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ARCHITECTURE, DISPATCHES ART, MUSIC, ARCHITECTURE, FILM, SHOPPING, NEWS AND THINGS TO MAkE AND DO… ART, MUSIC, ARCHITECTURE, FILM, SHOPPING, NEWS AND THINGS TO MAkE AND DO…
Tales from The ciTy: rome
words MARk RAPPOLT “We look forward to becoming part of without actually offering up any clues
the cultural life of this extraordinary as to what the event’s importance was
city,” announced Larry Gagosian on the founded on (apart from the fact that,
eve of the inauguration of his latest as Larry was joined by stars such as
gallery, in Rome. And on the auspicious Willem Defoe, Valentino, Miuccia Prada,
day, police closed the lower section of Marc Jacobs, Sir Nicholas Serota, Hans
the Via Francesco Crispi, the gallery Ulrich Obrist, Bob Geldof et al. to
erected crash barriers around the celebrate the great day, something big
entrance and the place was swarming must be happening).
with burly security guards – one for
each work of art on show, it seemed, As with the gallery’s massive space on
plus a handful of others surveying London’s Britannia Street, the Rome
entrants (and perhaps allowing for the outpost opened with a show of new work
faint hint that those entrants were by Cy Twombly (a part-time resident of
more like supplicants) who presented the city for the last 50 years) in a
themselves at the door. The inevitable space designed by architects Caruso St
feeling was that the event was more John (here, in collaboration with Rome-
about making a scene than joining one. based architect Firouz Galdo). Housed
But perhaps, in a city that remains in what was once a bank, the space
more famous for old art than the new has a suitable air of luxury, wealth,
stuff (which, after all, is why it’s permanence and security – everything a
called the Eternal City), that’s simply fledgling art scene needs.
another instance of the famed cunning
that makes Gagosian the gallerist Locals had been describing the opening
everyone has to watch. event as the party of the month, which
tended to overshadow the work on show
Indeed, many of the invited guests – three luscious-looking large new
(and the journalists in particular) paintings and a supporting micro-
spent most of the evening rushing cast of older bronzes and a collage.
around to ask local dignitaries and The Art Newspaper, in fact, focused
the usual international art crowd for its coverage of the great event on
quotes about why Rome was suddenly the quality of the canapés at the VIP
such a hotbed of modern art (in the dinner and the important question
process, and probably inadvertently, of whether or not Larry Gagosian
confirming the fact that a Gagosian was a good host. But perhaps that’s
Gallery landing anywhere is some sort just because the Italian-owned trade
paper has the inside track on the
Italian pathway to success. Or because
Was Larry going to start
the opening came so soon after the
Art Basel Miami madness and their
hoovering up more Arte Povera?
correspondents were still convinced
of some intrinsic link between great
Was it a bid to secure Cy
parties and great art. (If there was
one, you’d think gallerists would
Twombly’s estate?
always have their parties before people
saw the art, not afterwards.)
of confirmation of cultural cool in The writer Malcolm Lowry describes
its own right). Which, at the opening arriving in Rome and being somewhat
and at the glitzy dinner that followed, depressed by the fact that the Eternal
tended to give the impression that many City never changes, until he comes upon
of these people were somewhat puzzled the traffic jams outside the Colosseum
as to what, exactly, they were doing and thinks he has found something that
in Rome in the first place. (Was there surely represents the city’s twentieth-
some wealth of collectors in Rome that century face – only to then open up his
no one had previously heard about? Was guidebook and read a passage describing
there about to be? Was Larry going to the problems of chariot traffic
start hoovering up more Arte Povera? outside the Colosseum in ancient Rome.
Was it a bid to secure Cy Twombly’s And Gagosian’s fest is probably no
estate?) Which, in turn, is where different from any classical feast.
Gagosian’s sense of spectacle and the
spectacular comes into its own – giving So what was I doing in Rome? Well, um…
a sensation of the event’s importance it’s always a nice place to visit.
ArTrEvIEw 36
Dispatches_columns_Feb.indd 36 9/1/08 16:15:33
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