An insider's look at Peggy Guggenheim: A Collection in Venice

Introducing: Aston the Venice Intern!

As the Peggy Guggenheim Collection is currently being devoured and enjoyed by the Perth public, my thoughts have been diverted recently – actually, if we’re being honest there has been a fairly dedicated lead up – to what remains in Venice’s Palazzo Venier dei Leoni; the permanent home of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection.  I am here – your Italo-Aussie correspondent/Guggenheim Intern – and I am not disappointed. This is Week 1 and, as I wade my way through masses of French and American tourists and the swiftly rising water levels, I am digesting my new reality for the next 2 months.


Venice is a special kind of place. It asks a certain level of understanding of its visitors, a healthy amount of dedication and cannot help but evoke a multitude of new perspectives in those who cross numerous lagoons and canals to experience it. Venice is multidimensional. Certainly, there is a lot to feast your eyes on. Yet, amongst the colossal history embedded in this small island, Venice has always found room for the new. It is only fitting then, that this is where we should find one of the finest museums of modern art in the world.


Interesting Observation #1: This may possibly be the only museum in the world that accepts, rather, encourages staff to wear Wellington boots to work. For those of you who have not had the pleasure of floating down the narrow streets during Autumn and Winter, November in Venice = flooding.


Interesting Observation # 2: Venice is beautiful; Venice is not practical. Luckily, having visited a number of times before, this was no surprise to me. This foresight however has not aided me at all in my battle with 20-something kgs of luggage, the occasional (but more often absent) labyrinthine street signs and many many stairs. I am happy to now report the logistical component of my expedition is behind me, at least until January when I have to repeat the process and leave. What is in front of me is 110% Collezione Peggy Guggheim. I am one of 8 interns who have arrived from around the world in order to dedicate two months to studying, observing and researching this collection of Cubist, Abstract and Surrealist works which are the legacy of pioneer collector Peggy Guggenheim.


I am originally from Perth. Until late last year, I was also a staff member at AGWA, and vividly recall that time not so long ago when the idea of exhibiting works from the Guggenheim Collection was in its ‘fingers firmly crossed’ phase. Since then I have been working in Collections Management and now live and work in Melbourne. Even from a distance, I have eagerly awaited the arrival of this exhibition with the rest of you. Though I will be a Venetian resident (no complaints!) for the duration of the exhibition, I do hope to contribute to your Guggenheim experience in the West with updates from the winding depths of a magical place called Venice, home of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection.


Ciao for now,



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