At Pace Gallery, Fred Wilson Revisits Venice

NEW YORK—An impressive Venetian chandelier welcomes visitors to Fred Wilson’s show at The Pace Gallery. Wilson is inspired and affected by his surroundings and “Venice Suite: Sala Longhi and Related Works” is an expression of his time in Venice. The artist represented the United States in 2003 at the Venice Biennale. More recently, he exhibited in 2009 and 2011 at Glasstress, which coincides with the biennale. His visually engaging work has an even more compelling concept behind it. The Venetian fixture reads elegant, European grandeur and his creation is indeed the first-ever to feature a tonal gradation from “transparent and light to opaque and dark.” But for Wilson, the rare Murano glass fixture symbolizes the cycle of life, death and the hazy, fluid concept of race.

“Venice Suite,” Wilson’s first solo exhibit in the United States in six years, is on view from March 17 to April 14, 2012.

Photos by Arts Observer

Above, “Sala Longhi,” 2011 (black float glass, antiqued gold painted wood frames, Murano blown glass, and light bulbs) debuted as Glasstress last year and is the centerpiece of Wilson’s current exhibit. Inspired by a series of Pietro Longhi paintings depicting 18th century bourgeoisie, Wilson’s interpretation includes 28 black glass panels that are framed in gold and have what look like random oval cut-outs where the white faces of Longhi’s subjects appeared in his group portraits. Top of page, “To Die Upon a Kiss,” 2011 (Murano glass).

Detail of “Sala Longhi,” 2011.

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