From May 29–October 2, 2011 – Peggy Guggenheim Collection – Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
Ileana Sonnabend. An Italian Portrait brings together more than 60 works by almost 50 artists, selected by Antonio Homem (director of the Sonnabend Gallery, New York, and adopted son of Ileana Sonnabend). It will include Andy Warhol’s portrait of Ileana Sonnabend, works on Italian themes by Robert Rauschenberg and Cy Twombly, works by Italians such as Tano Festa, Lucio Fontana, Mimmo Rotella, Schifano and Piero Manzoni, works by American artists inspired by Italian culture (Jim Dine, James Rosenquist, John Baldessari for example), by artists of the Arte Povera movement (Zorio, Anselmo, Calzolari, Jannis Kounnelis, and Merz), by several international photographers (including Bernd and Hilla Becher, Candida Höfer, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Max Becher and Andrea Robbins), and by many others—whether Italian (Giulio Paolini, Luigi Ontani) or not (Bruce Nauman, Anselm Kiefer, Philip Haas, Rona Pondick for example).
Today she is not as well known as her ex-husband Leo Castelli but Ileana Sonnabend (1914-2007) was his equal in being one of the great figures of the art world in the XXth century. A Romanian beauty and heiress of a great industrial dynasty, Ileana Schapira (she took the name of her second husband, Michael Sonnabend) linked her destiny to that of the young executive of the Generali insurance company, when he was on a mission in Bucharest on the eve of World War II. It was in the United States that the two discovered their talents as exceptional art dealers and collectors. The exhibition set up in the sanctuary of another exceptional woman – Peggy Guggenheim – can be looked at like a Who’s Who of the great art currents, from the avant-gardes of the fifties to the most recent ones, from Rauschenberg to Lichtenstein, from the Becher couple to Jeff Koons. But the aim of this exhibition is mainly to illustrate the links Ileana Sonnabend had with Italy, embodied not only in the Arte povera (Kounellis, Merz, Pistoletto) but in Fontana’s slashes or Mimmo Rotella’s reassembled collages as well.
Tag: peggy guggenheim collection
From September 4, 2010, to January 9, 2011 – Peggy Guggenheim Collection – Palazzo Venier dei Leoni
The exhibition surveys the art of the American artist Adolph Gottlieb (1903-1974): from his initial paintings of Surrealist influence, to his expressionist and abstract works. The popularity of Gottlieb derives from his invention of a visual language more basic and universal than written language, purged of symbols with historical precedents. His Pictographs are images of what appear to be archaic symbols in irregular grids; his Bursts and Landscapes are symbols of cosmic and universal, as well as uniquely aesthetic value. The show includes sketches, prints and sculptures. The exhibition has been organized in partnership with the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation, New York. It includes loans from the American Contemporary Art Gallery, Munich, various private collections, as well as the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Musée National d’Art Moderne (Centre Pompidou), and the Museum Frieder Burda.
FROM MAY 1 TO JULY 25 2010
PEGGY GUGGENHEIM COLLECTION Palazzo Venier dei Leoni 701 Dorsoduro 30125 VENEZIA
The evolution of utopian ideas in modern Western art analyzed through more than 70 works of art,
Encompassing painting, sculpture, drawing, decorative art, design, photography, and printed matter, the exhibition takes an international sequence of case studies that reveals some of the faces that utopia can assume when embraced by artistic movements—from the brotherhoods of the 19th century to the avant-gardes of the period immediately following World War I. The exhibition includes loans from some of the most important museums in the world, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum, Tate Britain, and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Fostering the ideal of a pure life
The exhibition opens in the late 18th century, when artistic groups with articulated utopian goals sprang up as self-proclaimed brotherhoods, with conscious efforts to fashion model communities. They aspired to live a pure and sometimes monastic life and to remain untouched by outside ills. In instances, this retreat was prompted by religious sentiments in reaction to the increasing secularization of the Christian Church. At times, this withdrawal was also predicated as a return to an untainted harmonious state of being. The French Primitifs (Primitives) looked to the primitivism of archaic Greek and Etruscan art and the Italian Quattrocento (15th-century). The German Nazarenes, such as Friedrich Overbeck and Franz Pforr (The Count of Hapsburg and the Priest, 1809-1810), referenced the Early and High Renaissance and painted religious scenes in an attempt to restore faith through art. The Pre-Raphaelites also quoted the past, announcing their allegiance to the art and philosophy of the time before Raphael, when guilds reigned. Among them, artists such as William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti privileged clear pictorial narratives and an artistic style inspired by the Italian fifteenth century.
A criticism of capitalism
As 19th-century progress marched forth, there was a return to craft in response to increased mechanization and to the dehumanization caused by industrial labor. This return was accompanied by the concomitant recognition that art, architecture, and design could have a role in reformulating how people lived and could serve to ameliorate society. Key proponents of this philosophy were artists connected to the Pre-Raphaelites, William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones (Elaine, 1870). Inspired largely by Ruskin’s theories, Morris was a progenitor of the Arts and Crafts movement, and advocated a system that would follow the model of collective production demonstrated by medieval guilds. In the last quarter of the century, with the momentum gained by left-wing groups, some artistic movements, such as the Neo-Impressionists, developed utopian ambitions with politicized intent, championing workers’ rights and critiquing capitalism in the very content of their art. The Neo-Impressionists saw their optical painting technique, based loosely on scientific tenets, as the vehicle to present scenes of progressive thought, uniting contemporary methods with idealistic narratives.
New aims for the 20th century
Following the advent of abstraction and the graphic horrors of World War I, artists turned toward the notion of truth as embodied in pure, abstract forms, which were equated with harmony. The founders of De Stijl, a small group of Dutch artists and architects led by Theo Van Doesburg (Counter-Composition XIII, 1925–26), believed that the formal properties of architecture, art, and design could foster harmony. The Bauhaus, a state-sponsored school of art, architecture, and design, founded in Weimar, Germany, in 1919, by architect Walter Gropius, assembled leading artists and designers of the avant-garde into a working community that could help reconstruct post-war society through art and design. The Bolshevik Revolution also pursued a utopian vision, centered on restructuring class relations. The avant-garde artists utilized the radical poetics of non-objective art. Malevich and Lissitzky were idealists who believed that form could represent grand, if vaguely expressed visions, while Tatlin, Rodchenko, and others who all called themselves Constructivists were more interested in concrete materials as bearers of value. The exhibition concludes in the early 1930s, when the ascendancy of fascism brought about the close of the Bauhaus in Berlin in 1933 and when Stalinism reframed Russian Constructivist projects. Nonetheless, up to our day, experiments persist, from artists’ colonies to ecologically self-sustaining communities: utopian ideals still matter.