Published Tuesday, November 23, 2010
November is the month of art. What wind is blowing in Turin?
Well there's been a lot of effort, a lot of energy lavished by so many people. The city is confirmed to act as a laboratory.It has been years that I haven’t so many fresh proposals.
Have you overcome your position calling the "bluff" of contemporary Turin and denunciation of ten years of failures in the city's cultural administration?
Of course not! I still find it outrageous that the Gam, which is called Galleria Civica di Arte Moderna, does not even have a room dedicated to Turin-based artists. The basic problem being that they wanted to give to the city the look of a huge showcase where a lot of attention is given to big names, leaving the emerging artists aside. There's more to it: Turin, unlike cities such as Rotterdam, Antwerp, Basel, Valencia, which have the same size, did not find anything specific to bring forward.
As President of the Circolo dei Lettori-The Readers Society, today you are presenting the new book by Bonami and on the 29th the one by Sgarbi. You are in good terms with Sgarbi; in the preface of your Which art are you from? you mention the praise with which the new curator of the Italian Pavilion has appointed you "the best Italian curator." Bonami, instead, has never been very nice to you, whereas you have always had a good conception of him: do you see sparks flying ahead? In reply to the compliments of Vittorio I must say that nobody knows public speaking as he does, with such depth of content. With Bonami we have fought several times, it's true, but he is nice and in his new book, From Parthenon to Panettone, I seem to sense a genetic mutation.
A mutation arising from his start from ancient art in order to get to present times? Yes, he seems to use historiography in order to read present times, instead of doing his same old process: using the present times in order to make a new reading of himself. But I wouldn't want to provide him with smart keys to the reading. What remains still is the impression of a positive change of course. It started with the book Italics, when Bonami began to look back and stopped thinking that we need only to be alive in order to be contemporary.
Would have you expected from Sgarbi a book on contemporary art instead of the usual book about beauties of Italy of the past?
Of course not, Sgarbi only makes incursions in the contemporary.
They may be just incursions, but these were enough to lead him to curate the Italian Pavilion. What do you expect from your successor? I expect an exhibition that reflects his personality and his character's freedom of mind; surely everybody already speaks and talks a lot about it. The idea of involving dozens of curators coming from various disciplines is a great one, not only in terms of vivacity and new perspectives that these can bring along, moreover because the role of criticism at the Pavilion will automatically go towards characters such as Umberto Eco, Eugenio Scalfari, Umberto Veronesi, Giovanni Sartori, Furio Colombo, Ferzan Ozpetek; Sgarbi has called all of them up to be working with him.
The year 2011 will also be the 150th anniversary of Italian unity. What is your idea on poor art exhibitions curated by Celant?
As Manganelli said once, "I've read it and I don't like it". However, I have said and written much on this theme and can only add that the very reason that this current is used to celebrate the national unity says much about the left wing culture, still closed in shackles of 1968: it becomes increasingly a symbol of elitist power, hypocritical and boring.
About the link between culture and politics, have you not perhaps been appointed curator of the Italian Pavilion first and then President of the Circolo dei Lettori- The Readers Society next thanks to the same mechanisms that you so strongly criticize?
Sure, my appointment to the Circolo dei Lettori-The Readers Society is the effect of pure spoils system. The fact is that we are astounded only when the centre-right wing uses it, instead when it is la left wing exponent to do it then everyone seems to think it normal. Many people say that it I have been well recommended while nobody is critical about Rivoli, which is an institution that spends a great deal of money and whose directors were not able to cope better than to open the new cycle of exhibitions with a collective date into the hands of an external receiver, or the Gam which makes two exhibitions a year. With 60,000 Euros I organized an exhibition that will open on the 3rd of February and that will bring in the spaces of the Museum of Natural Sciences 15 years of art in Turin.
I guess there will be Galliano, Pusole, Bolla ... who then are also three of the five artists involved in the project 5 x 5 = 75 promoted by regional assessor for culture Michele Coppola. Do you fear the potential critic: "Behold, Beatrice always calls in the same people"? Gioni is one that always works with the same people. I work with a bunch of folks, so much so that I don't remember all of them, those that I believe more valid I keep working with over time. The only criticism that I can accept, is that I am someone who is too ecumenical, in fact I work with people that have different degrees of experience. Anyway the important thing, after all, isn't working with everybody, but understanding the degrees of importance to be given to things.
What about Angela Tremonti? Look, she is a nice person, though certainly not a brilliant artist, she still has something to say. If instead of that surname, she was called, say, Berlinguer, no one would have had anything to say on the subject. Please do write that for the critical text I got 4 thousand Euros plus VAT.
I beg your pardon, is it worth working with all those who ask you to? Wouldn’t you rather play hard to get? Not at all, I am a phenomenologist who is interested in everything. I am a national-popular critic who worships the spirit of Paratissima because is not the usual vertical thing started by elites and reaching few people, but instead it gives a shock to the cultural world starting from the bottom and involving everyone.
written by stefano riba
November the 23rd 2010, 6 pm
From Parthenon to panettone. Unexpected meetings in Art History (Electa)
by and with Francesco Bonami, featuring Luca Beatrice
November the 29th, 2010, 9 pm
Sentimental Italy Travel Wishlist (Bompiani)
by and with Vittorio Sgarbi, interviene Luca Beatrice
Circolo dei Lettori - Palazzo Graneri della Roccia
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