new-york

Gianni Pattena

John Weber Gallery

Gianni Pettena is an Italian artist whose work has features in common with both earth works and Conceptual art, though he stands significantly apart from their tendencies to suspend value and meaning. Pettena is a trained architect and has taught in schools of architecture, but what he himself makes is only “architecture” of a cleverly nefarious sort. In the last few years artists have tried innumerable ways of dealing with (or overlooking) a world that grows increasingly piggish. Pettena’s response is one of the subtlest I have yet encountered. In his work, political considerations are not at variance or in competition with—or even withheld from—the esthetic operation.

I imagine Pettena as an architect actively on strike. Like those artists who have No Comment on the life that surrounds us, Pettena is reticent and guarded. But there aren’t many people who are “on strike” now whose

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