Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Arte Povera is Everywhere (in Chelsea)

Mario Merz, Le case girano intorno a noi o noi giriamo intorno alle case?, 1992, at Gladstone Gallery.

Mario Merz has some huge works up at Gladstone Gallery. Michelangelo Pistoletto just finished his first show at Luhring Augustine. The recent, wonderful ZERO in New York show at Sperone Westwater had pieces by Piero Manzoni and Lucio Fontana, among others. All of the sudden, Arte Povera is everywhere. 

In less than two weeks, Gagosian will open a Manzoni retrospective on 24th Street.  It's tempting to draw the obvious analogies between the movement's original ethos and the current state of the economy, but these shows were, of course, planned well before the dip in the art market.  More to the point, most of the artists' recent work has also simply embraced the market's desire for massive, repetitious work.  Merz's igloos, for one, have become enormous.  For better or worse, there's not an impoverished thing in sight.

That said, even if Pistoletto is just repeating the painted mirrors he's been producing for years, I still think they're wonderful.  I can never resist the opportunity to stare at myself.

Side note: I didn't realize that Manzoni died at twenty-nine (thank you, Gagosian press release)!  A reminder that the art market has been championing the super-young for quite a while. 

Mario Merz, Untitled, 1998

Mario Merz, Fibonacci sequence, 2002, at Gladstone Gallery.

Michelangelo Pistoletto, Lavori in corso (Construction site), 2008, at Luhring Augustine.

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