“Ytalia: Energia Pensiero Bellezza,” Florence’s new Italian Contemporary art collective to open this summer |   May 2, 2017

The City of Florence—in collaboration with the Uffizi Gallery, Opera di Santa Croce, and Museo Marino Marini—announces “Ytalia: Energia Pensiero Bellezza,” one of the biggest collective Italian Contemporary art displays to date starting June 2 through October 1, 2017.

The event, conceived by world-renowned curator Sergio Risaliti, features key works by members of the 1960s Arte Povera movement including: Mario Merz, Giovanni Anselmo, Jannis Kounnellis, Luciano Fabro, Alighiero Boetti and Giulio Paolini. Collating the transgression of time between then and now, contemporary Olnick Spanu Art Program artists Remo Salvadori, Domenico Bianchi and Marco Bagnoli will expose exclusive, site-specific works for this exhibition.

Giotto's Bell Tower, Florence, Italy.
Florence from the view of Giotto’s Campanile in the city center.

“Ytalia is a great challenge for Florence: we gear up Forte Belvedere for another season of contemporary art with these 12 works by the greatest artists of our time but above all, we interlink eight extraordinary spaces including museums, gardens and places of civil and religious architecture, where the past coincides with the contemporary, for a unique participatory experience for Florentines and visitors alike,” said the City Mayor Dario Nardella.

Major historical landmarks across the city will host these pieces including: Palazzo Vecchio, the Uffizi Galleries, Basilica di Santa Croce, the Boboli Gardens, and Fort Belvedere, amongst others. This is an effort to create dialogue between the Florence of the Renaissance—a time when the city played a dominant role in the arts, patronism, and politics—with that of today; Italy has always been an important player in the international art scene, and the city aims to renew itself as a hub for Contemporary Italian art.

Alighiero Boetti, Mappe, 1983.
Alighiero Boetti, Lasciare il certo per l’incerto e viceversa, 1983.

While the pieces in this new display may not seem to have much in common at first glance, “Ytalia” focuses on finding the scope and connections of each work in relation to time, history and personal stories. The project highlights the evolution of comparisons and dialectical relations between the artists, as well as the common traits, shared values and substantial differences that underline them all. Most importantly, it celebrates the history of Italian art, in which Individualism continues to predominate today in an even greater experimental fashion.

Stefano Arienti discusses his artistic ideology, ‘Antipolvere’ contemporary art exhibitions |   April 25, 2017

In an interview published last Friday by Contemporary art critic and historian Leonardo Regano, Olnick Spanu Art Program artist Stefano Arienti—who created La Biblioteca (Library) for the Garrison house in 2012—discussed his late artistic background, as well as his ideology on rejuvenating the art of the past through mass consumerism products. This is the main theme of his current exhibition aptly titled Antipolvere (Anti-Dust), now on display at the Civic Gallery of Modena, Italy, through July 16, 2017.

La Biblioteca, Stefano Arienti, Olnick Spanu Art Program
La Biblioteca by Stefano Arienti (b. 1961), 2012, Olnick Spanu Art Program. Photo by Marco Anelli © 2016.

Antipolvere is a collective of Arienti’s works created since the middle of the new millennium. Curated by Daniele de Luigi and Serena Goldoni, it showcases the rich juxtaposition between his conceptions of courtly subjects depicted on generic, everyday materials such as photocopies, wrapping paper, comic books and phone directories.

“I’m enraptured by these widespread, everyday consumer products and the idea of recovering their precise characteristics as such in order to see the rapport they have with art and its creation,” Arienti said.

Nancy, Stefano Arienti, Comic book, contemporary art
Nancy by Stefano Arienti (b. 1961), 2012, comic book. Photo by Marco Anelli © 2016.

Due to his late blossoming as an artist, he considers himself to be an autodidact whose techniques and stylings flourished on the job. His pieces tend to collaborate with the audience and space, giving a new meaning to each installation every time they are displayed.

Looking back at the beginnings of the Contemporary art movement, Arienti sees a shift between then and now in the way this type of art is viewed.

“If you ask me what has changed in this rapport today, I can tell you that people didn’t truly know what Contemporary art was a few years ago; this brought a kind of distrust in the interaction that today is less seen. We could say that Contemporary art has almost become a daily presence, a mass phenomenon.”

Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu visit Fondazione Calzolari for studio tour |   April 19, 2017

Fondazione Calzolari invited Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu on a tour of Arte Povera artist Pier Paolo Calzolari’s private studio on April 3, 2017. They were treated to various of the artist’s works and performance pieces, as well as a visit from the artist himself.

Pier Paolo Calzolari, Mangiafuoco, Olnick Spanu, Magazzino, Fondazione Calzolari
From left to right: Karine Marcelle Arneodo, Giorgio Spanu, Pier Paolo Calzolari, Nancy Olnick. Photo by Michele Alberto Sereni courtesy of Archivio Fondazione Calzolari.

“There’s nothing that Giorgio and I love more than being able to visit an artist’s studio and get to know the artist. For us, this is what motivates us beyond anything—what really creates our life—is doing this exploration together and being able to further understand the motivations of the artist,”  Nancy Olnick said.

Pier Paolo Calzolari was one of the first artists the couple were exposed to at the beginning of their exploration of this avant-garde movement. Nancy and Giorgio always admired the juxtaposition between the industrial and natural elements portrayed in many of his pieces. A wide space at Magazzino Italian Art, opening June 28, will be dedicated to the installation of his works.

Pier Paolo Calzolari, Olnick Spanu, Magazzino, Fondazione Calzolari, Mangiafuoco
Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu with Calzolari’s performance piece, ‘Mangiafuoco’ (1979). Photo by Michele Alberto Sereni courtesy of Archivio Fondazione Calzolari.

The biggest performance piece of the tour was the artist’s ‘Mangiafuoco,’ (1979). The couple was also pleasantly surprised by the meticulous research behind ‘L’albero di Giuda,’ as well as an overall realization of the depth and magnitude of each work in real life.

“To see the work behind us in actual performance was nothing you can get from the picture or anywhere else; seeing it here was truly astonishing,” Giorgio Spanu said.


Universidad Politécnica de Madrid Magazzino and Olnick Spanu House tour |   April 6, 2017

Students studying under Spanish architect Alberto Campo Baeza—revered creator of the Olnick Spanu House—toured the house as well as the Magazzino premises in a private tour given by Miguel Quismondo, the project’s own architect, on April 3, 2017.

UPM Students visit Magazzino, courtesy of Magazzino, April 6, 2017
Courtesy of Magazzino Italian Art, New York

The 95 Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) guests were treated to the various Art Program works throughout the Garrison property followed by a luncheon and a detailed tour of the yet-to-be-finished warehouse art space opening in Cold Spring, NY, on June 28, 2017, by appointment only. The tour is part of a 10-day visit in New York City and Boston for the collegiate visitors who are touring the cities in regard to their architectural layouts. They are under the guidance of UPM professors Alejandro Vírseda, Jesús Donaire and José Jaraiz, among others.

Massimo Bartolini’s first solo exhibition in Ireland is currently on view at Lismore Castle Arts through May 27, 2017 |   April 4, 2017

Olnick Spanu Art Program artist Massimo Bartolini‘s first solo exhibition in Ireland is currently on view at Lismore Castle Arts through May 27, 2017.

Responding to the unique gallery space that is St. Carthage Hall, the artist has created a new organ piece specially for the building. The piece takes the form of a ‘well’ with a music box inside – the box plays the first 10 bars of the John Cage work In a Landscape. Related to other organ works by the artist, it functions like a barrel organ which plays automatically. The air blown through the metal pipes first passes through the holes in the music roll, giving rise to variations in tone and length. The air passing through the mechanics also lends the work a strangely human quality, further referencing spiritual connections. The juxtaposition of a minimal, brutalist structure with such an intimate, fragile sound is central to Massimo’s practice.

More information about the exhibition can be found here.

Massimo Bartolini’s work embraces various materials and techniques, from sculpture and performance to photography. His works have included an elevated floor that created the impression of distorted space; an installation in which a device on the heel of a visitor’s shoes altered the light in the exhibition space; and rooms suffused with perfume and the sound of leaking water. These, often sensual, artworks induce in the viewer a meditative state that is still highly experiential, making us reflect on the relativity of what is stable and unchangeable.

Alberto Campo Baeza gives a Lectio Magistralis at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) on the occasion of his appointment as Full Professor at UPM |   April 4, 2017

On March 17, 2017 Alberto Campo Baeza gave a wonderful Lectio Magistralis on the use of intellectual capacities at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid on the occasion of his appointment as Full Professor at the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura at the Universidad Politécnica of Madrid (UPM), where he has been teaching for forty years.

Several renowned academics attended the Lectio Magistralis, including the Rector of the UPM Guillermo Cisneros and the new director of the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura Manuel Blanco.

On this occasion, the Department of Projects of the ETSAM-UPM published a book featuring all the most significant texts written by Professor Campo Baeza.

Watch the Lectio Magistralis of Campo Baeza here:

Universidad Politécnica de Madrid awards honoris causa doctorate to architect Kenneth Frampton |   March 20, 2017

Universidad Politécnica de Madrid awarded honoris causa doctorate to architect Kenneth Frampton, who is also a renowned Professor at the Graduate School of Architecture and Planning – Columbia University, New York.

A strong supporter of Spanish architecture, Kenneth Frampton has been able to exercise “an important and significant influence on many of the best architects of today” claimed in his laudatio Alberto Campo Baeza, Full Professor at the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura at the Universidad Politécnica of Madrid. In his speech, the Dean of the UPM Guillermo Cisneros praised the indefatigable academic and professional activity of Frampton. His trajectory led him to become Ware Professor of Architecture at Columbia GSAPP, where he has taught since 1972. He was trained as an architect at the Architectural Association School of Architecture, London, and has worked as an architect and as an architectural historian and critic. In addition to Columbia, Frampton has taught at a number of leading institutions including the Royal College of Art in London, the ETH in Zurich, the Berlage Institute in Amsterdam, EPFL in Lausanne and the Accademia di Architettura in Mendrisio.

Watch the video of the awarding of the honoris causa doctorate to Kenneth Frampton:

Kenneth Frampton visits Magazzino Italian Art |   March 13, 2017

We have been honored to host Kenneth Frampton, one of the world’s leading architecture historians, his wife and renowned artist Silvia Kolbowski, and the Olnick Spanu Art Program artist Massimo Bartolini in Cold Spring last Sunday and to guide them on a special visit of Magazzino Italian Art.

From left to right: Giorgio Spanu, Nancy Olnick, Silvia Kolbowski, Kenneth Frampton
From left to right: Giorgio Spanu, Nancy Olnick, Massimo Bartolini, Kenneth Frampton

Magazzino announces official opening on June 28, 2017 |   February 28, 2017

Magazzino, the new warehouse art space in the Hudson Valley devoted to Postwar and Contemporary Italian art, will be open to the public by appointment starting June 28, 2017, with an inaugural presentation that will pay homage to Margherita Stein.

Margherita “Christian” Stein at her home-gallery mid 1960’s Piazza San Carlo, Turin, Italy. Artworks by Jannis Kounellis, Luciano Fabro, Michelangelo Pistoletto. Photo by Mario Sarotto


Margherita Stein by Elio Torrieri (b. Italy 1945), 1995, life-size, acrylic on shaped wood

Margherita Stein was the founder of the historic Galleria Christian Stein in Turin, Italy, and one of the pioneers of the Arte Povera movement, and Magazzino’s premiere presentation will continue her legacy in the United States by fostering a renewed dialogue around Postwar Italian art. Based on Stein’s legacy, the inaugural display at Magazzino will showcase over four decades of historic works by artists including Giovanni Anselmo, Alighiero Boetti, Pier Paolo Calzolari, Luciano Fabro, Jannis Kounellis, Mario Merz, Marisa Merz, Giulio Paolini, Giuseppe Penone, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Gilberto Zorio, Marco Bagnoli, Domenico Bianchi and Remo Salvadori.

Located along the Hudson River, in Cold Spring, New York, Magazzino will display works from the Olnick Spanu Collection, with the mission of supporting further recognition and research of Postwar and Contemporary Italian art in the United States.

Read more on the opening announcement of Magazzino on the Art Newspaper, Art News and Artforum:

Magazzino on the Art Newspaper

Magazzino on Artnews

Magazzino on Artforum

Francesco Arena is one of the 5 finalists of the Mario Merz Prize, 2nd edition, art section |   February 28, 2017

Olnick Spanu Art Program artist Francesco Arena is one of the five finalists of the Mario Merz Price, 2nd edition, art section.

The other finalists are Petrit Halilaj, Gili Lavy, Shahryar Nashat and Suha Traboulsi and they were shortlisted by members of the pre-selection judging panel, Marisa Merz (artist), Nicholas Cullinan (Director of the National Portrait Gallery, London) and Claudia Gioia (independent curator).

The five finalists will participate in a group exhibition (March 8 – May 21, 2017) at the Fondazione Merz, Torino (Italy), curated by Beatrice Merz and showcasing the most significant works by each of the finalists.
The public will be able to vote for their favorite artist by visiting the exhibition or logging into the website mariomerzprize.org

More information about the exhibition can be found here.

The International Mario Merz Prize was established with the desire on the one hand of commemorating Mario Merz, and on the other to launch a new project looking to the future of art and which, thanks to a wide international panel of experts, would make it possible to identify and highlight exponents in the field of art and in parallel enable composers to propose an innovative project for contemporary music.