Pia Capelli

  • View of “Stop Painting,” 2021. Left wall, from left: Michael Krebber, MK.163, 2011; Asger Jorn, La Dolce Vita II, 1962. Foreground: Marcel Broodthaers, Dix-neuf petits tableaux en pile (Nineteen Small Paintings in a Pile), 1973. Far right: Kurt Schwitters, Still Life with Brass Pot, Bottle, and Dead Magpie, 1915. Photo: Marco Cappelletti.

    “Stop Painting”

    Around 1840, on seeing an early daguerreotype, French painter Paul Delaroche is famously supposed to have declared, “From today, painting is dead.” In 2021, Swiss artist Peter Fischli pensively replies, “And yet . . .”Stop Painting,” the “panoptic exhibition” of works by more than eighty artists that he has curated for Fondazione Prada in Venice, offers what he calls a “kaleidoscope of repudiated gestures, including the critique of those repudiated gestures.”

    This brainy enterprise threads a story full of plots and subplots through a mental and visual itinerary that opens up the usually rigid

  • Artist Giuseppe Penone, Vuslat Doğan Sabanci, and Biennale President Roberto Cicutto. All photos by author unless noted.
    diary May 28, 2021

    Lagoon Squad

    STEPPING OUT OF A GLOBAL RAINY LOCKDOWN and straight into a sunny Architecture Biennale in Venice is no small feat: not for the locals, who are by now used to having the city to themselves; and not for the pro travelers who discover a land of 11 p.m. curfews, zero buffet lunches, and carefully slotted museum previews, where spritz is flowing but Italians have stopped hugging and kissing. The first few minutes inside any exhibition (or aperitivo) today feel like a miracle and a relief: The Biennale is actually happening! We are here again! Three air hugs (or drinks) later, a sense of bewilderment

  • Left: Art Critic Alessandra Mammì and dealer Francesca Migliorati. Right: Dealer Paola Potena and MART Director Gianfranco Maraniello.
    diary December 03, 2017

    Social Network

    IN TURIN DURING ARTISSIMA, one witnessed the former Italian capital’s classic, formal, symmetrical attributes pushing against its contemporary, strange, often (literally) underground side.

    My tour began with the esoteric: “Paranormal,” the exhibition Tony Oursler devoted to Gustavo Rol, an “affluent middle-class art lover and painter” who was born in Turin in 1903 and spent his life delving into the occult. The show opened at Pinacoteca Agnelli with a selection from Oursler’s personal collection of paranormal ephemera (comprising fifteen thousand pieces) showcased alongside the artist’s new cycle

  • Left: Artist Laure Provost and musician Trim. Right: Art Basel director Marc Spiegler and MiArt director Alessandro Rabottini.
    diary April 06, 2017

    Hidden Treasures

    AS EVERY BORN-AND-BRED MILANESE KNOWS, Milan is a special kind of beauty: She thrives behind closed doors and reveals herself to the lucky few only after careful vetting. Milan will give you a boring and self-righteous gray facade and then a door will open into an enchanted garden where pink flamingos stare at you, or a striking art collection pretends not to be there.

    And yet, this edition of MiArt, the first under the direction of Alessandro Rabottini, has somehow managed to open those doors and let an enormous amount of people in. “We knew we had the potential for amazing events, we just

  • Left: Arte Fiera director Angela Vettese and curator Mark Nash.  Except where noted, all photos: Pia Capelli. Right: Artist Luigi Ontani and photographer Jacopo Benassi. Photo: Alessandro Trapezio.
    diary February 11, 2017

    Sleeping Giant

    BORN IN 1974 IN A CITY, Bologna, that’s impossible not to love and wonderfully accessible to collectors from northern, central, and southern Italy, Arte Fiera has long been the Italian champion of sales, the social start of the art season, and an unmissable event for Italian collectors.

    Nonetheless, Italy’s longest-running modern and contemporary art fair now finds itself competing with MiArt and Artissima, and after a few editions needs rebranding. The newly appointed director of the fair, Angela Vettese, has a solid background as a critic, curator, professor, and cultural councillor, but is

  • Left: Artist Thomas Bayrle. Right: Artissima director Sarah Cosulich. (All photos: Pia Capelli and Perottino-Alfero-Tardito)
    diary November 13, 2016

    Global Village

    AS FAR AS ITALIAN ART FAIRS GO, nothing gets as international as Artissima. With its surreal number of curators (more than fifty) contributing to sections and prizes, its roster of global collectors, its constant new entries among exhibitors (Iran and Dubai are the latest additions), and its parade of collateral fairs and shows, Turin’s contemporary fair is the epicenter of an explosive Art Week.

    Committed art travelers spend four or five days immersed in art and design, rushing from a castle to a former royal palace (Turin has been a capital city for most of its existence, and the first of the

  • The Centro Pecci per l’Arte Contemporanea. (Photo: Mario Gianni)
    diary October 20, 2016

    Beginning of the End

    IF YOU IMAGINE the End of the World as a grand affair, with heavy rains, big crowds, unfinished business, and universal judgement, well, then Fabio Cavallucci, director of the new Centro Pecci per l’Arte Contemporanea in Prato, has definitely chosen the right theme for the inaugural exhibition of the Tuscan museum—closed for renovation since 2010 and reopening now with an 85,000-square-foot architectural extension by Dutch architect Maurice Nio. 

    “The End of the World” pre-previewed on Friday evening, but the grand opening program for the weekend—a busy one in Italy, with Art Verona, Collezione