Joan Jonas, *Moving Off the Land II,* at Ocean Space, Chiesa di San Lorenzo, 2019. *Moving Off the Land II* was commissioned by TBA21–Academy and coproduced with Luma Foundation.
Photo: Enrico Fiorese

New Space Highlighting Ocean Preservation Opens in Venice

An installation and research project by the American artist Joan Jonas inaugurates a cross-disciplinary center in a former church

For the Viennese philanthropist and founder of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary Collection, Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza, art is the most powerful tool to inspire change—particularly when it comes to the reversing the devastating impact of rising seas. Since founding the ecologically minded TBA21-Academy in 2011, Hapsburg and academy director Markus Reymann have been coming up with ever-creative ways of raising awareness of ocean conservation, from inviting artists and curators on special research expeditions in the Pacific to funding thought-provoking museum exhibitions.

On March 23, a grand permanent home for their mission in the newly restored ninth-century San Lorenzo Church in Venice opened, which has been closed to the public for some 100 years. Dubbed Ocean Space, the cross-disciplinary center opens in March with a major new installation and research project titled Moving Off the Land II by the celebrated American artist Joan Jonas. The mesmerizing multimedia performance pays tribute to the ocean and its creatures, biodiversity, and ecology. It will also showcase OceanArchive, a digital research platform, as well as workshops and lectures. “We chose Venice as it’s long been a center for international exchange,” says Thyssen-Bornemisza. “It also suffers acutely from the effects of rising sea levels.”

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The church of San Lorenzo, in Venice’s Castello neighborhood, which will house Ocean Space. Photo: Courtesy of TBA21
Joan Jonas, Moving Off the Land II, at Ocean Space, Chiesa di San Lorenzo, 2019. Moving Off the Land II was commissioned by TBA21–Academy and coproduced with Luma Foundation. Photo: Enrico Fiorese
Joan Jonas, Moving Off the Land II, at Ocean Space, Chiesa di San Lorenzo, 2019. Moving Off the Land II was commissioned by TBA21–Academy and coproduced with Luma Foundation. Photo: Enrico Fiorese

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