Interview with Tiziana Maggio.

‘Spirit of beauty, where are thou gone? ‘

Tiziana_Maggio Art Consultancy London

In 1816, English poet Percy Shelley asked in his Hymn to Intellectual Beauty: ‘Spirit of beauty, that dost consecrate with thine own hues all thou dost shine upon of human thought or form, where are thou gone? ‘. Shelley came to find the answer in Italy. Now in 2018 I like to think that the answer has arrived in London with Tiziana Maggio and her boutique art consultancy specialised on sourcing art for the real estate sector, for residential and commercial spaces to enrich them with unique character and style. Tiziana is an independent art consultant, curator, writer for art magazines, and art enthusiast. Her passion is founded on her specialised studies in Fine Art and her work experience with the Italian Government. In London, she worked for a number of commercial galleries until she created her art consultancy as she explained to us.

-Tiziana, how and when was the idea for your art consultancy born? 

-Almost 6 years ago I realised there was a gap in the market. Almost everybody in the art industry was focussed on private collectors but no one was servicing the real estate professionals. Developers, real estate agents, interior designers were left to wander on Google images for inspiration, often leaving walls blank and spaces empty. I founded my art consultancy with the idea of bringing original art by talented emerging artists into the new commercial developments, offices and private properties in London. We all agree that having art in work spaces has recognised benefits in terms of productivity, mood and general well being. Yet, art can also enhance the economic value of property, facilitating its rental or sale. In terms of business model, our focus is on leasing original art that we also sell. Leasing is an excellent way for companies to avoid capex and having to commit to a piece that might be not the right fit in the long term.

In fact, many of our clients prefer to ‘rent & rotate’ such that their spaces are refreshed with new art on a regular basis.

-In Italy we are immersed in art on a daily basis, thanks to our rich artistic heritage. Is there a relationship between your agency and this Italian artistic immersion?

-If you grow up in Italy, you are used living, studying and working surrounded by incredible art. For example, my university courses were held in a beautiful XII Century monastery with stunning medieval frescos, whilst in the offices of the Italian government where I worked we were surrounded by XVII Century paintings from the Caravaggio’s school. With this in mind, I believe that with my consultancy I am aiming to bring back that everyday fascination for art, inherited from the Italian background, and enrich working and living spaces. Yet at the same time, it is a counter to Italy’s tendency to focus predominantly on the Old Masters. In fact, with my agency we promote and support talented emerging artists who hopefully will be the Masters of tomorrow.

-Art galleries are increasingly using online platforms to sell their works. Do they risk of becoming commoditize? Do you think that this digitisation is positive?

-According to Deloitte’s 2017 on Art and Finance report, the online art market continues to show resilience and further growth. In fact per the Hiscox ‘Online Art Trade Report 2017’ online art market sales reached an estimated US $3.75 billion in 2016, marking a 15% increase from 2015. This gave the online art market an estimated 8.4% share of the overall art market, up from 7.4% in 2015. Therefore these numbers show that art galleries are facing an unprecedented opportunity to connect with their audience on a global scale with relative ease. For example they can nurture relationships with and sell art to collectors all over the world with sites like Artsy. 

Yet by the same token, online platforms like Artfinder or Saatchi Art are equally giving the same opportunity to artists to sell directly to their followers. So, ironically the very thing that is supporting galleries, could be ultimately detrimental to them as the market disintermediates. At the end, this disruption in the art world echoes what we have seen in many sectors across the arts, including television and music with YouTube and iTunes.

-London has always been considered an international melting-pot. Is this still the case? Where do your artists come from and are you able to attract international clients?

-London has always fascinated and attracted artists and art lovers from all over the world for its wealth of exhibitions and opportunities. Brexit or not, London continues to be the beating heart of the art scene. My artists in fact have very international backgrounds: coming from Korea, Usa or Australia they have moved to London for either its top class colleges like the Royal College of Art and the Central St. Martin, or for the very unique residencies, like the ones at Gasworks Gallery and at the Acme studios, or for the valuable international exposure. I can say the same for our clients, well travelled art connoisseurs who value the idea of offering an international showcase of art in their properties and not least because their tenants or residents are themselves coming from all over the world and they definitely feel at home being surrounded by inspiring and cosmopolitan paintings or sculptures in their working and living spaces.

-Who are the artists that have recently caught your attention?

-In the last year I have been focusing my curatorial research on large scale work. I have been working with internationally acclaimed painter Anca Stefanescu: she brings a huge amount of mastery of digital colour theory and compositional elements from the computer screen to very big canvases, where she finishes up with strokes of oil paint full of energy. London based, she has been featured in numerous galleries and exhibitions from USA to Italy. I love her bright colours and captivating characters, women and animals, that populate her works. Another artist I am currently working with is Mexican-French-American Alicia Paz. Her paintings, collages and standing figures focus on the female form. Inhabiting fantastical and exotic landscapes, Paz’s feminine subjects become fused with organic life creating strange and unsettling visions of tree-women and monster-women. Paz’s work has been the subject of various catalogues and publications and has been reviewed internationally. I am always fascinated by her ethereal scenes where you can spot hidden messages and meanings and forms if you look closer.

Lucia Pulpo

Article published here

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Press time

In conversation with Tiziana Maggio from Maggio Art Consultancy

Our latest interview with, independent art consultant, curator, writer, and art enthusiast, Tiziana Maggio.

1. To start off, tell us a bit about yourself! Where do you come from, and what is your academic background? Where does your interest in art come from?

I am an independent art consultant, curator, writer and enthusiast for the art of all media. My passion for art comes from my family: when I was little we used to tour across Europe during the summer to visit museums, galleries and churches and discuss our impressions together, we had such fiery debates on modern art I remember!

I earned my MA in Art History from the University of Salento and gained a specialisation in Fine Art, Art Networks and Art Management from the University of Bologna.

Prior to moving to the UK, I worked for the Italian Government advising on its medieval assets in Rome and Southern Italy. Since moving to London, I have worked at a number of commercial galleries dealing in antiquities, contemporary and modern art. I am fellow of the Royal Society of Art and I am currently a contributing writer for Look Lateral in addition to writing my own blog. Finally, I am the founder and director of Maggio Art Consultancy, a boutique operation sourcing art for the real estate sector.

2. Where do you think the art market is heading, considering the more and more digitalised approach?

The art market is living an incredible era of change. Firstly, superstar artists such as Jeff Koons or Anish Kapoor are using Instagram to communicate directly with their ever-expanding audiences, creating a freshness and immediacy in the relationship with their followers and buyers. In essence, artists are becoming their own marketing experts, promoting their art with video clips and hashtags or selling art on online platforms such as Saatchi Art, Artsy, RiseArt.

Secondly, the digital art movement has been steadily and increasingly growing in popularity pushing the boundaries of traditional media: Five Stages of Maya Dance by Marina Abramović or the Digital Museum opened in NYC by the incredibly popular Japanese high-tech art collective TeamLab are just few highlights of this cutting-edge media.

Lastly, digitalisation is shaping art finance too with the proliferation of cryptocurrencies, along with fractional ownership models, and galleries and auctions accepting encrypted digital money, such as with Warhol’s 14 Small Electric Chairs offered recently for multiple shareholdings via Blockchain-based technology by the owner art dealer Eleesa Dadiani and the online investment platform Maecenas. In a very near future out of reach art will probably be in all our diversified portfolios, answering to a long waited democratization for collecting fine art.

3. Art galleries are having a tough time everywhere. Why do you think it is happening?

We are experiencing a dichotomy of the market. From one side we have key players such as Pace Gallery, White Cube and Victoria Miro thriving with prominent exhibitions and promoting emerging artists. Alas, the art of these galleries is generally inaccessible to the wide audience of buyers.

Therefore art lovers have to steer their art expectations towards more affordable high street galleries. However these galleries are lead by competitive business models with no much room for nurturing and mentoring upcoming talents as well as first-time buyers: in fact set as commercial operations, they have high targets and profits rankings to beat the pressure of skyrocketing rents in cities such as London and NYC.

Therefore, important sectors of the public, such as millennial collectors, prefer to have wider options and a direct relationship with emerging artists, for example visiting Affordable Art Fairs or just browsing online for a quick transaction hoping to then ‘flip’ the piece shortly after.

4. In your opinion what is one of the biggest hurdles for the contemporary art industry at the moment?

Every day I meet extremely talented young artists, who have studied at the best colleges and are producing art with passion and dedication. However, the system to become noticeable and see their works sold in fairs or at exhibitions is very harsh and sometimes expensive to the point where my artists either cannot produce more works if they don’t sell or have to keep their works stored.

One way to avoid it would be to have institutions such as the Royal College of Art creating a more efficient osmotic environment where artists can meet, dialogue and learn directly from the market players, art consultants and buyers at the early stages of their careers so to be prepared to navigate in a very challenging market. Incubators or hubs for artists should be the models to look for, like what Silicon Valley is offering to young entrepreneurs and startups.

An extremely positive operation in this sense is MTArt Agency, a fast growing agency that mentors and invests in up-and-coming visual artists, accelerating the career of its artists and the value of their works and projects.

5. You work primarily with the real estate sector, having founded an art consultancy specialised in art leasing. How does it work and who are your clients?
Almost 6 years ago I realised there was a gap in the market. Almost everybody was focussed on private collectors advising them on the perfect piece for their living room but nobody was working with the real estate players. Developers, real estate agents, and interior designers were left to wander on Google images for some inspiration, leaving walls blank.

I founded my art consultancy with the idea of bringing original art by talented emerging artists into the new commercial developments and offices in London and private properties. We all agree that having art in the offices has recognised benefits in terms of productivity, mood and general well being. On the other hand, art can really enhance the economic value of the property and facilitate the sometimes strenuous long process of rental or sale.

In terms of model, we offer original art for sale or to rent. Rentals are an excellent way for companies to avoid capex and not commit immediately to a piece that might be not the right fit in a long term.

6. Is there a particular artist or artists you are following actively at the moment?

This year I have been enjoying working with two very talented female artists in particular.

Christina Mitrentse is an international multidisciplinary London-based artist and educator. She is known for constructing poetic ensembles of vintage book-sculpture, drawing, screen-printing, and productions of site-specific installations. Mitrentse confronts the viewers with an array of humorous meditations on materiality, by appropriating books from her collection: popular novels, science, and art books have been defaced, twisted, cut and stuck together, hand sanded and carved, meticulously transformed into organic sculptural series of small-scale plinths and fungi.

Renata Fernandez is a Venezuelan artist who creates charcoal and pencil drawings and paintings full of a subtle melancholy of the impossibility of ever returning to her country. In trying to keep on holding the unattainable, she ends up depicting an otherworldliness, landscapes in a static narrative devoid of human presence. Working with formats and subject-matter to a certain degree of exhaustion, her work transmits an undefined sense that something lurks beneath which is incredibly moving.

The interview is available on Feral Horses Website

Serpentine Pavilion 2018

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Serpentine Pavilion 2018 review

Unveiling a concrete tapestry in a garden..

by Tiziana Maggio

This summer a dark fence is going to stand in the lawn of the Serpentine Gallery in London’s Kensington Gardens. On Tuesday 12th June, the new Serpentine Pavilion 2018 opened to the public giving at a first view very little of itself away, if not just two textured overlapping rectangles. In fact, as soon as I arrived my partner of adventures Roro stated: ‘It looks like a prison’.

However, from a closer look the structure reveals to be formed by undulated roofing tiles stacked together and romantically woven on to steel poles which welcome us in a courtyard-like space with a shallow triangular pool covered by a curved mirrored canopy. Also we realised that the two nested rectangular spaces are wisely placed parallel to the Serpentine Gallery one and the Prime Meridian of Greenwich the other. 

I have to say that after the tree-inspired Pavilion created last year by Diébédo Francis Kéré, this black textured walls are everything but unwelcoming or rough: in fact with a cafe, chairs and light and breeze filtering through the decorative tiles, they will offer for the next four months a relaxing and intimate place to recover from the either rainy or hot city’s buzz and enjoy a calendar filled of art events.

Plus, the distorted images reflected by the ceiling and the water highlight how simple materials like cement can create complex pieces of tapestries. The Mexican architect Frida Escobedo, who was mingling around at the opening, invites us to enjoy the water and a cool splash for our suffering soles in the hopefully warm days of this London’s summer. 

Establishing her practice in 2006, she led several projects in her country, London, California and Lisbon. After Zaha Hadid inaugural Pavillion in 2000, Frida is the second solo woman to be chosen for the Serpentine Gallery’s annual commission. Also, at 38 years old, she is the youngest architect of any of her predecessors achieving the prestigious leading role, becoming the 18th architect selected to design the Pavilion.

‘My design for the Serpentine Pavilion 2018 is a meeting of material and historical inspirations inseparable from the city of London itself and an idea which has been central to our practice from the beginning: the expression of time in architecture through inventive use of everyday materials and simple forms’ stated Escobedo.

Serpentine Director Hans-Ulrich Obrist and CEO Yana Peel explained that Escobedo’s Pavilion is “a beautiful harmony of Mexican and British influences” and an ‘architecture for everyone which promises to be a space of reflection and encounter”. In fact the young architect wanted to reinterpret the permeable “celosia”, a type of breeze wall which is a common element in the Mexican residential properties to get some restorative and cool siesta-times, creating a very precious British reference for us.

Go: the Pavilion is always worth a detour from your running around.

Don’t go: if you prefer your sofa, couch potato!

Published on Look Lateral Magazine

Giorgio di Palma

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A ceramist to watch out for: Interview with Giorgio di Palma, who is pushing ceramic forward

Just one heartfelt advice: remember his name. For his disruptive approach to the ceramic, we could define him the Damien Hirst of this craft, but actually to be more precise, Giorgio is like Damien before getting his god-like attitude and marketing power. In fact from his workshop in a tiny centre in the south of Italy, Giorgio is revolutionising his art.

 

Class 1981, he studied Archeology to then actually started working as IT technician. However, after few years he finally decided to listen to his true passion, the ceramic craft, and follow his call back home in the small town of Grottaglie, which actually is historically well known for its century old ceramic tradition. It is not a coincidence then that since he moved back home in 2010, Giorgio has been producing an incredible collection of ceramic art which are starting to attract interior designers and art collectors’ interests. His artistic statement is all about a personal and ironic approach: ‘I work my own way, without focusing on the technique, and I always avoid giving my objects a real function. I produce ceramic items which are not needed. In an era of excess and wastefulness, my aim is to create objects fallen into disuse, useless, but impossible to leave behind. They will outlive us, because now they are made of terracotta, hence immortal. Through a special time machine called ceramics I enjoy transforming the useless into the eternal and consecrating the moment.’

I have got to know Giorgio primarily via email and it immediately transpires how down to heart and committed this artist is.

Do you have a mentor in your professional and personal life?

In my life I have always been surrounded by people who inspired me, hence I don’t think I have ever had only one mentor. I might sound pretentious but I believe in myself so much that I could call myself the Giorgio di Palma’s mentor. This does not mean that I believe I can do anything I want.

With time I have learnt that in every craft and industry there are experts that could be my teachers and mentors. Hence if I want to make marinated anchovies I will ask for my mother’s instructions and if I want to create a complex ceramic piece, I will ask my father for some advice.

Who is a living artist you admire and you would collect?

My house and studio are full of art made by artists I was lucky enough to meet and get to know closely. I need to know the artist personally in order for me to collect his pieces, in fact behind every piece I have, there is a story to tell. Hence I would say I collect stories, not art.

What can you not stand in the art world?

I have to say I cannot stand the art world as a whole. I never wanted to call myself ‘artist’ and I always avoided the path of art galleries-collectors-price politics. 

Some of my pieces are displayed in museums where a wider audience can see them and enjoy them. However, I usually sell in my studio and in few selected shops: my buyers can be either the kid who needs to buy a gift for his aunt and the person who falls in love with a unique original piece.

What’s your biggest achievement so far in life and career?

Maybe my biggest one has been to came back and make a living in my hometown Grottaglie, in Southern Italy.

Are you interested in Italian politics?

Fundamentally no. I voted just three times in my life and I deeply regretted each time. I believe citizens can’t really decide on complex topics like vaccines, Euro, etc..There are designated people with specific expertise who know what and how to decide on those matters. We should just convince them to do that. Instead on ethical choice, rather economic-political matters, citizens should decide.

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

I see myself ‘escaping’ from Italy often but also having Grottaglie as a base for me to come back.Like his ceramic lollipop and balloons, Giorgio is a straightforward and extremely enjoyable artist who can surprise you with a genuine approach that will definitely further his career in the directions of being internationally collected and unanimously acclaimed.

Photo London 2018

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‘Photo London 2018-savvy’: who and what to look out for this year 

by Tiziana Maggio

Look Lateral reporting from the opening night on the artists and galleries to discover this year.

At its fourth edition, the UK photography event of the year opened with a preview yesterday Thursday and promised to wow its visitors until May 20th at Somerset House in in the heart of London. After a very successful third edition, the fair is in fact coming back this year with more than 100 national and international specialist galleries and publishers from 18 countries and establishing itself as a must for all art and prints hunters and lovers.

Magnum Photos at stand G6 is presenting a selection of prints, from the contemporary to the classic, from Bieke Depoorter, Alex Majoli, Matt Black, to Jim Goldberg, Carolyn Drake and  Mikhael Subotzky. In particular with the last one, well-renowned for being an innovative creator, the visitors can actively be captured by the gigantic images. By just downloading the Avara application on their devices or borrowing an available iPad, they can direct them at the print and an Augmented Reality (AR) will bring the still photo alive, showing what was happening during the shoot.

We recommend getting lost in the Discovery section, curated by art consultant Tristan Lund and hosting 22 emerging galleries and artists in a newly expanded dedicated space. First Chinese gallery in the Discovery, ON/Gallery from Beijing is presenting works by Shen Wei, which have a oneiric allure in their glossy fashion-magazine with a photo-journal’s authenticity. Rubber Factory (New York) is instead bringing an america allure with Pacifico Silano’ works where from few very measured details the viewer is free to guess an untold story of images.

Also this year Photo London is hosting a compelling talk-programme, installations, book signings and two awards, Magnum Photos Graduate Photographers’ Award and the MACK First Book Award. As it happens for the most popular fairs, also this fair is magnetising an increasing number of satellite events all over London: from Peckham 24 to Offprint at the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern, lovers of this medium will be ensured to have a busy weekend.

Before leaving, we stopped for a Japanese sake at the ‘Lip bar’ hosted by Hamiltons Gallery, which we recumbent and not just for the liquor. Replicating Bar Kuro in Shinjuku where the Tokyo’s independent photographer Daido Moriyama, recognised as one of the few living modern masters photographer from Japan, used to go for many years, this intimate special installation allows visitors to enter in a travel capsule where they can get closer to Daido’s oeuvre. It cannot be missed!

Go: to feed your mental database with the most solid reference for prints and to feel part of the always more demanding photography community.

Don’t go: if you don’t like the overwhelming Louvre’s effect.

Published on Look Lateral Magazine

Glasgow International 2018

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Glasgow International 2018, what a fair!     The short post-guide: Glasgow International finishes and this is our take.

by Tiziana Maggio

After almost three very busy weeks, the free GI festival finished yesterday, on a very fortunate combination of the Bank holiday weekend and temperatures reaching a high of 22 degrees. Glaswegians and fair visitors in fact have made the most of this warm weekend visiting and enjoying the festival fully for the last few days.

From artists’ studios through to major museums, several locations across the city were involved, including the Forth and Clyde Canal and Glasgow’s network of subway stations and carriages. The art-hunters started every day touring from the city centre hub of Trongate 103 in the Merchant City where they could grab a coffee and GI map and plan their art walk and even bike tours leading to Tramway, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Kelvin Hall and the Gallery of Modern Art and many other locations.

As the director Parry said ‘I got the Subway this morning and came out at St Enoch and the whole floor of the station was covered in these vinyl artworks. They have transformed the space while not being overpowering. It lets everyone get on with their thing while being very beautiful.’

The performance and works displayed by Yon Afro Collective- YAC (Najma Abukar, Layla Roxanne Hill, Rhea Lewis, Sekai Machache, and Adebusola Debora Ramsay) appeared one of the post-brexit most significant events of this Biennial. Hosted by Govanhill Baths Community Trust and titled (Re)imagining Self and Raising Consciousness of Existence through Alternative Space and (Re)imagined Place, it very effectively pointed the attention on the lives of women of colour in Scotland narrating stories often ignored and and how the Black Other is viewed.

Each YAC artist self founded the event and explored the topic through their media and craft, from paintings, photography to sculpture and text exploring the challenges of women of colour living in different socio-political environments.

Planning already the next fair, the director Parry said he wants to increase access. “Within England, across Europe and internationally, Glasgow is really respected in terms of the artwork on show. And while there are a lot of people who know and love the festival, I think the biggest thing for us to do is to reach and invite as many people as possible to come and discover the amazing work being made here.”

We can definitely say that also this year the festival has again succeeded in drawing a wider attention on the city vibrant artistic production and in positioning the Scottish artistic power-house in the centre of the international art plethora.

Published on Look Lateral Magazine

Glasgow International 2018

 
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Glasgow International 2018: How knew Glasgow could be the city to go for contemporary art too!?

20 Apr 2018 - 7 May 2018

by Tiziana Maggio

The international biennial opened last week its eighth edition and it is already showing an ambitious programme under the direction of Richard Parry: more than 80 events, 45 group shows, 40 solo exhibitions, pop-up performances, talks in conventional venues and unusual locations too. They are popping all across Glasgow, placing the art and the city itself among the most talked-about for the next two weeks internationally. How knew?

In the last ten years actually, the Scottish festival has been featuring hundreds of contemporary visual art by established and emerging Scottish and international artists and site-specific exhibitions, becoming soon a not-to-be-missed event in the international calendar of most art fair connoisseurs. Formerly the curator of the Grundy Art Gallery in Blackpool, Parry in fact says ‘Glasgow has a contemporary art scene to rival that of any city in the world and Glasgow International has played an increasingly significant role since its inception over a decade ago.’

Combining art by more than 260 artists from 33 countries, this year the event is showcasing exhibitions reflecting on critical topics like politics, identity, fatherhood, race, queer feminist photography. It appears like an important sign of the current times, where it is impossible to not reflect topics that have been so drastically redefined and discussed recently. In this Scotland’s hyper art-fair, this is surprisingly made by biblical figures, dragons and elephants!

Highlights will see a major new group exhibition at the Gallery Of Modern Art (GoMA) and solo exhibitions by international artists including Esther Ferrer, Urs Fischer, the group of black female artists from Cape Town iQhiya Collective as well as commissions by two Turner Prize winners, Lubaina Himid with Breaking in, Breaking out, Breaking up, Breaking down in the main hall of the Kelvingrove and Mark Leckey, the ‘artist of the YouTube generation’ with Nobodaddy (after William Blake’s poem). 

In particularly Lecky’s work has been the most much-anticipated and talked about: in the darkness of an empty room at Tramway a morbid figure echoing the pose of Rodin’s Thinker expresses melancholy and solitude. Job, this is its name, seems to be the personification of old sorrows and technologically new inputs coming from surrounding screens and speakers in its body. It is a mystical figures and it is creating an hypnotic space for appreciation.

Alongside the official GI calendar, the buzz is ensured all over the city to visitors, me included, in a quest for other spectacular art and some free teas and whiskey too (!), in fact they will have the opportunity to dive into emerging local art promoted by independent galleries and by the alternative platform Glasgow Why Open House Arts Festival (GYFest).

Published on Look Lateral Magazine

THE EY EXHIBITION: PICASSO 1932 – LOVE, FAME, TRAGEDY London, Tate Modern

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THE EY EXHIBITION: PICASSO 1932 – LOVE, FAME, TRAGEDY London, Tate Modern, 8 March – 9 September 2018

by Tiziana Maggio

Tate Modern recently opened a new exhibition and its curatorial concept immediately caught my curiosity. It is the first ever solo Picasso exhibition at the Tate and the curators are offering a fascinating focus on a specific year in the career of the master: 1932. I decided to pay a visit, along with my friend and artist Christina.

Visitors are afforded a very privileged opportunity to appreciate over 100 paintings, drawings, sculptures, and photographs displayed in a month-by-month journey through Picasso’s ‘year of wonders’. As soon as I enter the first room, I am already ecstatic: 

The Great Depression is about to hit the art market and the Master is in his fifties and at the peak of his success, going around in a chauffeur-driven car and living in grand apartments in Paris with Olga Khokhlova, the Russian ballet dancer and mother of his son.

His talent has reached a new height of sensuality now, mainly inspired by his 17 year old muse and mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter, featured in numerous works, from Nude, Green Leaves and Bust, to Nude in a Black Armchair and The Mirror.

At the end of our viewing, I turn to my friend Christina with my elated smile of fulfilment and an unexpected comment breaks my euphoria: ‘Although prolific, he was a narcissistic, macho, lavish, misogynistic, exploitative, over-idolized , male dominatrix of an artist! Sadly this is what Western art society and art educational system still admire and promote…!!’ 

I was speechless. In only one comment, she opened a vortex of thoughts that I couldn’t suppress for days. I rewinded the whole exhibition in my mind several times and in the end I came to a conclusion. If on one hand this exhibition shows us the magnificent artistic peak reached by Picasso, on the other it opens the archives of his love life. This allows us to put them both under the scrutiny of today’s #MeToo sensitivity and there is nothing better than an exhibition that is able to create debate and open discussions.

Published on Look Lateral Magazine

ART BASEL HONG KONG

 
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ART BASEL HONG KONG 2018: a quick guide

by Tiziana Maggio

On March 29th the sixth edition of Art Basel Hong Kong (ABHK) will open its doors at the Hong Kong Convention Centre and we will be there. Some 250 galleries from 32 countries will feature masterpieces and contemporary artworks, attracting artists, dealers and collectors from all over the world, confirming this city as one of the most attractive art destinations and the third-largest art auction market in the world, after New York and London. The  three-day show will offer to visitors seven sections: Galleries, Discoveries, Insights, Encounters, Kabinett, Magazines, Film. Also, as it happens in Miami and Basel, the main fair will also accompanied by concurrent exhibitions and events, like ASIA ONE and ART FUTURES.

We look forward to seeing some multimillion-dollar works: Levy Gorvy Gallery will display the $35 million Willem de Kooning’s Untitled XII from Paul Allen’s private collection, while Lehmann Maupin will have Gilbert & George’s “Beard Junction” and Jeff Koons will wow visitors as usual with the enormous Bluebird Planter and the Swan at David Zwirner Gallery’s booth.Then, if we will be lucky enough, we could also have the chance to encounter the artists themselves, from Tracy Emin to Jeff Koons who will definitely seduce potential buyers’ attention.

Published on Look Lateral Magazine

Armory Live Theater

 
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CONSOLIDATION AND INNOVATION: THE FUTURE OF THE GALLERY MODEL
MARCH 8, 2018,  Armory Live Theater
Panel Discussion

by Tiziana Maggio


As part of The Armory’s programme of talks, this one hour panel focused on possible new strategies to support the future of mid-level galleries.

Panellists were all US-based, with two New York gallery owners, Marianne Boesky and Wendy Olsoff (both booth-holders at this year’s Show), collector Marguerite Hoffman and two art financiers, Evan C. Beard, from the U.S. Trust for Bank of America, and Andrea Danese, CEO of Athena Art Finance Corporation, lead sponsor of this year's Armory.

The panel started by agreeing on one fundamental point: the traditional gallery business model, firmly rooted in outdated 19th Century strategies, is inherently capital intensive and high risk in its approach. This model leaves many struggling in what is an almost Darwinian fight for survival.   
This is why it is financially unviable for many mid-tier galleries to even join international fairs, let alone the number needed to build and maintain a competitive advantage in the market. 
Instead, it is likely more beneficial to stick to a calendar of in-house exhibitions, where a wider and active local community is engaged in the promotion and acquisition of art.

Another way to boost a gallery’s future may be to create scale by establishing or joining gallery networks. This may lead to less profits per sale, but could allow a wider vision of shared resources, intelligence, cross-promotion agreements and regional partnerships.

Evan Beard, however, was of a different opinion, focussing more on strong capitalisation and effective real estate strategy. In general, he favours a more corporate and institutional gallery model, also emphasising the importance of good succession planning so that galleries may outlive their often charismatic founders well into the future.

That said, Wendy Olsoff expressed concern with this approach. If gallerists and artists lose control of how their art is presented and traded, the art itself could risk becoming a pure financial commodity or  consumer product. These two diametrically opposite opinions are clearly based on different interests and expertise: a ‘go big and corporate’ strategy where the gallery brand comes first (viz. Larry Gagosian), as opposed to a more collaboration and artist-driven model (viz. Marian Goodman).

The panel finished on the subject of cryptocurrencies, with all seeming to agree that these could well become an important form of tender. Beard noted the growth of securitisation as one factor, whilst Olsoff added that the new generation of artist’s interest in crypto might be another. Hoffman finished by confessing that she was herself a crypto investor saying “I don’t want to become a dinosaur”.

Article published on Look Lateral

The Modigliani

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The Modigliani VR: The Ochre Atelier, a personal experience..

By Tiziana Maggio

I have to admit: I’m a bit of an exhibition nerd. When there is a new show in town, I do my research on the artist, on the works displayed, on the curator, on the curator’s statement, on the sponsors, etc.. Yep, I want to be ready to absorb all the knowledge possible from the display and immerse myself in it.

With Modigliani’s exhibition at Tate Modern, I stuck to my routine with all the more passion, given the Italian connection, and my soft spot for the elongated necks of his female portraits. Oh, and then there was also what recently happened with the Modigliani exhibition in Genoa, where police found that 20 of the 21 works displayed were forgeries (no comment). This last event made me think on how sometimes the urge or vanity to curate and organise a blockbuster exhibition can lead to failing results.

So here I am, strolling happily through the beautiful rooms of the Tate, browsing from the sketched Caryatids to the Chinese Terracotta Army-like display of the head sculptures to the reclining nudes on cushions paintings, until I pass by a small room, seemingly empty, but with a long queue and a ‘minimum 30 minutes wait’ sign. It was the The Modigliani VR: The Ochre Atelier room.

Considering my geeky old school approach to exhibitions, I thought ‘No way, I am not going to queue for something artificial and not related to Amedeo!’

However, when I visited the exhibition for the second time, armed with a little more patience and hi-tech curiosity, I queued for the room. After 10 minutes, I was buckled up on a VR headset and immersed in Modigliani’s small Ochre atelier in Paris – his last before passing.

As soon as ‘I was in the studio’, sitting on a virtual chair, I felt the urge to stand up and virtually browse through the paintings I could see, to peek from the window and reach out for the rain. Saying that I was like a little girl in a fantastic gluten-free patisserie is an understatement.

Created by games company Preloaded, the experience is mind-blowingly captivating: with just a look at the virtual indicated objects, the artist’s friends and Tate’s experts will start talking to you, giving immersive insights on his art and life, based on meticulous historical and technical research.

What I have experienced is a full VR immersion into art and history, from humble insights into the artist’s daily life like wine bottles and cans of sardine on the floor to a long lasting testimony of his talent like two of his late works, Jeanne Hébuterne 1919 and Self-Portrait 1919, all in Modigliani’s small and modest space.

When it came to the end, I felt like I had experienced something completely new and empowering, an epiphany almost. This VR experience made me think about the evolution in the exhibition business: from the paper guides, to the audio guide to the VR reality. Also, this technology is definitely answering to the millenials’ needs and lifestyle habits. It’s enriching the traditional exhibition experience moving towards a more holistic gallery offer, where is not just the art to talk about the artists but also his lifestyle and living and working spaces too.

Article published on Look Lateral

The Armory Show

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The Armory Show/ 24th edition (New York, NY, Piers 92&94)

By Tiziana Maggio

This year, a queue of black-and-white spectral silhouetted figures rising on a 25 feet marquee highlights the plight of Syrian immigrants whilst welcoming visitors to the 24th edition of the Armory. This highly topical and site-specific installation by French street artist JR is titled ‘So Close’ and was commissioned by Artsy in partnership with curator Jeffrey Deitch and adds an important socio-political dimension to this year’s show.

Opening to the public this Thursday, March 8th, the show is now helmed by Nicole Berry, replacing former Artnet News editor Benjamin Genocchio who was dismissed following allegations of sexual harassment. The four-day show will offer five curated sections which are set to initiate much debate on the state of the market and art affairs, as well as showcasing some of the most sought-after 20th and 21st Century art ranging from masterpieces to bleeding-edge avant-garde art.

Within the Galleries section, the fair will assemble some 198 galleries from 31 countries, with a stronger gallery presence from Asia this year. The Armory has registered 66 new exhibitors, with the likes of Gagosian, Perroti, Regen Projects and Van Doren Waxter all returning after a long absence, along with new entrants Paragon, Pearl Lam Galleries, Galerija Gregor Podnar, Night Gallery to name but a few. Meantime, the Insights section is focusing exclusively on 20th century artworks whilst Presents is showcasing emerging artists from galleries which are no more than ten years’ old. Then, the Focus section is reflecting on the intertwined relationship between body and the digital world and the last section, Platform, is making space for site specific and large-scale artworks across the Piers 92 & 94. 

All in all, this is a strong return to form for Armory, which promises to be one of the highlights of this year’s art calendar.

Article published on Look Lateral Magazine

Andreas Gursky’s Exhibition at Hayward Gallery

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Andreas Gursky’s Exhibition at Hayward Gallery

By Tiziana Maggio

For an artoholic Londoner like me, there is no better way to start the year than by discovering the opening (or, technically, a re-opening) of a public art gallery. In fact, when I realised that after visiting Modigliani’s exhibition I’d have to wait till April to see a new exhibition at the Tate Modern, I was starting to feel a longing to return to the South Bank. But, the sky answered my prayers and so it happened: the re-birth of the gloriously brutalist Hayward Gallery tucked between The National and The Royal Festival Hall.

And what better way to show-off this spectacular architecture than to hold the first major UK retrospective of the work of acclaimed German photographer Andreas Gursky.  Around 60 photographs, many renowned for their scale that can often exceed three metres in height, stand beautifully in the gallery’s immense rooms. Gursky’s illusory and boundless landscapes, created by clever digital manipulation, appear like tapestries, creating abstract worlds from gigantic ‘99 Cent’ shops  (my dream), to frantic Formula 1 tracks (my nightmare) and artificially abstracted landscapes such as Rhine II (which, just in case you started picturing it in your living room, fetched over £3 million at Christie’s New York in 2011, so becoming the most expensive photograph ever sold).

With Gursky, photography becomes a medium for birds-eye imaginary spaces, where the perspective is not singular but multiple, colours are not natural but enhanced and details are not casual but artificially kept crystalline. In his hands, Photography is not intended to represent reality. Instead, it is a means of heightening it, and perhaps giving the viewer another perspective on everyday life.

Go: because it is not just about size, but so much more

Don’t go: if you believe photography should just be a documentary tool. Ok, we need to sit down and have a chat.

Venice and Liu Bolin

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Venice and Liu Bolin: Disappearing in Venice

By Tiziana Maggio

I was recently in Venice and as soon as I landed and hoped off the water shuttle something struck me. It wasn’t the beautiful symmetry of the Doge Palace’s herringbone walls or the shadowy twin domes of the Basilica of Saint Mary.

It was something more humble: the maxi advertising scaffolding wrap of Santa Maria della Pietà church’s façade. Why, oh why? Well, for multiple reasons.

Every art, architecture and history lover knows that sinking feeling of seeing a beautiful landmark hidden away under a tarpaulin for what seems like interminable restoration. Sometimes, the building becomes like ghost, enveloped in a bland white plastic flapping endlessly in the wind or, worse still, daubed in some dreary ad for some new washing powder or super fast car.

Not so for our Santa Maria ’s wrap I saw. The church, built between 1745 and 1760, sits on the atmospheric promenade along the waterfront few minutes from Saint Mark's Square, and since 2014 it is been undergoing a complex restoration intervention. The church is managed by a private organisation, Instituto della Pieta’, that did not have the means to cover the cost of a needed EUR1.5m restoration. This is where our advertising wrap comes in as the revenue is fully financing the costs. But not only that, they’ve complimented this necessary wrap with the exceptionally beautiful photographic work by Liu Bolin and Annie Liebovitz’s ‘Iceberg’ campaign for Moncler.

The invisible man ‘has disappeared’ for the Italian apparel manufacturer and lifestyle brand in the surrounding glacial nature under Leibovitz’s lenses. The Chinese performer, who since 2005 has been an undetectable human canvas, has created another memorable work of camouflage where his silhouette quietly disappears, becoming part of the Icelandic backdrop.

Of course the wrap in question has a very clear impact on the Venetian river walk, visible from almost everywhere you are on the city’s front, however I believe that we need to be unconventionally practical and accept the best amongst the worst in the name of the restoration’s urgency, in particularly when the temporary maxi advert is sponsoring a long term and needed restoration.

Also, I believe that this last creation circles back to ‘Hiding in the City: Lagoon City of Venice’ (2010) where Liu Bolin blended in Venice’s famous spots like St. Mark Square or Rialto’s bridge to draw the public attention to the precarious state of this unique city.

“Venice is a very beautiful place, near the ocean and the view of it is unique. What’s more is that with the melting of the polar ice caps, there’s a prediction that such a beautiful city will disappear,” Bolin says.

It shows how the ad I encountered in Venice is not just a wrap nor an aesthetically beautiful work of art embodied by the invisible man, it is also a subtly wise reminder for all tourists of Venice, the so called slowly disappearing city, and a needed call for action.

Betwixt at the Hospital Club

 
Photo by the baldwin gallery

Photo by the baldwin gallery

Photo by the baldwin gallery

Photo by the baldwin gallery

Betwixt at the Hospital

by Tiziana Maggio

I was recently invited to a private view of the Baldwin Gallery’s ‘Betwixt’ and once again I was impressed by the bold curatorial choice of the fantastic Hospital Club.

With this very elegant temporary exhibition, photographic works by two Canadians artists, Meryl McMaster and David Ellingsen, are mesmerising the Club’s members as they drink & dine.

The young Canadian Meryl, despite her cute shyness during the Q&A, shows a great maturity of visual challenge. The allure of the colour and motion in her works really steal the limelight. David’s works, whilst promising, suffer rather from the ‘not-another-skull’ feeling, due to the over-exposed Damien Hirst variant that has bewitched diamond lovers and caused art consultant nightmares since 2007.

Go: if you like to be challenged by oneiric images in beautiful spaces and if you want to start using words like ‘betwixt’ and ‘anthropocene’ in your 2018 vocabulary.

Don’t go: if you think that skulls ‘shouldn’t be objectified’ or that ‘photography should primarily document real life’… (Yes, I am quoting you my friend, who ditched me on the day of the private view!)

The EY Exhibition: Impressionists in London, Tate Britain

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The EY Exhibition: Impressionists in London,    Tate Britain, London

by Tiziana Maggio

A very familiar story of talented people who had to flee to Britain to escape war in France

In Brexit times, this exhibition is a very useful reminder of how Britain was perceived by some talented people, threatened in their own countries. Britain was the place to be, to emerge and to be appreciated more than anywhere else in Europe at that time.

Nowadays, can we still say the same?

Without getting too political, this exhibition is an incredible collection of great pieces by DeNittis, Monet, Tissot, Sisley, Derain and Legros.

Go: if you want to have the great confirmation that art has always been with no barriers or borders. 

Don’t go: if you think that history doesn’t teach us much.