Ettore Spalletti

Henry Moore Institute

If the past is a burden, Italian artists bear a heavier one than most. And it’s not just all that extraordinary art—the Piero della Francescas and Fra Angelicos that seem to lurk around every corner. Anyone who’s ever walked the streets of an immemorial town or centro storico has to wonder how something new could possibly compete with the beauty of a worn old plaster wall glowing with the patina of age under the Italian sun. Perhaps the problem itself is older than we think. What else could have inspired Alberti’s mad assertion that a painting should be like a window than the wish to forget the reality of a wall? Ettore Spalletti’s solution, by contrast, is to take the wall as a model.

The eight works in this concise show, which date from 1979 to 2002, are all either gray or blue (occasionally supplemented with discreet additions of gold leaf). Spalletti sometimes uses other colors, but

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