Most people who come to Venice this week are there primarily to see the Biennale, the world’s biggest art festival. This year, there are more than 200 artists lined up to participate in the Cecilia Alemani–curated main exhibition alone, as well as dozens of national pavilions set to take place alongside it. But it is hardly the only show on in Venice during the Biennale’s run.
All around the city, there will be other art shows of all sorts. Some are sanctioned by the Biennale and termed Collateral Events, while others are simply being brought to Venice independently by their organizers. The shows run the gamut from surveys for some of today’s most important artists to grand events at which particularly major projects will be debuted.
It’s worth remembering that some shows on in Venice this time are essentially gussied-up sponsored content—galleries will underwrite their artists’ shows, which are sometimes staged at key institutions throughout the city and even done under the supervision of beloved art historians and curators. Because of this, the exhibitions vary dramatically in quality, and it can be difficult to sort through them to know which ones are actually worth seeing.
In an effort to make that all a bit easier for you, ARTnews has assembled a list of 10 essential non-Biennale exhibitions to put on your radar while in Venice. When relevant, we’ve noted when a show received funding from a gallery representing the artist or artists being addressed.