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Carla Pellegrini.
Carla Pellegrini.

Carla Pellegrini (1931–2019)

Carla Pellegrini, the director of Italy’s Galleria Milano since 1965, died on Sunday at the age of eighty-seven. Throughout her extensive career, Pellegrini staged some three hundred exhibitions at the gallery, which was established in 1928, closed during World War II, and reopened in 1964. Her exhibitions reflected a clear political commitment in the range of media, styles, and groups she championed, from avant-garde photography to popular culture and from anthropological research to experimental cinema. 

The early shows she put on included the 1966 group exhibition “London Under Forty,” Italy’s introduction to British Pop art; a major solo show in 1970 by Lucio Fontana; a 1974 exhibition of the then relatively unknown Ed Ruscha; and a 1974 survey of young German artists, including George Baselitz, Sigmar Polke, Blinky Palermo, Gerhard Richter, and Joseph Beuys, some of whom had never before shown their work in Italy.

With the turn of the millennium, the gallery presented the first Italian solo shows of Alexander Brodsky in 2002 and exhibited Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity) painter Carl Grossberg. Under Pellegrini, the gallery has continued to showcase modern and contemporary artists such as Gianfranco Baruchello, William Beckley, Antonio Calderara, Vincenzo Agnetti, Carlo Alfano, Arakawa, Tancredi, and Kazuo Shiraga, among others, to this day. In 2017, Pellegrini received the National Association of Modern and Contemporary Art Gallery Award at the Arte Fiera in Bologna. Milan-based a+m bookstore published a memoir of her life, I am Carla Pellegrini, in 2018.