A vaporetto strike on the first day of the Venice Biennale does not bode well, especially when it begins at midnight and you're staying on an island that can only be accessed by boat.
These thoughts were running through my head as I ran from a dinner near the Rialto to San Marco to try to catch the last boat to the Isola San Giorgio Maggiore - directly across the Lagoon from San Marco and a short vaporetto ride away.
As I jumped on, who should I see but RA Magazine contributor Jerry Brotton, with curator Adam Lowe and the team behind Penelope's Labour,
an unusual exhibition of tapestries old and new at the Cini Foundation on the Isola San Giorgio Maggiore. Hopes of getting to bed before 1am were dashed - instead we went on a midnight tour of the Palladian courtyard and up to the grand rooms of the historic guest quarters, hung with old masters and looking out on the Lagoon, where they hosted an impromptu drinks party and revelled in their gorgeous catalogues, which had just arrived.
Now I have never been a fan of tapestries, but my curiosity has been piqued. Jerry and Adam explained that they got the idea for the show when they wandered into a tapestry gallery at the Prado to escape the crowds and wondered what the modern version might look like. Jerry, an historian specialising in the material culture of the Renaissance, worked on the historic tapestries from the Cini collection, while Adam - who fabricates work for artists such as Mark Quinn and Anish Kapoor and also staged the knockout Piranesi show here a few months ago - set about convincing artists to make new work for the show. Grayson Perry RA (see image above), Craigie Horsfield and Carlos Garaicoa are just a few who said yes.