Turin Shuffle

Myriam Ben Salah at the 2013 edition of Artissima

Left: New Museum curator Gary Carrion-Murayari and Artissima director Sarah Cosulich Canarutto. Right: Illy Prize winner Fatma Bucak (center). (Photo: Lauren O’Neill-Butler)

THE TIME OF FOMO IS NOW. If you are not somewhere, you “should” be. Not only do you have to deal with your compulsive inner guilt; you also have to hear and see people bragging about being there, in real time, across various digital platforms. This year, I didn’t plan to go to Artissima. I even missed the opening, thinking that my absence would be the ultimate antidote to get through my withdrawal. But it was those continuous hashtag salads of #whitetruffle and #sparklingprosecco that made me give way and book a ticket. I actually still don’t know whether I first succumbed to collector Sandra Mulliez’s enthusiastic Facebook post “Artissima Rocks!” or to artist Ryan Gander’s Instagram of a restaurant bill featuring fritto di calamari, taglioni al tartuffo, and grappa. But I was weak, and then I was on a train on a Saturday morning, eager to land at the Lingotto complex, home of Artissima as well as to the divine pre–Mario Batali shopping complex Eataly. (I won’t say which one I visited first—no digital check-in witnessed my move.)

I began my tour of the fair with a proper catch-up over espressos with its director, Sarah Cosulich Canarutto, who vividly described the buoyant opening at Oval Lingotto that past Thursday night, which sounded like a cheerful end to a curators’ sleepaway summer camp, as well as Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo’s dinner the night before, where many of the curators stood before the well-heeled crowd and received praises for their projects. “We have a great group of dynamic international curators,” Cosulich Canarutto said, adding, “They are all staying in the same hotel, so it’s been a lot of fun.” Indeed they—major institutional representatives like Caroline Bourgeois, Defne Ayas, Kaspar König, Christine Macel, and Beatrix Ruf as well as independent young talents such as Anna Colin and Andrew Berardini—were legion and they were everywhere: selecting galleries and artists and dividing them into time-related sections (Present Future, Back to the Future, New Entries), touring around Turin with the boards of their museums, organizing shows inside and outside Artissima, delivering prizes, giving speeches. Some curators were even found within the works: A painting in Joe Sheftel’s booth by Matthew Watson cheekily depicted one of Present Future’s curators (and current Miami MoCA director), Alex Gartenfeld. This glorifying mise en abyme was perhaps the epitome of the center stage attention the curators were garnering here—a true blessing for a commercial event. Still, one wondered if their status replaced the experimental vibe so dear to previous editions of the fair.

Left: Outside of Artissima. (Photo: Lauren O’Neill-Butler) Right: Curators Jochen Volz, Alice Motard, Corinne Diserens, and Eva Fabbris; White Columns director Matthew Higgs; collector Rainald Schumacher; curators Kasper König and Christine Macel.

By the time Cosulich Canaretto was telling me how excited she was to re-create the energy of the Torino Triennale, a major art event involving all art institutions in the city and focused on the confrontation of emerging and midcareer artists, it was time to leave the VIP highs (the lounge literally overlooked the fair) to test the fair waters #IRL. I wriggled among the different sections: New Entries focused on young galleries; Present Future featured solo shows by emerging artists; and Back to the Future was devoted to great but little-known works by artists from the 1960s to the ’80s, such as a remarkable presentation by Krzysztof Wodiczko at Profile gallery and Dorothy Iannone’s booth at Air de Paris (a saga-like storyboard of her relationship with Dieter Roth, which really hit the mark). While some dealers complained about a sales slump compared with the golden years of Artissima under directors Andrea Bellini and Francesco Manacorda, others said they were selling more than they did at FIAC. Italian collectors—including Giorgio Fasol, Enea Righi and Lorenzo Paini, Diego Bergamaschi and Marco Martini—were au rendez-vous, wandering the alleys. “They keep a low profile but also keep buying despite hard times,” noted Pilar Corrias, who then added: “You should go get some truffles!”

First stop for dinner was historic La Drogheria on Piazza Vittorio Veneto, where Ryan Gander was hosting an artist-made cocktail hour. The café was small and crowded, with an all-you-can-eat buffet dinner—oh wait, it was only aperitivo. “This is my first dinner of the night” hummed curator Artemis Baltoyanni while seeking some gluten-free treats (worse than finding a needle in a haystack in Italy). “I have two more later,” she said. Nearby, and confirming the art fair/food disorder, was Daniele Balice, who told how many pizzas he’d had since the fair began (one each day). I was trying to stay as far away as possible from the fried calamari, working my appetite for truffles, when I ran into curators Berardini and Martha Kirszenbaum, who were debating the “89plus” project (that polyglot Hans Ulrich Obrist had presented, in Italian, the night before at Casa Sandretto): Apparently it involves Rihanna, X Factor, and the ability to piss in artworks as a post-Duchampian posture. After that, it was definitely time to hit the bar and trade my prosecco for an artist-crafted Negroni. “These cocktails should only be interpreted by a competent, well adjusted adult, with an impeccable moral compass,” read the drink’s description. My moral compass was thinking about the 8 AM ride I had booked for the next day to the Castello di Rivoli to see Artissima’s One Torino new program of exhibitions.

Left: Dealer Joe Sheftel. Right: Curators Martha Kirszenbaum, Andrew Berardini, and Chris Fitzpatrick. (Photos: Myriam Ben Salah)

Throwing caution to the wind, Kirszenbaum and I headed to Franco Noero’s new space on via Mottalciata for Mark Handford’s opening. “Look at the back of the gallery,” someone told me; “there is an Italian hipsters’ rave.” Indeed, behind the immaculate walls of the high-ceilinged white cube was a courtyard featuring what was actually the opening party for CRIPTA747, an independent nonprofit space Noero was hosting in his basement after they were kicked out from their previous location. After a talk with CRIPTA’s artists Giuseppe Buzzotta and Vincenzo Schillaci, we managed to make it to Michael Bauer’s opening at Norma Mangione and Peter Friedl’s at Guido Costa before trying to get dinner at Da Michele, a small renowned trattoria that seemed to be colonized by a vegan and organic-oriented Los Angeles art crowd. “What is this thing?” they asked. “It’s squid ink.” “Are you kidding me? Is there anything I can actually eat here?” Despite all of the things I could have eaten there, I ended up following Gartenfeld and Swiss Institute director Simon Castets, as well as Los Angeles Night gallery girls Mieke Marple and Davida Nemeroff, to another place around the corner. “Let’s stop kidding ourselves, someone exclaimed, this fair is all and only about the food.” We finished the night off at Norma Mangione’s party at Circolo Canottieri Esperia, a beautiful 1920s club of canoeing overlooking the river Po.

The next day, while everyone was visiting churches and chilling at cafes, contemplating the cloudless view of the Alps as postparty remedy, I ran around town, even making it to several of the “One Torino” shows. I began at Castello di Rivoli, where last year’s Illy prize laureates Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa, Vanessa Safavi, and Santo Tolone are presenting a lovely group show organized by Illy prize judges Andrew Berardini, Beatrix Ruf, and Gregor Muir. Then I hit the Palazzo Cavour back in Turin, catching an exhibition curated by Gary Carrion-Murayari that was inspired (and shares the same name as) Ian Breakwell’s key work Repertory. Next, I passed by two more venues—at Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea and Fondazione Merz—before ending my whiplash inducing tour at “Veerle,” a small but perplexing group show at Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo curated by Chris Fitzpatrick. Finally, I went back to the fair to make sure I didn’t miss anything. My FOMO was definitely sated. If the fair was all about food, I might have bitten more than I could chew.

Left: Night gallery dealers Davida Nemeroff and Mieke Marple with artist Valerie Piraino. Right: Curators Alex Gartenfeld and Simon Castets. (Photos: Myriam Ben Salah)

Left: Artists Karthik Pandian and Arthur Ou. (Photo: Lauren O’Neill-Butler) Right: Supportico Lopez dealer Gigiotto del Vecchio and dealer Amadeo Kraupa-Tuskany. (Photo: Myriam Ben Salah)

Left: Artissima director Sarah Cosulich Canarutto and foundation president Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo. Right: Artissima opening. (Photos: Lauren O’Neill-Butler)

Left: Dealer Franco Noero. (Photo: Myriam Ben Salah) Right: Curator Simon Castets and friends at Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo’s house. (Photo: Lauren O’Neill-Butler)

Left: Dealer Pilar Corrias. (Photo: Myriam Ben Salah) Right: Dinner at Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo’s house. (Photo: Lauren O’Neill-Butler)

Left: Artists Edward Allington and Matthew Darbyshire, curator Anna Colin, and artist Pablo Bronstein. Right: Monitor gallery dealers Paola Capata and Manuela Contino. (Photo: Myriam Ben Salah)

Left: Krypta’s Renato Leotta, Vicenzo Schillaci, and Giuseppe Buzzotta. Right: Air de Paris dealer Florence Bonnefous. (Photos: Myriam Ben Salah)

Left: Dealer Isabella Bortolozzi and curator Caroline Bourgeois. Right: Artist Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa performing at Castello di Rivoli Museum.

Left: Artist Ryan Gander and dealer Ash L'Ange. Right: Artist Jannis Varelas, Christian Rosa, and Artemis Baltoyanni. (Photos: Myriam Ben Salah)

Left: Collectors Diego Bergamaschi and Marco Martini. Right: Curator Anne Dressen and dealer Daniele Balice. (Photos: Myriam Ben Salah)

Left: Curators Kasper König, Hans Ulrich Obrist, and Christine Macel. Right: Kunsthalle Zurich director Beatrix Ruf and collector Wilfried Cooreman.