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Peggy Guggenheim Museum offers visitors fresh perceptions of the museum's collection
Pablo Picasso, Pipe, Glass, Bottle of Vieux Marc (det), Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice © Succession Picasso, by SIAE 2011/Vincenzo Agnetti, When I saw you, you were not there (det). Private collection.
VENICE.- From October 15 2011 to January 1 2012, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection presents Themes&Variations. First conceived in 2002 by Luca Massimo Barbero, this is the third edition of an innovative but now proven exhibition formula that offers visitors fresh perceptions of the museum’s collections, whether known or less known, by means of a dialogue with works by more contemporary artists from other collections, thus opening up new, multiple possible interpretations. Works from the early 20th c. avant-garde connect thematically in a confrontation and comparison with post war and contemporary works, tracing the evolution of forms of visual expression as they change with time. Each gallery narrates its own story, its own theme, a curiosity or a variation, sometimes self-evident and sometimes purposefully obscured by the artist.

Beginning with Modernist works from early last century so strongly characteristic of Peggy Guggenheim’s collection and that of Gianni Mattioli, such as Cubism and Futurism, Themes&Variations. Script and Space, looks at the use of script: as language, as sign, through the medium of paint and other materials, signs suggestive of images, or script that approaches typography. Forging a chronological bridge to the past, the first room connects the energy and onomatopoeia of the printed words of Pablo Picasso and of the Italian Futurist Carlo Carrà to the more contemporary script of Lawrence Weiner or the mysterious panels of Vincenzo Agnetti. Other thematic rooms follow, in which Piet Mondrian’s inflexible geometries are offset by Gianni Colombo’s flexible, ironic and elastic spaces and by the self-contained spaces of Mario Nigro. Uniformly patterned works, with a density to the point of congestion by Rudolf Stingel, contrast with Jackson Pollock’s allover calligraphy. Writing-as-sign in Bice Lazzari compares with the cryptic vocabulary of marks in Dadamaino and Riccardo de Marchi. Then again, in a gallery dedicated to nature, a roaring lion by Mirko contradicts the complacency of a chimpanzee by Francis Bacon.

With Peggy Guggenheim’s Celestial Bodies by Rufino Tamayo, the exhibition engages the notion of cosmic space, understood as a multiplicity of perspectives, in which the woven textures of François Morellet involve and enchant the spectator’s eye in readiness for the shadowy figurations of Arthur Duff’s ropes and knots and the enigma of space in Lucio Fontana.

The exhibition includes works by Vincenzo Agnetti, Anni Albers, Josef Albers, Rodolfo Aricò, John Armleder, Francis Bacon, Cristiano Bianchin, Carlo Carrà, Enrico Castellani, Carlo Ciussi, Gianni Colombo, William Congdon, Joseph Cornell, Dadamaino, Gino De Dominicis, Riccardo De Marchi, Arthur Duff, Max Ernst, Flavio Favelli, Lucio Fontana, Henry Krokatsis, Bice Lazzari, Sol LeWitt, Mirko, Piet Mondrian, François Morellet, Hidetoshi Nagasawa, Maurizio Nannucci, Mario Nigro, Kenneth Noland, Gastone Novelli, Luigi Ontani, Roman Opalka, Pablo Picasso, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Jackson Pollock, Mario Sironi, Rudolf Stingel, Rufino Tamayo, Theo van Doesburg, Georges Vantongerloo, Lawrence Weiner.

The theme of script and matière, in its widest sense, is also key to Gastone Novelli and Venice (curated by Luca Massimo Barbero in partnership with the Archivio Gastone Novelli, Rome), with which Themes&Variations closes. A major figure in Italian art in the 1950s and 60s, Novelli in recent years has begun to assume a position in the forefront of international contemporary art of his time. For Themes&Variations, his poetical inscriptions on outsize canvases, in which marks, colors, and words are suspended in a delicate balance, have been selected to explore his relation to Venice. Together with rare sketchbooks of the 1960s which depict Venice—an enduring source of inspiration for him—there are canvases painted between 1964 and 1968, few of them ever exhibited prior to this exhibition, in which Venice may be either his subject or the place of his studio. 1968 was a critical year for Novelli—he was at the center of the polemics and the protests against the Biennale that year, where he turned the paintings in his one-man show to the wall, thus linking himself and his work to a now legendary episode in the student riots of that year.

Peggy Guggenheim Museum | Luca Massimo Barbero |


Last Week News

October 15, 2011

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October 14, 2011

Sotheby's Contemporary Art and 20th Century Italian Art Sales Achieve Multiple Records

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"Expressionismus & Expressionismi" exhibition opens at Pinacotheque de Paris

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Tate acquires new works by emerging and leading international artists at Frieze Art Fair

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The Speed Art Museum presents exhibition by Willie Doherty: Traces

First major UK exhibition of Polish artist Wilhelm Sasnal at the Whitechapel Gallery

Bonhams winter sale of fine Native American art to feature one of the earliest known Cheyenne quilled shirts

Miami Art Museum presents US debut of Schneebett by Enrique Martinez Celaya

October 13, 2011

Hundreds of collectors descend on London for the annual contemporary art frenzy

Christie's to sell property from the collection of Hollywood legends Lew and Edie Wasserman

Marc Chagall and the Russian Avant-Garde opens at the Art Gallery of Ontario

First exhibition on Pietro Perugino, Raphael's Master at Bayerische Staatsgemaldesammlungen

Actor Richard Gere's guitar collection fetches $1 million at Christie's in New York City

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One of the most influential contemporary art fairs, ArtPalmBeach celebrates 15th anniversary

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October 12, 2011

Dresden's Museum of Military History redesigned by Architect Daniel Libeskind

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October 11, 2011

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October 10, 2011

Christie's shows off star New York Lots in newly renovated show rooms in central London

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