Taking Venice

Documentary Rated: NR 98 min

This thriller-paced retelling of a sensational art scandal from the height of the Cold War involves President Kennedy and legendary artist Robert Rauschenberg. The Venice Biennale, the world’s most influential art exhibition, becomes a proving ground in 1964 for the war on Communism through culture. Alice Denney, Washington insider and friend of the Kennedys, recommends Alan Solomon, an ambitious curator making waves with trailblazing art, to organize the U.S. entry. Together with Leo Castelli, a powerful New York art dealer, they embark on a daring plan to make Robert Rauschenberg the winner of the Grand Prize. The artist is yet to be taken seriously with his combinations of junk off the street and images from pop culture, but he has the potential to dazzle. The American team leaves the international press crying foul and Rauschenberg questioning the politics of nationalism that sent him there.

“If you want to know how the definition of “scandal” has changed with the decades, you couldn’t do much better than to see Taking Venice, Amei Wallach’s highly enjoyable and revealing documentary about a legendary uproar in the art world.” — Owen Gleiberman, Variety
“The account is well-told and worth knowing, even without conspiratorial murmurs.” — Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times
directed by
Amei Wallach
written by
Amei Wallach
United States, France, Italy