Barbara Maestri

  • Bruno Munari

    Bruno Munari, with his constant experimentation with an enormous range of materials and in all fields of art, has always worked somewhat outside the mainstream of Italian cultural currents. He uses the tools of technology, adapting them to his particular brand of disorder and to the fresh use of natural materials, which he often treats as if they were archaeological finds. This Milanese artist began his exuberant career in the late ’20s as part of the second period of Futurism, producing abstract paintings that focused on the relationship between color and geometric outline. These were followed

  • Pinot Gallizio

    Pinot Gallizio took up painting in 1955, at the age of 51, after having dedicated himself to archaeology, to botany, and to studying popular cultures and the phenomenon of nomadism. This exhibition was a representative selection of his entire body of work, produced over a period of less than ten years. His paintings have an abstract matrix, resolved in a gesturalness that layers heavy brushstrokes of oil paint on the canvas. At times the clots of paint condense into confused signs, like small round eyes, or mouths open in threatening smiles. Many of the works have surreal, ironic tides such as

  • Marco Del Re

    Marco Del Re exhibits two different techniques in the gallery’s two spaces: in the larger space, the walls are covered entirely by a thin sheet of paper haphazardly glued on so that the waves and ridges become part of the work, which is executed in charcoal; in a much smaller room, the painter intervenes directly on the preexisting false wooden walls with oil paints diluted to varying degrees.

    Entering this space, especially after a journey through Venice’s intense chromatic hues, the severe black and white of the work, which covers all the walls in a sort of monochrome fresco, produces shocking

  • Claudio Parmiggiani

    The title of this show, “Iconostasi” (Iconostases), evokes the idea of the screen between the nave and the bema or presbytery that in Christian basilicas contains holy images. Likewise, this installation of work by Claudio Parmiggiani was limited to a single small space chosen from among the gallery’s numerous rooms. The 12 small-scale works shown constitute as many fragments of the artist’s life. These are all painted sculptures, almost always incorporating a plaster cast—usually a classical reproduction of the head of Apollo or Athena, or an ear or hand. Each object represents a different

  • Joseph Beuys

    Writing in 1976 about Joseph Beuys and his work, Germano Celant said, “Desires and aspirations are wings. There are desires and yearnings so little adapted to the situation of our earthly life that we can argue the existence of a situation in which they become the powerful wings of an element that will lift them up, of islands where they will be able to come to rest.”

    I imagine Beuys’ Plight, 1985, as a barrier to the great flight of energy from contemporary culture caused by his passing. Completed only two months before his death this January, Plight seemed Beuys’ attempt to intervene in the

  • Pierre Klossowski

    Theater is the space for anthropometric art par excellence, the place where the pure expression of literary text is translated into reality. The work of artist/writer Pierre Klossowski is somewhat like that of a playwright and a theatrical director; he condenses and “represents” his novels, not on the stage but in enormous drawings.

    Although he has always sought to distinguish his work as a writer, begun in the ’30s in Paris alongside André Gide and Rainer Maria Rilke, from his work as an artist, which began in 1953 with his illustrations for his novel Roberta Stasera, one cannot deny that his

  • Alison Wilding

    In the spacious, newly relocated Salvatore Ala gallery, the precise, and precisely arranged, sculptures by the young British artist Alison Wilding looked defenseless and ill at ease. It was necessary to pause and isolate each work, to feign the presence of enveloping shadows. The rounded, highly polished shapes retain something of Constantin Brancusi’s legacy of form, just as the juxtaposition of diverse materials recalls the Brancusian idea of the sculpturally functional pedestal. But in Wilding’s work there is no differentiation among elements: polished or painted stone, metal, and wood are

  • “Rheingold”

    The romantic title of this large exhibition, an obvious Wagnerian reference, refers to the geographical location of the two cities—Cologne and Düsseldorf—in which the 40 artists chosen for this show live and work. In each of these cities one finds a magma of different situations rather than precise cultural points of reference. There are no established schools or prevailing critical currents, but bars, clubs, and innumerable galleries (particularly in Cologne) that are the loci of intense artistic activity and debate. This gives one an idea of the great freedom in which the protagonists of three

  • Richard Serra

    The first and most direct feeling elicited by this Richard Serra exhibition was tranquillity, as though the new, rigorous space of the gallery did not allow the sculptures the possibility of aggression. Serra designed the installation to integrate harmoniously with the internal architectural structure. Thus the observer was able to avoid the shock (a reaction to hyperenergy) that installations by the American artist typically evoke, and enter the narrative “plot” of the structures.

    La Savio, completed in 1985, was placed in one corner of the gallery. Its spare vertical forms are defined by the

  • Emilio Vedova

    It is a mistake to try to fit Emilio Vedova’s work here, from 1981–83, within current trends in painting, and equally incorrect to hypothesize the rediscovery of an old master of Italian abstraction (as Vedova’s inclusion in Documenta 7 two years ago suggested). To understand the extraordinary coherence of these works it is necessary to acknowledge the stages in the artist’s development. While one might ignore his interest in Piranesi and Tintoretto and pass over his continuous political engagement, one must keep in mind his vaguely biomorphic paintings from the ’50s, the abstractions from the

  • “Il Tempo dell'Immagine”

    The rooms of this villa, which still have their splendid 17th-century decorations, were perfect containers for this group show of young “Hypermannerist” painters, as they are called by Italo Tomassoni, the co-curator along with Maurizio Calvesi. The thread that ties these artists together is quotation—the revival of classicism. Their individual lines of investigation stem from diverse environments and situations, but all look back to the history of that art, from the Renaissance to the metaphysical painters. The curators’ approach was rigorous to the point of resuscitating all the weakest aspects

  • Sam Francis

    Once at the extreme edge of American Abstract Expressionism, today Sam Francis might seem a mere “survivor.” He is not content with repeating himself, however, and working with intelligence and self-irony he makes distant, cool paintings that avoid the pitfalls of the caricature or the remake. The easily reproduced artworks of ’60s Pop art and the possibilities explored in the ’70s of such media as video, records, photography, and film probably were factors in Francis’ decision to abandon both the dramatic direction of Jackson Pollock’s drips and the rigorous flatness of Mark Rothko’s surfaces.