Diary

Italian Feast

Global Private Museum Network and Jean Paul Najar Foundation director Deborah Najar and collectors and founders of Magazzino Italian Art Giorgio Spanu, PSRR, and Nancy Olnick with collector and founder of Salsali Private Museum Ramin Salsali. Except where noted, all photos: Michela Moro.

FOR TWENTY-FIVE YEARS, Artissima has been a key focal point for Turin, exemplifying the web that connects at least five groups: artists, dealers, collectors, curators, and museums. The city’s institutions vigorously support this fair, and last year alone, with fifty-two thousand visitors, it generated 3.7 million euros. On the morning of November 1, collectors waited impatiently at the VIP entrance to be the first to enter the Oval Lingotto arena. It was a good sign for this edition of the fair, the second to be directed by Ilaria Bonacossa. This year, great attention was paid to contemporary art and to the international galleries representing countries that are not always at the forefront: Bulgaria, Cuba, the United Arab Emirates, Angola, Uruguay, and Korea. All the Piedmont galleries were represented, and many visitors had brought along their dogs as well. Also present were the mothers of both Ilaria Bonacossa and Beatrice Trussardi: here in Italy, our mothers are always in the picture.

Lucia Chiavassa, mother of Artissima director Ilaria Bonacossa.

My long day at the fair concluded with a visit to “Artissima Sound,” in the spaces of OGR (Officine Grandi Riparazioni), once a site for repairing railway cars. This section was entirely devoted to contemporary audio art––a constructive challenge for the ears and the mind––featuring artists such as Charlemagne Palestine, Ugo La Pietra, Michele Spanghero, Susan Philipsz, and VOID. An adjacent installation by Mike Nelson, which connects the past with the present in the ruins of a drive-in theater, was also compelling. Later at “Edit,” there was another example of industry archaeology: a dinner party in a former electrical cable factory, organized by artist Massimo Bartolini and the famed Costardi Brothers chefs. Guests included a significant group from the Global Private Museum Network, a worldwide association of owners of private museums headed by Deborah Najar, who chose Turin for the organization’s annual summit.

Artist Ugo La Pietra in his installation Audio Casco at Artissima Sound, OGR.

International collectors were out in full force the next day at the Castello di Rivoli, an excursion which, as per tradition, took place in the rain. Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev was the undisputed queen of the castle, directing us toward the various exhibitions after she awarded the illy Present Future Prize to Pedro Neves Marques (Cally Spooner was last year’s recipient). We toured an awe-inspiring retrospective of works by Nalini Malani, and The City of Broken Windows, a new work by Hito Steyerl extending the entire length—more than 480 feet—of the gallery. An exhibition of Giorgio de Chirico paintings from the collection of Francesco Federico Cerruti was enchanting and served as a reminder that melancholy Turin was the inspiration for de Chirico’s early metaphysical paintings.

Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo and artist Andra Ursuta.

That night an enormous crowd funneled into an opening at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo and tried to eye a performance by Monster Chetwynd and solo shows by Andra Ursuta, Rachel Rose, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. Happy about the Fondazione’s success, we headed toward the home of our patrons, Agostino and Patrizia. Patrizia has been a passionate supporter of Artissima from the start, and an invitation to her dinner is coveted. The rooms teemed with works, offering a recapitulation of the history of contemporary art, while guests, museum directors, collectors, and artists wandered about, finally satisfied that they were in the right place, with good wine and food, another tradition of the house.

It was a lively and fortunate evening for me, as I was seated with the explosive Petrit Halilaj, whose “Shkrepëtima” at the Merz Foundation is a poetic tale about the cultural renaissance of Runik, his birthplace, which was destroyed during the Kosovo war.

Artist Petrit Halilaj with curator Leonardo Bigazzi. Photo: Eleonora Roaro.

And then, I had a radical change of view in just a few hours, from Turin to Rome. That evening I headed to the annual fundraising dinner at MAXXI, the city’s contemporary art museum designed by Zaha Hadid with ribbons of sinuous cement. The predictable mix of collectors, artists, high government officials, entrepreneurs, film and television people, aristocrats, and politicians was present to help secure this year’s round of museum donations, half of which will go to MAXXI L’Aquila. (L’Aquila is the capital of the Abruzzi region, which was destroyed by an earthquake in April 2009.) This new, separate site will open next year.

Approximately 450 guests, including Alberto Bonisoli, the minister of culture, visited a preview of “Paolo Pellegrin. Un’Antologia” (Paolo Pellegrin: Selected Works), a moving show dedicated to the Roman member of the Magnum Photo, curated by Germano Celant. The rest of the event was guided with energy by MAXXI’s president Giovanna Melandri and illuminated by the stories of the guest of honor, Samantha Cristoforetti, an astronaut who spent 199 days in space in 2014 and 2015.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.

Vesselina Sarieva of Sariev Contemporary.

Collector Gemma Testa and dealer Isabella
Bortolozzi.

Dealer Glenn Scott Wright.

Dealer Sabrina Amrani.

Artist Roberto Coda Zabetta.

Collector Achille Mauri.

Dealer Irene Crocco.

Artist Daniel González.

Dealer Benedetta Spalletti and Lodovica Busiri.

Dealers Anastasia Morozova and Giacomo Acerboni.

Dealer Sonia Ribeiro.

Artist Francesco Arena.

Gallerist Norma Mangione.

Dealer Nick Schulte.

Dealer Lorcan O’Neill.

Dealer Olga Adelantado.

Dealer Giorgio Persano.

*A-Lounge contemporary art space director Min Lee.

Dealer Alberto Peola.

Dealer Niurma Perez.

Dealer Cecilia Brunson.

Dealer Guido Costa and collector Andrea Zegna.

Artist Alvaro Urbano and dealer Florian Lüdde.

Dealers Alessandro Pasotti and Fabrizio Padovani.

Dealer Tucci Russo.

Artist Mike Nelson in front of his installation L’atteso, OGR.

Artissima director Ilaria Bonacossa.

Curator Marcella Beccaria.

Dealer Allegra Ravizza.

Director of Global Private Museum Network and Jean Paul Najar Foundation Deborah Najar and collectors and founders of Magazzino Italian Art Giorgio Spanu, PSRR, and Nancy Olnick with collector and founder of Salsali Private Museum Ramin Salsali.

Collector Raffaella Sciarretta.

Collector Carlos Marsano.

Kunsthalle Basel president Martin Hatebur.

Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo’s son Emilio Re Rebaudengo.

*Italian Pavillon Venice Biennale 2019 curator Milovan Farronato.

Artist Nunzio.

Collector Alan Journo with collector and Galleria Borghese director Anna Coliva.

Artist David Czupryn and Eugenio Re Rebaudengo with Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo and artists Paul Kneale, and Des Lawrence.

*MAXXI president Giovanna Melandri.

Gala Dinner at MAXXI.

“View of "Paolo Pellegrin,” 2018.*

Roberta Ruiu.

Piero Maccarinelli and Roberto Cicutto.

Actor Luca Barbareschi.

Myrta Merlino and Marc Tardelli.

Curator Germano Celant with Paris Murray.

Collector Alessandra CERASI and
Head of Post-War & Contemporary Art Continental Europe
Chairman Mariolina Bassetti.

Melandri’s daughter Maddalena Morielli with husband Marco Morielli.

Gallerist Mauro Nicoletti.

MAXXI president Giovanna Melandri, and photographer Paolo Pellegrin.

Momento Chef stellato Francesco Apreda.

Samantha Cristoforetti.

ALL IMAGES