If you ask me, it is always the right time to go to Venice. Whether it is for its food, enchanting streets and romantic bridges, or the many contemporary art attractions, Venice is for me one of my favorite places to visit again and again. Unlike other cities, I never get tired of Venice and its beauty, and I am constantly looking for reasons to go back. 

In 2023, the Art Biennale is taking its year off, and it’ll be back in 2024. Nonetheless, Venice offers an amazing Architecture Biennale, which is equally as interesting and definitely worth visiting. The 18th International Architecture Exhibition, titled The Laboratory of the Future, will be open to the public from Saturday, May 20 to Sunday, November 26, 2023, at the Giardini and the Arsenale, and Forte Marghera. Curated by Lesley Lokko, the exhibition is divided into six parts, and it includes 89 participants, coming from all over the world to present their idea of the Future. 

If you are planning to visit Venice on the occasion of the 2023 Architecture Biennale, and you also want to extend your visit to some other exhibition, I’ve got you covered. Whether you are into painting or photography, 20th-century master or avant-garde environmental installations, Venice has plenty to offer this year for all contemporary art (and architecture) lovers.

And since the Biennale is both in Venice and Forte Marghera (right outside of the Lagoon, beam Mestre), these exhibitions will take you outside of the tourists packed streets of Venice to nearby islands and Mestre itself.

So, without any further ado, here are 4 exhibitions you should check out in Venice in 2023. 

Edmondo Bacci. Energy and Light – Peggy Guggenheim Collection

The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is, per se, one of the most beautiful museums to visit in Venice, and one I always recommend, especially to people visiting the Lagoon for the first time. This year, and until September 18th, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection presents the exhibition Edmondo Bacci: Energy and Light, curated by Chiara Bertola. The exhibition will feature approximately eighty works—many of which have never been exhibited before— and it will be the first and most extensive retrospective dedicated to Venetian artist Edmondo Bacci (1913–1978).

The exhibition focuses primarily on the 1950s, the most lyrical and creative period of the artist’s career, and when he achieved international success, as a member of Spazialismo. The exhibition tells Bacci’s story through works that are crucial to understanding the evolution of the pictorial language of color and light that so impressed Peggy Guggenheim, herself a collector of the Venetian painter.

An additional perk to visiting the exhibition is the discount it grants to also visit the Querini-Stampalia Foundation, an amazing location with a great collection and interesting temporary exhibitions. 

Edmondo Bacci: Energy and Light
1 April — 18 September 2023
Peggy Guggenheim Collection

Info, tickets, and opening hours: www.guggenheim-venice.it

Icônes – Punta della Dogana 

Another must-visit exhibition in Venice in 2023 is Icônes, at Punta della Dogana. Part of the Pinault Collection, Punta della Dogana is an amazing space and it has one of my favorite views over the Lagoon. This year, they are presenting the thematic exhibition “Icônes”, curated by Emma Lavigne, that revolves around the notion of icons and what it means for the contemporary world. The exhibition aims to reveal the icon as a vehicle of passage to another world or other states of consciousness (contemplation, meditation) through a selection of more than eighty works, among which masterpieces from the Pinault Collection, site-specific installations ad unseen works by 30 artists of different generations.

Do not forget that the ticket to Punta della Dogana also grants you free entry to Palazzo Grassi, which currently presents the exhibition “CHRONORAMA. Photographic Treasures of the 20th Century”.

02 April — 26 November 23
Punta della Dogana – Pinault Collection

Info, tickets, and opening hours: www.pinaultcollection.com

Rivoluzione Vedova | Exhibition view | Photo Courtesy M9 Museo del ‘900 (Mestre, Venezia)

Rivoluzione Vedova – M9 Museo del ‘900

If you are skipping the overpriced hotels of Venice, and opting for the little and charming town of Mestre, make sure to plan a stop at M9, a contemporary art museum dedicated to the art of the 20th Century. The museum is right in the center of Mestre, and you can easily reach Venice by tram or bus for just €1,50. 

In 2023, the museum presents the exhibition Rivoluzione Vedova, dedicated to Emilio Vedova, one of the most significant Italian artists of the past century. The exhibition, conceived and developed by Fondazione Emilio e Annabianca Vedova and curated by Gabriella Belli, represents a tool to explore the history and underlines the central role of Emilio Vedova in contemporary art, as his work can be considered a testimony and a means to understand the events of the 20th century. The works on display serve as a diary of the 20th century, which Vedova painted in his signature style. 

Rivoluzione Vedova
05 May — 26 November 2023
M9 – Museum of the 20th Century (Venezia Mestre)

Info, tickets, and opening hours: www.m9museum.it

Spaccasassi. Beka & Lemoine with Stefano Mancuso – BioGrounds | Photo courtesy MAXXI Museum

BioGrounds – Isola della Certosa and MAXXI

If you are more into big installations and want to visit other parts of the Venetian Lagoon, then the exhibition BioGrounds is for you. Organized by MAXXI, the exhibition consists of four installations created through an unconventional dialogue between artists, architects, designers, philosophers, and botanists. It is hosted on the Isola della Certosa with the goal of creating devices and performances capable of telling the public the history of a place and its nature while involving visitors through actions and activities. The works are designed to transform, live and grow old in the environment, as happens to every element marked by the passage of time. Observing their change is an integral part of active public enjoyment. The main idea behind the exhibition is, quite obviously, related to the environment and climate changes, and it is a unique chance to visit a lesser-known part of Venice. 

BioGrounds. For a new environmental awareness
21 May — 15 October 2023
Isola della Certosa – Venice
Organized by MAXXI – Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Secolo 

Info, tickets, and opening hours: www.maxxi.art

Cover image by Damiano Baschiera on Unsplash