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art pilgrimage milan VS. Turin
people go to milan for fashion and design, Then there are the shows that, as Palmigiano demonstrate. These spaces offer high-quality
not art – whether Old Masters (for this Italy puts it, “rightly remember artists linked to Milan, international shows, but obviously don’t take the
boasts many better-equipped cities) or such as the great retrospective of Munari at the risk of putting forward emerging Milanese
contemporary. And yet this last is a fact that flies Rotonda della Besana and Ugo Mulas at PAC”. artists (apart from Assab One, renowned for
in the face of the large numbers of Italian taking more experimental directions), who need
contemporary artists who have chosen to make While it’s fair to say that Milan is not utterly to find alternative ways of gaining visibility. The
it their home. But a fact it is: if the fashion shows devoid of interesting contemporary art events, lucky ones have conquered the windows of
and the annual Salone del Mobile register there’s much room for improvement: a system private Milanese galleries where work from
providential invasions of foreigners, an to rebuild, and a public to create. Aside from the national artists is respected: Emi Fontana
analogous event from the art side, such as Miart fashion models, football players and suchlike (Monica Bonvicini, Liliana Moro, Luca Vitone…),
– the contemporary and modern art fair in who were once strangers to the artworld but Giò Marconi (Francesco Vezzoli, Grazia Toderi,
Lombardy’s capital – lacks both international who now capitalise upon the social visibility it Luca Trevisani …), Pasquale Leccese (Gabriele
galleries of repute and the foreign collectors affords, Milan lacks a public for contemporary Picco, Sara Rossi…), Raffaella Cortese (Marcello
they draw to its carpeted corridors. Though if art. Which returns us to the same painful point: Maloberti), Lia Rumma (Marzia Migliora,
you look at it from another point of view, this the lack of an institutional space for art. As the Ottonella Mocellin/Nicola Pellegrini…),
apparent weakness lends any interesting art critic Barbara Casavecchia pointed out with Francesca Kaufmann (Gianni Caravaggio,
event that does take place an added surprise extreme lucidity, ‘there is no critical space, or a Pierpaolo Campanini, Maggie Cardelus…); and,
and shock value. prospectus that helps the public to read certain again, Massimo De Carlo (Diego Perrone,
themes… there isn’t the didactic mediation Simone Berti, Roberto Cuoghi…), who with his
For many, the cause of this disappointing and offered by the museum – which signifies, in relocation to the eastern part of the city a few
strangely contradictory state of affairs is the lack short, the same old public’. years ago has enabled the formation of a real art
of an institutional nucleus – namely, a district in the Lambrate area, where the work of
contemporary art museum – around which a But perhaps things are changing: Davide young galleries such as Paolo Zani’s Zero and
scene might coalesce. (To underline the extent Rampello, the deus ex machina of the Triennale, Francesca Minini also stand out. Moving on to
to which Milan struggles with this kind of recently announced the opening of a another part of the city, in the haute-bourgeois
problem, it’s worth noting that it was only last Contemporary Museum between 2010 and area between the Basilica di Sant’Ambrogio and
December that Italy’s design capital got a 2011, based in a spectacular building designed the Cenacolo Vinciano, Riccardo Crespi’s
design museum, which opened within the by starchitect Daniel Libeskind in Citylife, a recently opened gallery focuses on young
Triennale di Milano with an installation by recently regenerated zone and the epicentre for international names like Lisi Raskin and Ragnar
architect Italo Rota and the British filmmaker grand urban reconfigurations by Zaha Hadid, Kjartansson (who will represent Iceland at the
Peter Greenaway.) Arata Isozaki and Pier Paolo Maggiora. For now Venice Biennale in 2009). Meanwhile, nightlife
the attitude of those in the know is in Milan has, for some time, been short on
It is an absence that causes most players on the quintessentially Milanese: moderate scepticism hangouts for the art crowd: there are ‘alternative’
Milan arts cene to be engaged in a constant occasionally shaken by shivers of hope and bars, such as Atomic or Elephant, frequented by
round of (self-)criticism and recrimination. trepidation. creative types, but as the young artist Valerio
Indeed, Claudio Palmigiano, a Milan collector Rocco Orlando laments, the city lacks “a
who is ever-present at openings (with a For some the problem is not simply the lack of bookshop or a café to meet, work out things
particularly Milanese kind of diligence), suggests an institution but also a result of artists’ inability and discuss stuff with other artists; you go out at
some noteworthy exceptions that save Milan to create productive situations through a night more to get to know people… and you
from the cupio dissolvi that grips its artworld. He collective initiative. As a partner of Lapo Elkann don’t talk, just dance”. Favourite destinations: the
cites the experience of the Triennale (which and Alberto Fusignani for the communications historic Plastic or Bond. If you want the glossy
arrived in Milan in 1933 with a mission to agency Independent Ideas, located between take on Milanese style and the crossover
promote the ties between industry, Milan and Turin, Ivan Maria Vele is a personality between fashion and design, you need to get to
manufacturing and the arts) and its two-year- capable of crossing the worlds of culture and 10 Corso Como, where a boutique, bookshop,
old offspring, the Triennale Bovisa (a 2,000- business. She gives a pitying view of both cities: café, restaurant and photo gallery are housed in
square-metre site for the display of “few experiments among artists’ collectives, with an extremely chic building.
contemporary art which is not – yet – the site of virtually nothing proposed by the current
experimentation it could be, by virtue of its generation on what has already happened. The For art purists, it takes little more than an hour
relative youth and location in the northwest really worrying thing is the largely conservative on a high-speed train to get to Turin, where
university area of the city); the Oberdan space, attitude of young Italian artists in general.” Milan there’s a whole different atmosphere, where
run by the Province of Milan (where, in all has virtually no collectives, apart from Start, a even the Christmas lights are done by artists of
honesty, the shows are greatly hampered by the collegial effort among Milanese galleries, which Gilberto Zorio’s or Rebecca Horn’s calibre, and
venue’s inadequate space); the historic is a good thing if not enough in itself. the city’s art fair, Artissima, lines up international,
commercial galleries, which opened between trendy galleries and prestigious curators such as
the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the What really shines in the city are the fruits of Daniel Birnbaum, who will return to the city in
1990s, such as De Cardenas and Guenzani. private efforts and individuals, as Fondazione 2009 to curate the second edition of the Torino
There are other more recent, decidedly market- Prada and Fondazione Nicola Trussardi, Hangar Triennale Tremusei. Jealous types say that all
oriented galleries, such as Marella and its new Bicocca (subsidised by Pirelli) and the Assab this splendour derives from funds allocated to
exhibition space designed by Claudio Silvestrin. One space (owned by Elena Quarestani) the 2006 Winter Olympics. Nothing could be
artreview 94
Pilgrimage_Milan/Turin.indd 94 9/1/08 17:21:29
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