitions in the heart of Venice, a city so beloved by artists of all times.
“Venice is a city beloved by artists and being able to extend the opportunity to our artists to respond to and show in such an inspirational setting was just such a natural thing to do. ”
Victoria Miro and Glenn Scott-Wright. Photo: Suki Dhanda, 2013
In conversation with Victoria Miro, Victoria Miro Venice
How did your path in art begin?
I was passionate about art from a young age. I attended Slade School of Fine Art, so for a time my passion was bound up with the excitement of making art. My passion then shifted from producing to promoting art and I opened my first permanent gallery in Cork Street in 1985. I took over the space from Robert Fraser who, tragically, was dying of Aids. When he handed over the keys he said: “You’ll never make a contemporary art gallery work in the UK.”
Talk to us about the space you chose for your gallery and its location.
The Venice gallery is in the San Marco district of the city. It is housed in the former Galleria Il Capricorno, first opened in 1971 by my friend the legendary gallerist Bruna Aickelin who championed the very best contemporary art over the past five decades. I am immensely grateful to her for entrusting us with this unique and beautiful gallery.
Why did you choose this city?
Venice is a city beloved by artists and being able to extend the opportunity to our artists to respond to and show in such an inspirational setting was just such a natural thing to do. We also have a studio and apartment in the city, so that artists are able to spend extended time here to make work.
An Italian institution you are particularly tied to, a project you want to remember?
Over the years there have been so many wonderful moments for our artists in Venice, Chris Ofili’s Within Reach at the British Pavilion in 2003, Elmgreen & Dragset’s The Collectors at the Danish and Nordic Pavilions in 2009, Sarah Sze’s Triple Point at the American Pavilion in 2013 and Okwui Enwezor’s wonderful collaboration with Isaac Julien for Das Kapital Oratorio in 2015. I am excited about what Stan Douglas will do with the Canadian Pavilion in 2022.
What would be your desert-island work of art?
Favorites change, but I’ve always loved A Bar at the Folies-Bèrgere by Édouard Manet, in the Courtauld Gallery collection. Manet’s last great painting represents a moment of stillness amid the throng of a Parisian nightclub and is filled with humor and pathos.