In Memoriam: Annamaria Zanella   November 10, 2022

It is with profound sorrow that we say goodbye to an extraordinary friend and innovative jewelry maker, Annamaria Zanella. An incredible friend, wife, and artist, she will be remembered for redefining the language of jewelry, introducing completely new figurations, materials, and colors through her use of both traditional and “poor” materials. Born in Padua, the center of contemporary gold jewelry in Italy, Annamaria won numerous prestigious awards for her ‘povera’ jewelry, showing it in countless international solo and group exhibitions.

Annamaria faced her long struggle with her illness with courage, determination and equanimity, continuing to create poetry and beauty with her hands throughout her life. Her compassion for humanity was limitless and she expressed it through her work.

She was a dear Italian “sorella” to Co-founder Nancy Olnick, who describes Annamaria as “a true hero in every sense of the word.”

La Triennale di Milano at Magazzino Italian Art |   May 1, 2018

Co-founders Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu were honored to introduce the Magazzino collection to a group from La Triennale di Milano on April 30, 2018. The day started with espresso and biscotti, continued with a tour of the galleries led by Olnick, Spanu, and Director Vittorio Calabrese, and concluded with a group photoshoot with Marco Anelli. This visit has fostered Olnick and Spanu’s constant vision and mission to support and collaborate with others who strive to advance Italian contemporary art.

Acclaimed Spanish architect Alberto Campo Baeza wins the 2018 Piranesi Lifetime Achievement Award |   March 6, 2018

La Accademia Adrianea di Architettura di Roma presented Spanish architect Alberto Campo Baeza with the 2018 Piranesi Prix de Rome Career Achievement Award on March 2.

Alberto Campo Baeza. Photograph by Manuel Yllera.

In this case, the Piranesi prize for Lifetime Achievement references qualities of an architect’s work and his approach to high classical culture.

“Architecture has been, is, and will be the result of combining reason and intuition. Or as Vitrubio demanded, comply with the Utilitas and the Firmitas and the Venustas. In any case, look for Beauty boldly,” stated architect Alberto Campo Baeza.

“I believe that this bold search for Beauty is what comes to recognize this Piranesi Award,” Campo Baeza underlined about this accolade, whose award ceremony will take place on March 16 in Rome on the occasion of the Accademia Adrianea’s Academic Course opening. The evening will be attended by Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu, founders of Olnick Spanu, and Miguel Quismondo, architect of Magazzino Italian Art, who collaborated with Alberto Campo Baeza on the Olnick Spanu House.

Always fascinated with architecture, Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu commissioned Campo Baeza in 2003 to create “Casa Mia,” the Olnick Spanu House in Garrison, NY. Reflective of both the couple and their love of art, the glass house stands as Baeza’s first project in the U.S. and reflects a balance between modernism and classicism in dialogue with the scenery and light of the Hudson Valley.


“Franco Angeli-gli anni ’60” monograph delves into the artist’s creative journey |   January 6, 2018

Franco Angeli-gli anni ’60 comprises the latest comprehensive monograph on the Italian artist, one of the most prominent figures of the country’s artistic scene following the Second World War. Curated by Luca Massimo Barbero, with texts by Laura Cherubini and published by Marsilio publishing house, it focuses on the beginning of Angeli’s artistic journey as seen through the correspondence he held with friends and associates.

Contemporary Art Historian and Critic Ilaria Bernardi reviewed the publication in the Italian newspaper Il Manifesto, noting that “it is able to reconstruct Angeli’s path with accuracy, intelligence, and sensitivity.” Read the full summary below.

Franco Angeli, Souvenir, Olnick Spanu Collection
Franco Angeli, ‘Souvenir,’ 1976-1977. Courtesy of the Olnick Spanu Collection.

Ilaria Bernardi, Art in Rome in the 1960s. Angeli. From the Nylon Bandage to the Archive, Do Not Forget, in “Alias Domenica-il manifesto”, December 20, 2017, VII, no. 49, p. 11.

So far, we were lacking a real monograph on Franco Angeli.

Barbero e Cherubini have just realized a very good one, dedicated to Angeli’s first decade. Between memory and matter.

“Giovane scuola di Roma” [Young School of Rome], “Figurazione novissima” [Newest Figurations], “Scuola di Piazza del Popolo” [School of Piazza del Popolo, that is of an important Roman square] are some of the names attributed to the Roman artistic research of the 1960s that was linked to La Tartaruga, the gallery founded by Plinio De Martiis in 1954 on Via del Babuino and moved to Piazza del Popolo in 1963. Franco Angeli, Mario Ceroli, Tano Festa, Giosetta Fioroni, Renato Mambor, Mario Schifano, Cesare Tacchi are the main leading figures of this “School”: they are united by the will to overcome the Ego’s informal expression in painting in order to represent the external reality through its objectification. They have been often considered as being similar to the American Pop Artists, but they are rather different above all when it comes to the strong manual and not mechanical intervention on the canvas, and the choice of working on cultural stereotypes rather than on commercial objects.

The Opportunity: an Exhibition in London

Compared to the U.S. Pop Art, Franco Angeli (Rome, 1935-1988) is the prime example of the Roman School’s originality in the 1960s. For this reason, the Ronchini Gallery (London) has celebrated his works with an exhibition, from October 4 to November 18, 2017, 30 years after his death. The exhibition included a lot of works created by the artist in the 1960s on loan from some major European collections. It gave the opportunity to delve deeper into Angeli’s production of that decade also through the publication of a monograph curated by Luca Massimo Barbero, with texts by the curator and Laura Cherubini, and published by Marsilio (pages 272, € 45,00).

This is the first comprehensive monograph on this subject. In its three sections—critical texts, works, notes—it is able to reconstruct Angeli’s artistic path, from his beginnings until 1969, with accuracy, intelligence, and sensitivity. In particular, the two critical texts introduce us to his oeuvre, bringing to light, on one hand, the technical, iconographic and conceptual development (in the text by Barbero), and on the other, the important link with the historical-artistic context of that time (in the text by Cherubini).

Barbero focuses his attention on the significant works and on the meaning attributed by the artist to the materials used, often connected to his life experiences. The suffering due to his mother’s premature death and the trauma of being present at the bombing of San Lorenzo’s Roman district, for example, urge Angeli to use the color red, as a metaphor of blood, when he began painting in 1957, but also it prompts him to use the bandage, evoking the wounded’s bandage, in the following year. Instead, the breathing of the “air” of Rome, a city which is intrinsically linked to the material (we can think of Sacchi [Sacks] by Alberto Burri or Rilievi [Reliefs] by Ettore Colla), induces Angeli to adopt these materials transforming them into a pulsating and stratified image, into a gaze involved in the human condition (Ferita [Wound, 1958]).

Compared to these beginnings, Barbero underlines the turning points. Already in 1958, Angeli approached the reflections on monochrome, developed in Milan, through a painting made of shaded and deep grey colours. Therefore, he renders this reflection very personal thanks to an evocative use of the material (Disumano [Inhuman, 1959]): hence the metaphorical meaning of the nylon socks that are ripped, pulled on the canvas, and alluding to the lacerations lived during the Second War World (Immagini negative [Negative Images], 1959).

Instead, between the first solo show in 1960 at the La Salita Gallery in Rome and his attendance at the Venice Biennale in 1964, Angeli’s attention on the current socio-political situation is clearer and stemming also from his proximity to the Communist Faction: on canvas the bandage, the nylon socks and the “velatino” filter (that is a special fabric, strongly rubberized, which is used for models or in restoration) remove and exorcise allusive images to the international political context (Algeria, 1961) and to the governments based on abuse and evoked in painting through the rhetorical symbols of the She-wolf (Lupa di Roma, [She-wolf of Rome, 1962-63]), of the swastika (Killer, 1962), of the fascist wing (La Bestia [the Beast, 1963]), of the American dollar and eagle (Quarter Dollar, 1964).

Franco Angeli, ‘Half Dollar,’ 1968. Courtesy of the Olnick Spanu Collection.

A further significant moment, as Barbero underlines, is 1967-68, when Angeli’s painting, which has, by now become even more politically involved and ideologically oriented, comes to reproduce images concerning the news, from the Post-War parades to the student protests (Università americana [American University], 1967), through an illustrative technique.

The end of the Sixties corresponds to Angeli’s retreat into the intimate dimension evoked in La stanza delle ideologie [Rooms of the Ideologies, 1969]. During this decade, the Roman context is important as much as the works by the artist because he is strongly linked with the city’s background and mood. Laura Cherubini focuses on this link in her text published in the catalogue. After underlining the ancient and prophetic connection between Angeli and Piazza del Popolo (when he had no home he sometimes slept within the dolphin’s mouth of the side fountains of the square), Cherubini recalls Angeli’s relationships and collaborations with intellectuals and artists present in Rome at that time. In 1960 he proposes a group show together with Lo Savio, Schifano, Uncini, Festa to the gallerist of La Tartaruga (instead, the show will be held in La Salita in the same year); in 1961 he allows to sign his La Scarpa destra [The Right Shoe] by Manzoni; in 1966 he realizes with Jack Kerouac Deposizione [Deposition], while in 1968 he dedicates Nove oggetti della memoria [Nine Memory’s Objects] to friends, to artists, to his brother Otello and to other street friends. These relationships are possible thanks to a shared life lived around Piazza del Popolo, between La Tartaruga Gallery and Caffè Rosati. Laura Cherubini explains very well the importance of being together, as well as thoroughly outlining the portrait of Plinio De Martiis, that is La Tartaruga’s owner and the School of Piazza del Popolo’s mentor. Moreover, she analyses Angeli’s relationship with the research on monochrome, with galleries and critics of his time.

The Reverse of the Canvas, a “Diary”

The effect of the Roman context in Angeli’s oeuvre is confirmed by the second section of the monograph. Besides documenting his paintings from 1957 to 1969 and the photographs about that period, this second section includes illustrations of works by other artists and of books’ covers that are very important for the artist’s production. Moreover, some reverse sides of his paintings are published to prove “the artist’s conception of the reverse of the canvas as a sort of diary concerning an image that is hidden or only partially revealed on the front of the canvas,” Barbero writes. The publications of some photographs used by the artist as iconographic sources are likewise interesting: thanks to them we can discover, for example, that Berlino [Berlin, 1968] is taken from the photo by Evgenij Chaldej, where we can identify the red flag on the Reichsatg on May 2, 1945.

In the monograph, this corpus of images is followed by the notes by Chiara Mari, where, in addition to the biography by Sibilla Panerai, to the list of exhibitions, to the bibliography and to the filmography, there is an anthology of critical texts, interviews and writings by the artist. Among these writings, Atto di fede [Faith’s Act, 1984] is very important: it is based on the repetition of the warning “Non dimenticare” [Do not forget] against the contemporary consumer society.

“Do not forget” is also the aim of the artist’s archive. Indeed, his archive keeps the materials on the artist’s oeuvre and encourages its knowledge. Founded in Rome in October 2009 by Maria, Angeli’s daughter, the archive was essential for the realization of the monograph curated by Barbero.

For this reason, these types of publishing projects offer the opportunity to reflect on the importance of investing energy, funds and attention on the artists’ archives so that they can be open to the consultation of the researchers and they can provide for conservation, archiving, release of certificates of authenticity, general cataloguing, promotion of exhibitions and publications. By the way, these activities, based on internationally shared criteria, can also facilitate the growth of the market value of the works by an artist, that today represents an increasingly relevant element about contemporary art. Therefore, the conservation of archival materials is above all the fundamental practice in order to not erase what Jacques Derrida called “the absolute impatience of the memory” (Mal d’archive, Une impression freudienne, Galilée, Paris 1995), or, as Franco Angeli would have said, in order to “not forget.”

Gilberto Zorio welcomes Magazzino founders to his exhibition at Castello di Rivoli |   December 6, 2017

Seminal Arte Povera artist Gilberto Zorio, part of Magazzino Italian Art’s ongoing exhibition, greeted the art space’s co-founders Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu on December 6, 2017 at Castello di Rivoli in Turin, currently showcasing the artist’s latest show.

Gilberto Zorio and Giorgio Spanu at the entrance of the artist’s exhibition currently on view at Castello di Rivoli.
Installation view of “Gilberto Zorio” at Castello di Rivoli with Nancy Olnick, Giorgio Spanu, and Gilberto Zorio.

Simply titled “Gilberto Zorio,” this display presents works spanning over 50 years in the artist’s career, including never-before-seen installations that had been guarded in Zorio’s private collection. Curated in non-chronological order, the show aims at highlighting some of the pivotal creeds throughout his works, including alchemy, time energy, and matter—as well as leaning into the dimensions of sounds, air, and space. On view are also group drawings from unrealized projects, along with new site-specific installations created for Castello di Rivoli, which will feature the show until February 18, 2018.

Italian Minister of Culture Dario Franceschini visits Magazzino-sponsored exhibition at the Italian Cultural Institute |   October 19, 2017

Magazzino Director Vittorio Calabrese and Italian artist Marco Anelli welcomed the Italian Minister of Culture Dario Franceschini on a personal tour of Anelli’s current exhibition “Marco Anelli: Building Magazzino”, on view through November 2 at the Italian Cultural Institute.

Photo by Alexa Hoyer.

The entourage also included Armando Varricchio, Italian ambassador to the United States; Giorgio Van Straten, director of the Italian Cultural Institute; and Francesco Genuardi, Consul General of Italy in New York.

The Minister is set to give a presentation later this evening at the Consulate General of Italy in New York titled “The Road for Beauty: new opportunities to invest in culture in Italy”, which focuses on the Art Bonus Law passed in Italy in 2014.

Paolo Canevari’s “Souvenir” film selected for 2017 Artecinema Festival |   October 11, 2017

Courtesy of Artecinema © 2017.

Olnick Spanu is pleased to announce the selection of Paolo Canevari’s Souvenir film at this year’s Artecinema International Film Festival. It will be showcased on Saturday, October 21 beginning 6:50 p.m. at the Augusteo Theatre in Naples, Italy.

Directed by Domenico Palma, the film portrays the conception and creation of ‘Souvenir’, Paolo Canevari’s installation commissioned for the 2015 #OlnickSpanuArtProgram as a celebration of its 10th anniversary.

The artist during the construction process of the ‘Souvenir’ artworks.

Born in Rome, Canevari frequently introduces icons of Italian history in his works. Specifically, ‘Souvenir’ pays homage to the she-wolf, the quintessential symbol of the Roman Empire. The work is composed of three sheet-metal silhouettes, taken from three hand-drawn images and printed black.

Through this site-specific work, the artist achieves a connection between Italy and the U.S., placing the Roman she-wolf on the grounds of the striking Hudson Valley.

The final installations in Garrison, NY. Photograph by Marco Anelli © 2017.
Photograph by Marco Anelli © 2017.

Olnick Spanu founders of Magazzino Italian Art in Cold Spring, New York, visited Musei Civici in Cagliari, Sardinia |   August 17, 2017

Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu sign the guest book in the presence of Paola Mura, Director of Cagliari’s Musei Civici, after their visit of the current exhibition “Landscape and identity. Stories of places, women and men. The great Magnum reporters in Sardinia.”

On view at Palazzo di Città, the former Town Hall, from July 21 to November 26, 2017, the exhibition is enriched with a selection of artworks from the main corpus of the permanent collection, which includes artists such as Maria Lai, Foiso Fois, Aligi Sassu, Melkiorre Melis, Constantino Nivola and Pinuccio Sciola, to name a few.

The exhibition, curated by Musei Civici di Cagliari and Ilisso Publishers of Nuoro, with the installation by Paola Mura and Antonello Cuccu, highlights Magnum Photos, one of the most prestigious photo agencies in the world, in a show dedicated to pictures captured in Sardinia by its most famous reporters including: Henri Cartier-Bresson and David Seymour—Magnum founders—Bruno Barbey, Werner Bischof, Leonard Freed, and Ferdinando Scianna.

Comprised of 70 images shot between WWII and the 1960s, the display is part of the Cagliari Paessaggio Festival, an initiative to highlight the dynamic relationship between man and land in the dialogue between landscape, culture, art and history.

In Memory of Claudio Abate (1943-2017) |   August 4, 2017

It is with deep regret that we announce the passing of renowned Italian photographer Claudio Abate on August 3, 2017, in his native city of Rome.

Claudio Abate

A critical figure in the arts scene of 1960s and ’70s Italy, he leaves behind a legacy of numerous photographs that poignantly captured the relationship between lens, artist, and artwork.

In one of the last interviews given by Abate in 2016 for Artribune, he stated:”I do not just look at the work, I look at the artist. Or rather, I look at how the artist looks at the work. I commence from there, then I take a photo. I have always looked at the artist’s point of view: this is my method of work.”

Portrait of Jannis Kounellis, 1989. Photo by Claudio Abate.

The photographer gained immense reputation at an early age, with the subjects of his works including high-profile names such as Mario Mafai, Mario Schifano, Federico Fellini and Carmelo Bene. Perhaps his most widely-known photographs are those of Gino de Dominicis’ 1970 “Lo Zodiaco” show, as well as “Portrait of Jannis Kounellis,” 1989 (pictured).

A service in memorandum will be held in Rome on Monday, August 7, at 10 p.m. at the Church of the Artists in Piazza del Popolo.


Gazzetta di Modena in conversation with Magazzino Italian Art founders on Sauro Bocchi |   August 4, 2017

Gazzetta di Modena’s Stefano Luppi paid homage yesterday to the late Sauro Bocchi, acclaimed gallerist and collector, in an interview with Magazzino Italian Art founders Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu.

Sauro Bocchi.

The feature highlights the fundamental role Bocchi played for Nancy and Giorgio in terms of discovering the 1960s Arte Povera movement. A knowledgeable figure with a keen eye, he ignited the couple’s curiosity for Contemporary Italian art, leading them to research the movement and begin collecting major pieces from the artists associated with it.

Over the years, their professional and personal bond would come to inspire the conceptualization of a new art space fit to house these monumental pieces, whose nature calls for an ample and versatile display environment: Magazzino Italian Art.