Elizabeth Mangini

  • View of “Giuseppe Penone,” 2022.

    Giuseppe Penone

    Every time we touch something, evidence of the encounter persists. Even if the trace is a nearly imperceptible veil of oil, the disturbance of a layer of dust, or, reciprocally, the activation of nerve endings in the fingertips, this haptic relationship indicates the nature of sculpture. For more than half a century, Italian artist Giuseppe Penone has found ways to elaborate upon this bond between flesh and the material world, and his exhibition here highlighted the enduring complexity of these human-thing entanglements.

    Upon passing through a third-floor gallery containing devotional gold-ground

  • Piero Gilardi, Nido di primavera (Spring Nest), 2020, polychrome sculpture in polyurethane foam, 15 3⁄4 × 15 3⁄4 × 5 1⁄2".

    Piero Gilardi

    The playfulness of Piero Gilardi’s “Tappeti-Natura” (Nature-Carpets), 1965–, belies the conceptual work and technical skill that went into making them, as well as the complexity of the postwar moment in which the Italian artist’s project first emerged. In this first collective showing of the Nature-Carpets in the United States, a dreamlike setting draws viewers into a space in which they move from one disconnected environment to another, traversing sculpted and painted polyurethane streambeds, fields, and seascapes. Several large examples are laid horizontally on the floor, the illusion of their

  • Mario Merz, Tavola spirale (Spiral Table), 1982, aluminum, glass, fruit, vegetables, branches, steel, tar paper, beeswax, 10' 11 1/8" × 18' × 18'. © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/SIAE, Rome.
    October 15, 2020

    Mario Merz

    Curated by Matilde Guidelli-Guidi

    A new long-term installation at Dia:Beacon of work by Mario Merz brings the Italian into conversation with his many international peers in the foundation’s collection, providing a refreshingly transnational picture of Merz’s practice and, by extension, of the artistic discourse of the 1960s and ’70s. Among the new acquisitions and loans the show comprises are Teatro Cavallo (Horse Theater), one of the neon assemblages that inaugurated Merz’s engagement with Arte Povera in 1967, and Tavolo spirale (Spiral Table), 1982, a creative collaboration with his fellow

  • Felix Schramm, Transom, 2019, gypsum, wood, pigment, 15' 2“ × 14' 2” × 18' 8".

    Jannis Kounellis and Felix Schramm

    A distinct theatricalization of the everyday links the practices of Jannis Kounellis and Felix Schramm, two longtime friends who were once teacher and student. Although the late Greek Italian artist had a penchant for heavy materials, while the German artist is more attentive to lightness and play, their practices meet on philosophical grounds, as this dual exhibition demonstrated. Kounellis was represented by three moments in his artistic arc: a pre–Arte Povera painting, a 1979 print made at San Francisco’s legendary Crown Point Press, and two assemblages that display the affective material

  • Mario Merz, Chiaro oscuro/oscuro chiaro, 1983, metal structure, clamps, glass, bundles of sticks, neon, clay, cement. Installation view. Photo: Renato Ghiazza.

    Mario Merz

    HOW DO WE RECONCILE our own desires with those of others? Mario Merz (1925–2003) persistently used his art to probe the counterpoint between individuals and society that is at the heart of modern democracy. The Italian artist’s decades-long engagement with constructions that simultaneously recall shelters and the globe is the clearest manifestation of this concern. Since last fall, more than thirty of what Merz called his “igloos” have been assembled in the cavernous industrial space of Milan’s Pirelli Hangar Bicocca. On a scale never achieved in his lifetime, this installation maps his vision


    Curated by Iria Candela

    The Argentinean-Italian artist Lucio Fontana was nearly sixty when he made the first of his “Tagli” (Cuts), 1958–68, the slashed monochrome canvases with which he is now indelibly associated. This sweeping New York retrospective will put those late paintings in context, reminding viewers that Fontana’s concept of “Spatialism” was fundamentally multidisciplinary. Installed at both Met locations and accompanied by an illustrated catalogue, the show will explore an artistic career that spanned four decades, two continents, six manifestos, and media as diverse as stone, metal,


    Between 1968 and 2003, Italian artist Mario Merz built scores of igloos from materials such as glass, clay, sand, iron, sticks, stones, and fabric. That none were made of ice indicates that he wished to explore the construction as a model for anthropological space rather than as a cultural practice. Simultaneously domus and dome—home and archetype—the igloos perform the precarious relationship between individuals and society that informs the artist’s oeuvre. While Merz was fabricating his first igloo, international interest in nonpedigreed architecture was emerging as

  • Lucio Fontana, Fonti di energia (Energy Sources), 1961/2017, neon. Installation view. Photo: Agostino Osio. © Fondazione Lucio Fontana.

    Lucio Fontana

    The slashed and punctured canvases in Lucio Fontana’s series “Tagli”(Cuts), 1958–68, and “Buchi”(Holes), 1949–68, are often characterized as extreme forms of midcentury modernism’s gestural impulses, or as embodiments of the postwar era’s lingering social turmoil. Both interpretations may be valid, but the Italian-Argentinean artist’s desecration of the picture plane may in fact be best understood in the context of his immersive “Ambienti spaziali” (Spatial Environments), 1948–68. This exhibition, curated by Marina Pugliese, Barbara Ferriani, and Vicente Todolí, presented careful reconstructions

  • Gilberto Zorio, Piombi II (Lead II), 1968, lead sheets, copper sulfate, hydrochloric acid, fluorescein, copper braid, rope. Installation view, 2017. Photo: Antonio Maniscalco.

    Gilberto Zorio

    NEITHER AN ARTWORK nor the career of an artist is a fixed entity. This is the ultimate takeaway from the retrospective at Turin, Italy’s Castello di Rivoli of sculptor Gilberto Zorio’s work, which consists of energetic ideas and objects that have shifted, grown, and intertwined over his five-decade career. The Italian artist is something of a hometown hero, having resided in the neighboring metropolis of Turin since graduating from its Accademia Albertina di Belle Arti in the 1960s. This local renown, however, belies his importance to international artistic discourse. From his early days (when

  • Jim Campbell, Exploded Flat 2, 2017, aluminum, LEDs, custom electronics, 48 x 72 x 4 1/2". Photo: David Stroud.

    Jim Campbell

    The phenomenology of perception goes electronic in Jim Campbell’s work. His signature homemade, high-tech fabrications include LED projectors, multiple-exposure photographs, diffusion screens, and moving images superimposed with treated Plexiglas. Titled “Far Away Up Close,” this exhibition featured fifteen works from the past year that presented viewers with either too much visual data or not enough, laying bare the work involved in seeing.

    Installed at the show’s entrance was Data Transformation 1, a video rear-projected by more than a thousand LED lights onto a translucent Plexiglas screen.

  • Lucio Fontana, Struttura al neon per la IX Triennale di Milano (Neon Structure for the 9th Milan Triennial), 1951, crystal tube, neon. Installation view, Palazzo dell’Arte, Milan.


    Most art-world denizens know Fontana as the maker of punctured and slashed monochrome canvases that seem to embody the nihilism and lingering violence of the postwar discourse on gesture. Few conoscenti, however, have closely read Fontana’s manifestos on Spatialism, which contextualize his plastic works as research into space, light, technology, and the cosmos. Fewer still have experienced his Spatial Environments, the immersive installations that occupied much of his last decade. In collaboration with the Fondazione Lucio Fontana,

  • Nicole Wermers, Moodboard #6, 2017, cast terrazzo in baby-changing unit, 21 × 34 × 21". From the series “Mood Boards,” 2016–17.

    Nicole Wermers

    The playfulness of Nicole Wermers’s exhibition “Grundstück” belied a more serious project, one that engages the phenomenological implications of familiar forms. The German-born, UK-based artist highlights the peculiar coldness of modernism’s retail legacy by hijacking consumer objects and ludically subverting their intended uses. Here, Wermers presented three new bodies of work, each of which contrasts high and low and pits strict geometry against tendencies toward disorder.

    The artist’s humorous approach was easily glimpsed in the five “Mood Boards,” 2016–17, hung along the gallery’s east wall.