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LETTER FROM ITALY

the New School of Milan

MILAN IS EXPERIENCING a disheartening decline in institutional support for contemporary art. Nothing is happening: public spaces that once offered notable exhibitions and events are now underutilized or host survey shows of question— able quality. The city government does not seem inclined to muster the energy and resources to put Milan back on the map culturally, and the result is the banality and mediocrity one would expect of a provincial city.

But Italians are resourceful, and their inventiveness and initiative—in finding alternative uses for publicly funded spaces and creating private venues for viewing art—have made up for their institutions’ low profiles. In Milan, where publicly funded venues have not recently shown artists of international repute, various art conferences have brought Hans Haacke, Alfredo Jaar, Marina Abramović, Jimmie Durham, Pipilotti Rist, and others to

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