Marco Meneguzzo

  • Installing “Hammer of Sickle” at Galleria Milano, 1973. Pictured: Hammer and sickle, 1972–73, two-color silk-screened wool flag, 49 x 48". Photo: Aldo Ballo.
    picks November 17, 2020

    Enzo Mari

    Triennale Milano’s exhibition for Enzo Mari, planned before the artist’s death last month at age eighty-eight, is joined by another unexpectedly commemorative show at Galleria Milano, its first conceptualized after the passing of Carla Pellegrini, who directed the space from 1965 to 2019. The exhibition, “Falce e Martello. Tre dei modi con cui un artista può contribuire alla lotta di classe” (“Hammer and Sickle. Three ways an artist can contribute to class struggle”), restages the 1973 exhibition that inaugurated the gallery’s current venue. A recently rediscovered film containing interviews

  • Regina José Galindo, El gran retorno (The Great Return), 2019, HD video, color, sound, 12 minutes 56 seconds.

    Regina José Galindo and Iva Lulashi

    Vicino altrove” (Nearby Elsewhere), a two-person show of work by Regina José Galindo and Iva Lulashi, established a convincing duet despite the age difference between the two artists—Galindo was born in 1974, Lulashi in 1988—and their far-flung origins in Guatemala and Albania, respectively. Their work is very dissimilar, too: Galindo creates performance and video, while Lulashi is a painter.

    Galindo’s work is the more structured of the two. Her performative reflections on real-world situations deploy image and action in a way that is extraordinarily metaphorical and at the same time immediate,

  • Chiara Dynys, Aurora, 2019, mixed media, 49 5⁄8 × 70 7⁄8 × 32 5⁄8".

    Chiara Dynys

    At the heart of Chiara Dynys’s show “Aurora” was a work evoking a large piece of stage machinery, also titled Aurora, 2019: a sequence of rectangular frames in lacquered Plexiglas, brightly colored and with reflective inserts, nested one inside another so as to form a kind of telescope. In the deepest recesses of these multiple frames, a video showed a sequence of rooms, one inside another, in a similarly intense color scheme. (This video in fact documented an earlier installation by the artist.) The rest of the show consisted mainly of a group of glass boxes with mirrored surfaces at the back.

  • Enrico Castellani in his studio, Celleno, ca. 1977–78. Photo: Franco Pasti.
    passages February 02, 2018

    Enrico Castellani (1930–2017)

    FOR MANY YEARS the painter Enrico Castellani lived in Celleno, an isolated and extremely beautiful village north of Rome, where cell-phone service is only intermittent and the trattorias await groups from outside the city walls or the occasional wedding celebration to see new faces. Almost a hermitage, it precisely reflected his character, so secure was he about his own work that he had no need to speak about it. He might perhaps have preferred to say something about a centuries-old rose garden growing on the terraces of the half-ruined castle he inhabited, or about the fate of small bookshops

  • Arcangelo Sassolino, Canto V, 2016, wood, steel, hydraulic system, 6' 5 1/2“ × 16' 2 7/8” × 1' 8 7/8". Installation view. Photo: Ela Bialkowska.

    Arcangelo Sassolino

    The work of Arcangelo Sassolino does not follow the trend toward dematerialization that seems to apply to so much contemporary art. In his hands, material assertively occupies space: The “life of matter” makes itself felt—through noises, metamorphoses, structural tensions, and often-violent movements. Canto V (all works 2016), a sixteen-foot tree trunk, sawed longitudinally into thick beams and suspended in midair, was subjected to extreme pressure from a hydraulic jack that bent it first in one direction and then another. A series of creaking noises, something like the sounds that emerge

  • Paolo Cotani, Tensioni, 1993, polyester bands, steel, 72 1/2 × 23 3/4 × 3 1/2".

    Paolo Cotani

    Paolo Cotani (1940–2011) first gained acclaim in the 1970s as one of the protagonists of Pittura Analitica (Analytical Painting). This movement, particularly in Italy, France, and Germany, aimed to scrutinize painting’s social issues, psychological motives, and linguistic effects. At that time, painting was seen as an obsolete expressive tool, under attack by Arte Povera and a younger generation of conceptually minded artists. Cotani superimposed monochromatic bands of colored fabric in a quest for a painting that resisted the medium’s conventions while using a recognizable, even canonic, form.

  • Jeff Elrod, Sonora Lights, 2016, ink-jet print and acrylic on canvas, 90 × 70".

    Jeff Elrod

    Jeff Elrod’s work exploits some of the possibilities offered by digital graphics yet still maintains a traditional visual apparatus. At first glance, it even seems to exemplify a familiar type of abstraction that is cold and formally very composed. In fact, his extremely large canvases are made using an ink-jet printing technique, with marks typical of various computer programs (MS Paint, Photoshop, Illustrator) enormously enlarged so viewers can see the sequence of rectilinear strokes that make up every type of curve. Not everything in his work, however, is digital; in the long process that

  • Hema Upadhyay in her studio in Mumbai, 2009. Photo: Anne Maniglier.
    passages February 12, 2016

    Hema Upadhyay (1972–2015)

    THE PHOTO BY WHICH I REMEMBER Hema Upadhyay shows her alongside The Great Game, the work she created for the Iranian pavilion at the 2015 Venice Biennale, where Mazdak Faiznia and I had invited her to participate: a glass cabinet, jam-packed with little multicolored clay birds, each holding a message or a fragment of a story in its beak to be brought to the far corners of the earth, flying beyond any border. Thinking now about how Upadhyay’s life (she was born in Vadodara, India, in 1972) has been brutally cut short in Mumbai, in a crime whose reasons are still obscure, provokes a sorrow that

  • View of “Luciano Fabro,” 2015–16. Photo: Agostino Osio.

    Luciano Fabro

    These two shows, at both Galleria Christian Stein locations, in central Milan and in the suburb of Pero, constitute a veritable retrospective of the work of Luciano Fabro (1936–2007). The first venue almost entirely recapitulates the artist’s first show, in 1965, at Milan’s Galleria Vismara. In the larger space on the outskirts of the city, a series of key works—including examples of his sculptural cycles Piedi (Feet), 1968–2000; Italia (Italy), 1968–2007; Attaccapanni (Clothes Hangers), 1976–84; and Computer, 1988–2007—provides a comprehensive view of his practice, in an exemplary

  • Bruno Munari, Negativo-Positivo, 1990, oil on canvas, 56 × 56".

    Bruno Munari

    It is a difficult task to condense into one exhibition all the branches of visual research undertaken by the Milanese designer and inventor Bruno Munari (1907–1998). His output spanned from the late 1920s—when he participated in the so-called Second Futurism movement—to the final years of his life, when he staked out a position as an artist. In the intervening sixty years, he eschewed rigid disciplinary boundaries, applying his concept of design to a broad range of visual practices. For this reason, his work has historically been most revered in such fields as industrial and graphic

  • Salvo in Turin, 1982. Photo: Cristina Tuarivoli.
    passages December 15, 2015

    Salvo (1947–2015)

    IT WAS 1975, and although very young, I still remember the annoyance I felt at seeing a very small image of San Giorgio e il Drago (Saint George and the Dragon) by Salvo, published in the weekly column of a popular magazine. I was already hanging out in the art world—my father was an artist of some renown in Italy—and while the reproduction of that work was scarcely bigger than a stamp and one amid many others on a page with art-world announcements, its pastel colors seemed scandalous to me, in light of the reigning Conceptualism, analytical rigor, and “black-and-white” aesthetic of those years.

  • View of “John Armleder,” 2015. Photo: Roberto Marossi.

    John Armleder

    The first of the three rooms in which John Armleder’s motley exhibition unfolded was the most evocative. A series of illuminated road signs composed of LED lights blinked amid a fog that enveloped visitors’ feet, as fog does in B-horror-movie cemeteries, or on certain winter evenings in the lowlands of Europe. The Blue Danube, performed by pianist Josef Lhévinne, played in the background. Nine large black-and-gold abstract paintings from 2015, each featuring a variation of the same geometric shape, hung on the walls in such a way that they constructed a visual horizon that might have reminded