Ida Panicelli

  • “The Street”

    WITH ITS UNAMBIGUOUS TITLE and broad inclusion of upward of two hundred artworks by more than 140 artists from every habitable continent, “La strada. Dove si crea il mondo” (The Street: Where the World Is Made) addresses how art, design, and architecture shape our urban environments and influence how we participate in daily life. Hou Hanru, Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Secolo’s artistic director and the exhibition’s curator, identifies the street as a predominantly political space, one defined by the totality of systems that animate it: transportation, business, and work, as well as food,

  • Juan Uslé

    Since the late 1980s, the painter Juan Uslé has divided his time between New York and Spain, so it is probably inevitable that what might be called a “pendular” mode is inscribed in the work of this bilingual and bicultural artist. Perhaps more surprising is that it takes the form of a synesthetic investigation of rhythm. In the fourteen paintings (all works 2018), in his recent exhibition “Pedramala” (whose title refers to an area in the south of Spain, near Valencia, where Uslé has a house), color, forms, and marks were regulated by a continuous movement, giving the sense of an apparently

  • Alfredo Jaar

    Its windows covered with red film, the gallery emitted a luminous glow, but this was no disco. Entering, viewers were enveloped by a dense fog that forced them to move about cautiously, drawn to a red neon sign that covered the entire back wall, its letters very far apart, elongated like falling teardrops and nearly illegible. The words had to be reconstructed one by one so that their meaning could be felt in all its painful effect: WHAT NEED IS THERE TO WEEP OVER PARTS OF LIFE? THE WHOLE OF IT CALLS FOR TEARS. This is also the title of this 2018 work, taken from the letter of consolation written

  • picks December 05, 2018

    Mimmo Rotella

    In the early 1950s, to escape the trap of geometric abstraction and art informel, which were then dominant modes, Mimmo Rotella invented his own personal language, one inspired by his contemporaries’ experimentations—from Lucio Fontana’s trademark slashes to the use of “improper” art materials, as in Alberto Burri’s sacchi (burlap sack pieces). As apparent from the garish advertising plastered across city walls, postwar Italy had become driven by consumerism. Fascinated by these posters, Rotella appropriated them, scraping them from the walls of Rome at night and then, in his studio, assembling

  • Marzia Migliora

    Marzia Migliora has more than once engaged in dialogue with buildings that have a rich historical, cultural, and social resonance: Palazzo del Lavoro in Turin in 2016, Ca’ Rezzonico in Venice in 2017. Absorbing the significance of such structures, she responds with works of great emotional density and rigorous attention to detail. In this exhibition, titled “Voce del verbo avere” (Voice of the Verb to Have), she rose to the challenge presented by Palermo’s Palazzo Branciforte, a sixteenth-century edifice that, in the nineteenth century, housed the Monte dei Pegni di Santa Rosalia—a pawnshop.

  • picks October 25, 2018

    Jaanus Samma

    In “Outhouse by the Church,” Jaanus Samma examines the public urinal as a site of past and present gay cruising. Flaminio Station 1–4, 2016–18, based on archival research and a map of Roman public baths, focuses on one such facility near Piazza del Popolo, which has not yet been rendered anachronistic by dating apps and remains a cruising site. In this series, four panels of yellow ceramic tiles evoke public bathrooms; graffiti with offers and requests for sexual services and the inevitable tones of trash talk contribute to the work’s extroverted and rambunctiously Pop-y nature.

    In contrast,

  • Leon Golub

    An unforgiving witness to his time, Leon Golub (1922–2004) was America’s Goya during the second half of the twentieth century, recording and denouncing in his art what critic Donald Kuspit called the “pathology of power.” While aware of various classical European sculptural and pictorial traditions, as well as developments in French postwar art, Golub’s painting is rough, stripped bare of anything agreeable or polite. Neither alluring nor eager to please, his images are coarse—they scrape against the eyes. He drew upon a wide variety of visual sources, high and low: from Greek statuary and

  • Elaine Reichek

    The protagonists of Elaine Reichek’s first exhibition in Austria, “Now If I Had Been Writing This Story,” were four mythological women from ancient Crete: Ariadne, Europa, Pasiphaë, and Phaedra. While they may be of divine descent, these women are not in command of their own fates. Their destinies are determined by gods, kings, husbands, and lovers, driven by lust, betrayals, vendettas, and duplicity. They are kidnapped, abandoned, ransomed, glorified, or punished, always at the mercy of events beyond their control. They are free only to experience frenzied and often destructive passions, schemes,

  • Francesco Clemente

    Accustomed to collaborating with poets and writers—among them Gregory Corso, Allen Ginsberg, Rene Ricard, and Salman Rushdie—Francesco Clemente allowed himself to be seduced by Poet in New York, the recently retranslated collection of poems that Federico García Lorca wrote between 1929 and 1930 while a student at Columbia University. With a sort of foresight, Lorca saw the city as a merciless meat grinder that devours the most vulnerable, the destitute, and innocent children. His critique of the capitalist world led him to write of Wall Street: “There, as nowhere else, you feel a total

  • Romina Bassu

    In “Male Gaze,” Romina Bassu explored a certain model of femininity whose genesis can be traced back to the idea of the mindless, submissive, “perfect” housewife of the 1950s. Inspired by vintage photos, films, and TV ads she has collected for years, the Italian artist borrows atmospheres and poses from that era to look beneath its pervasive and subtly abusive propaganda for a world built around the demands of dominant male culture and the consumer society. While the female subjects of Bassu’s paintings are defined by the artifice of their socially prescribed roles, she alters their appearance

  • picks February 04, 2018

    Maria Lai

    With forty works spanning the 1950s to the 2000s, Maria Lai’s exhibition examines fragments of her long and multifaceted creative path. From her native land, Sardinia, Lai had an unimpeded view toward a horizon as vast as the sea, though as an islander, she knows that that not only is space infinite, it can also be a wall. And she courageously crossed over it, in the early 1940s, to move to Venice as a young woman to study with the sculptor Arturo Martini. The influence of sculpture is evident in the solid construction of the figures in her drawings and paintings from the 1960s, and also in her

  • Luisa Rabbia

    The color blue has been important to Luisa Rabbia’s artistic investigations since the 1990s. This show of ten works made between 2009 and 2017 adds new nuances and tonalities: violet, maroon, red. Drawing in pencil on acrylic paint on paper or canvas, she weaves an intricate web of signs and achieves pictorial plenitude in the combination/opposition of a flat, frequently blue background and the vertiginous stratification of pencil marks. In these works, inner and outer landscapes coexist, demanding a variable perspective from viewers. At close range, one can perceive traces of the artist’s hand,

  • picks December 21, 2017

    Massimo Bartolini

    Massimo Bartolini has a history of interrogating notions of absence and presence—and here he approaches his subjects from different emotional and conceptual angles, such as the longing for a distant lover or the effacement of a writer’s identity. All of his works point to contradictions of the real and how much we invest in and identify with our beliefs.

    The two most impressive works in this exhibition mix Asian and European spiritual symbols with a minimalist rationalism. The Cartesian order of Pensive Bodhisattva, 2017, a large-scale iron structure, features an antique Korean statue of a

  • picks December 15, 2017

    Petrit Halilaj

    Petrit Halilaj’s complex exhibition merges issues of identity, collective narrative, and echoes of past battles in a dreamlike environment populated by flocks of imaginary birds. In the two-channel video The city roofs were so near that even a sleepwalking cat could pass over Runik without ever touching the ground (all works 2017), Halilaj interviews people living in the titular village in Kosovo, where he grew up—an area that contains important Neolithic settlements found during archeological digs in 1968 and 1983. After the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s, the artifacts became displaced. The most

  • Lin Tianmiao

    This show screamed out loud. Some 120 words in English and Chinese were woven into thick protuberances that rested on an assortment of antique carpets covering the entire floor of the gallery’s main room. These terms were all related to womanhood—expressions of appreciation or derogatory insults—and they reflected the stereotypes, social pressures, and repressive roles imposed for centuries on women all over the world. Over the past six years, Lin Tianmiao has collected approximately two thousand such words from different languages and their slang and local dialects, as well as from

  • picks November 14, 2017

    Diego Ibarra Sánchez

    “Hijacked Education,” featuring photographs by Diego Ibarra Sánchez, is the third in a series of six exhibitions titled “GUERRE” (WARS) that Mudima Lab is devoting to freelance war photojournalism. Sanchez began the exhibited project in Pakistan in 2009, in part as a means of documenting and denouncing the catastrophic effects of the region’s conflicts on the fate of children living in these war zones. Sánchez documented the violent Taliban campaign against education, which focused in particular on the suppression of girls’ schooling and culminated in the attack on the young activist Malala

  • picks November 03, 2017

    Betty Woodman

    In recent works claiming both the territory of painting and sculpture, Betty Woodman pushes the boundaries of her chosen medium, ceramics, and her work seems here fresher and freer than ever. The artist challenges notions of likeness, mixing real objects and their representations, always maintaining her sense of humor on high frequencies. Her signature vases, plates, and pitchers dialogue with painted trompe l’oeil interiors: Sitting in the round on shelves, the vases appear again on the canvas as two-dimensional shapes, or even as their own incongruously painted shadows. In one of her most

  • Pat Steir

    The ancient Greeks had two words to indicate time: kronos and kairos. While the former refers to sequential time, the latter signifies “a time in between,” a moment when something special occurs. “Kairos,” then, was an appropriate title for this show of twelve new paintings by Pat Steir. In each of them, something momentous occurs at the center of the picture—a vertical caesura that centrally divides the canvas. When I look at this liminal line, I think of the irreconcilable dichotomy of existence, encompassing the separation between spirit and body, essence and appearance. The fissure

  • Luigi Ontani

    A self-curated retrospective often risks being bombastic or over the top, but not in the case of Luigi Ontani, who represented his emblematic path from the 1970s to the present with eighty-five works—photographs, watercolors, sculptures in ceramic and bronze, and one mosaic—in which he is the main subject, turning the show into a sort of ironic and phantasmagoric über-self-portrait.

    Since the beginning of his career, Ontani’s reflections on art history have been both observant and irreverent. Using disguises and disrobings, Ontani reinterprets not only iconic figures from Italian art,

  • picks September 22, 2017

    Alex Sewell

    Painting teenage spleen with a Photorealist’s skill, Alex Sewell creates trompe l’oeil works on canvas and wood that interrogate the bulimic visual culture that bombards today’s youth with toxic and violent images. A steadfast irony, however, keeps his critique from becoming preachy, as symbols of beloved pop culture (video-game heroes, rock stars) are conflated with those of high art (Jean-Michel Basquiat, Philip Guston) and peppered with references to religion, sex, and resistance movements.

    Though the artist’s oils are in your face and over the top, his messages are subtle, intelligent. His