Ida Panicelli

  • 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

  • picks August 23, 2017

    Nan Goldin

    For Nan Goldin’s first solo exhibition in Ireland, “Weekend Plans,” curated by Rachel Thomas, the artist’s iconic slideshow, The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, 1985, inevitably sets the tone. It’s impossible to avoid the impact of her most famous work, a record of Goldin’s harrowing life from 1970 to 1985, featuring an assortment of family, friends, and lovers. The slideshow is intimate, built around a narrative arc and accompanied by an upbeat sound track, from Maria Callas to the Velvet Underground. This closeness is palpable and heightened by the intensity of the artist’s subjects: sex, drug

  • Giorgio Griffa

    Through a radical formal reduction, Giorgio Griffa unites rule and poetry. Since his early days, working within the context of Arte Povera and Minimalist painting, he has maintained with his concise vocabulary an exemplary consistency and freshness. His painting, always focused on the rhythm and sequence of marks, is simultaneously rational and lyrical. And this show, which revisits his work from the late 1960s to the present, creates a dialogue through assonances among works from different decades.

    Griffa works on raw, unstretched canvas hung on the wall with small nails; he applies diluted

  • Giuseppe Penone

    Since the 1960s, Giuseppe Penone’s work has been based on an osmosis between the vegetal and human worlds; his forms are marked by time and are always dependent on the relationship between nature and the artist’s body, and above all on a certain spiritual quality that allows him to perceive the secret rhythm of natural flows. And yet with this exhibition, “Equivalenze” (Equivalences), I was unable to avoid an off-putting feeling of chilling formalism. The show features some materials familiar from Penone’s work, such as terra-cotta, and some that are new, such as micro-drilled oxidized brass,

  • picks March 26, 2017

    Nina Fischer and Maroan el Sani

    Abebe Bikila was the first African athlete to win an Olympic gold medal; he set a world record in Rome in 1960 after running the marathon, barefoot, in two hours and fifteen minutes. His historic achievement is the cornerstone of Freedom of Movement, 2017, a three-channel video installation by German artists Nina Fischer and Maroan el Sani. Weaving a tale with threads of history and current events, the work conjoins the win’s strong social impact with a profound sense of humanity.

    The first video blends archival film clips of the Ethiopian marathoner’s race and his epic victory beneath the Arch

  • Ernesto Neto

    “If the sacred serpent had not offer[ed] the fruit of the knowledge tree, the apple love, to Eve, and told her to share it with Adam, they would be till today in the Paradise beautiful, and we, where would we be? There would not be we, you and me, none of us. So, the boa serpent gave birth to humanity.” This handwritten statement, welcoming visitors to Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto’s immersive take on the Garden of Eden, put forward a novel interpretation of the Book of Genesis. Scrawled on the gallery wall, the text characterized the serpent not as a trickster but as a primordial generative

  • Fabio Mauri

    Giving priority to ethics over aesthetics, Fabio Mauri has penetrated the West’s heart of darkness, analyzing the falsehoods of the ideologies that have characterized twentieth-century European history, revealing their pervasive mechanisms of cruelty. His rigorous inquiry focuses on the system of signs and symbols that Nazism and Fascism used to create consensus, seductively manipulating the masses. Investigating the forms—and even the beauty—through which totalitarian regimes have represented themselves, he asks us to personally participate in historical contradictions and to confront

  • picks January 17, 2017

    “You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966–1970”

    The years 1966 to 1970, which formed and devastated much of a generation, marked a definitive cultural break during the postwar period in Europe and the United States. The widespread counterculture movement that united London and San Francisco generated a revolution in music, graphic design, fashion, and social behavior. In a lively, multifaceted setting, there was youthful rebellion, lots of great recreational drugs, sexual freedom, feminism, underground publications, anti–Vietnam War protests, the Monterey Pop Festival, and Woodstock.

    This exhibition deftly illustrates those five years, without

  • Anish Kapoor

    “Today You Will Be in Paradise,” Anish Kapoor’s exhibition at Gladstone Gallery this past spring, embarked on a visceral journey through the body, displaying sculptures that emulate its muscle fibers, fat, and intestines in a profusion of blood-red fluids, drippings, blobs, and creepy organic matter. Fearlessly, his senses fibrillating, Kapoor burrowed into the world of flesh.

    Kapoor’s chief material, silicone, is significant: It is a substance associated with plastic surgery, most notably with breast implants, and here it conveys the body’s materiality with intensity and luminosity. While the

  • Marzia Migliora

    In this highly political show, “Forza lavoro” (Work Force), Marzia Migliora examined the transitional moment of a dying architectural structure, the Palazzo del Lavoro in Turin, designed by Pier Luigi Nervi in 1959 for the Esposizione Internazionale del Lavoro (International Labor Exhibition) organized by Giò Ponti for Expo ’61. A majestic environment and a masterpiece of engineering, it is now in a state of total ruin following years of neglect that culminated in a devastating fire in August 2015. The building’s decay is rendered even more excruciating by its imminent conversion into a luxury