Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa



The Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation was founded in 1898 shortly after the Biennale of Venice. It owes its name to its founder Felicita Bevilacqua, widow to General La Masa. Felicita Bevilacqua left her family palace, Cą Pesaro, which is located along the Grand Canal, to the City of Venice under the condition that it should be used as a place for artistic culture in the city. Thus the Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation was founded and rapidly became a point of reference and launching pad for young artists such as Boccioni, Casorati, Semeghini, Gino Rossi and Arturo Martini, to name just a few. Since its 100th anniversary in 1999, the Bevilacqua La Masa space has hosted exhibitions dedicated to artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Louise Bourgeois, Joseph Beuys, Milton Glaser, Shirin Neshat, Frida Kahlo, Sonia Delaunay, and to the critic Giuseppe Marchiori. Intended as a space for young artistic research, the Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation continues to pursue its mission after a century of existence. Its goal is to remain true to its founding principles while favouring and welcoming the realization of new and emerging events. Over the last few years the Foundation's policy has striven to reach three main objectives:
International artists exhibitions in frequent collaboration with Italian and foreign institutions. Including the solo shows of Marlene Dumas , Alex Katz Roni Horn , Lucy and Jorge Orta , Karen Kilimnik , Kim Sooja, Richard Hamilton, Rebecca Horn and Yoko Ono, Enrico David, Peter Doig, Enzo Fiore, Lucy McKenzie who, in the spaces of the Foundation, have been able to experiment with new forms of expression. Conventions, conferences and meetings among artists and professionals in the field.

Activities concerning young artists in the region via:
First of all, Residency program

The residence programme for artists held by our Foundation is among the longest-running in Europe, dating back to 1898 with the founding of the institution itself:  it was in fact its founder, the duchess Felicita Bevilacqua La Masa, whose will was for her own private residence, the Palazzo Ca' Pesaro on the Grand Canal, to be destined to the promotion of the art of young artists in Venice. The donation was designed to facilitate access to artistic circles for young creatives, who were often denied the chance to take part in major exhibitions. It was for this reason that the Fondazione came into being in 1908 with a structure that not only made it possible to display works to the general public in the rooms of Ca' Pesaro itself, but it also served as an important showcase for the sale of works, besides offering accommodation and studios for the artists. The duchess had in fact decided that the piano nobile and the mezzanines should be given over to exhibition activities, while the third floor was to house 14 studios/residences provided to the artists free of charge.
At present, while due to various historical and artistic vicissitudes Ca' Pesaro no longer houses the headquarters of the Fondazione, the BLM has almost entirely maintained its original mission of promoting young artists: the Ateliers are today to be found in the prestigious Palazzo Carminati building in San Stae, and in the Saints Cosma and Damiano Complex on the Giudecca Island. Every year the Fondazione holds a contest to allocate its 14 art studios, eight in the Giudecca venue and seven in Palazzo Carminati, to talented young artists in order for them to use these spaces for 12 months as their own personal ateliers (however not as private residences). In this way, the spaces become home to creative experimentation, artistic and intellectual contamination, direct comparison with both colleagues and critics in the field. This takes place through the organisation of visits by curators and those operating in the sector from international contemporary arts institutions. Furthermore, at least twice during their year of work in the studios, the artists are given the chance to present their research and their working methods to the general public, on the occasion of Open Studios and ArtistsTalk.

The Young Artists Archives cataloguing the works of young artists, in collaboration with the Viafarini Centre in Milan and the web site Italianarea. The annual Collective Show which celebrated its 101th edition in 2017 with the publication of a catalogue, the distribution of study grants to young deserving artists and an annual exhibition of the works produced by grant recipients. Solo and collective shows of young artists in collaboration with universities, fine art academies, exhibition centres and other Italian and foreign institutions including the Venice Fine Arts Academy, the University of Weimar in Germany, the University of Oakland in California, Indiana University in New York and the University Iuav and Ca' Foscari of Venice. The creation of a small library of contemporary art books and the organization of the Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation's historical archives from 1906 to 2017.
The Foundation strives to be a place of excellence serving the Triveneto area, a privileged observation point for interesting artistic experiences, an incubator of projects involving the local artistic community and an environment that encourages mediation between national and international realities of the highest standards. Up to now the Foundation's pursuit of its mission and policy has produced various successful endeavours and it is the Foundation's intent to continue its pursuit in an effort to enrich and enhance the various activities and events it offers.

sculpture of the founder, duchess Felicita Bevilacqua La Masa
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