PRINT Summer 1997


Northern Lights

UNLIKE FRANCE OR GREAT BRITAIN, Italy has no single city from which the nation's cultural life radiates. Instead, our country's history of decentralization—until the middle of the nineteenth century it was a medley of small independent states—has given us a wealth of diverse urban centers, large and small, with disparate cultural legacies sustained by a range of economies. Taken together, they create a variegated fabric that makes Italy, depending on one's point of view, either a big backwater or a sprawling capital.

When it comes to institutions of contemporary art, this general decentralization is intensified to the point of paradox. This is particularly the case in the north. Two of the most important contemporary art museums, Castello di Rivoli and Centro per l'Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, are found not in an international center like Milan, but in the small cities of Rivoli, outside

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