New York New York: Rediscovering America, in Milan

Samantha Janazzo (April 19, 2017)
"New York New York: rediscovering America," an exciting new exhibition in Milan's Museo del Novecento and the Gallerie d'Italia in the Palazzo di Scala, encompassing a variety of Italian masterpieces and their personal depiction of modern New York City and the United States.

New York City is more than just the largest city on the east coast, it is a symbol for all things American: from food, to tourism, to art, and more. That is why everyone feels a pull to visit the Big Apple at least once in their life. Milan further proves this with a 150 piece exhibition, comprised of works by Italian artists only, that winds through the Museo del Novecento and the Gallerie d'Italia in the Piazza Scala titled “New York New York: rediscovering America.” It is open to the public through September 17 in partnership with the Electa Publishing House.

“New York New York. Italian Art: rediscovering America” is curated by Francesco Tedeschi, Francesca Pola, and Federica Boragina. Its mission is to captivate the story of the Italian depiction of the free world from the perspective of modern Italian artists who have lived in, traveled through, or simply imagined how the United States physically is or would be in the world- with a particular emphasis on New York City.

An incredible diverse selection of artists with innumerable mediums, styles, and techniques fill the galleries with an expansive variation of New York related interpretations. “Rediscovering America” means to discover its mythology and depict it tangibly through art; this is what the curators are exposing through the perspective of the Italian inhabitants and dreamers alike.  

The greater part of the exhibition is found in the Museo del Novecento. Fortunato Depero’s 1930 New York depiction is acting as the exhibition’s cover photo: the futurist’s geometric colorful style shows an illuminated NYC exploding from its black background as if each skyscraper is made out of fireworks lighting the city so brightly it creates physical instability. From Afro Basaldella's fragmented geography printing, the patriotic and deeply symbolic red, white, and blue Paolo Baratella works, the deeply carved multi dimensional sculptures of Pietro Consagra, and so much more, NYC and the United States shines in many different lights in Milan’s galleries.

Ugo Mulas receives individual recognition of his memorable project "New York: Art and People," which he completed between 1964 and 1967 in New York City Studios in correspondence with artists such as Barnett Newman, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, and Tom Wesselmann. An extremely powerful message ties together the mission of branching Italian artists with the United States.

The Gallerie D’Italia displays Umberto Boccioni and his avant-garde use of space when describing NYC; Giacomo Balla’s attention to light and dark detail to create incredible organic shapes and sizes; Carlo Carra infusion of words and images in his very own creative voice; and the work of Giorgio Morandi, who has left his trademark on NYC and is known for his use of clarity and purity of his pictorial language. In 1949 in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC, each of the aforementioned artists belonged to an exhibition called “XX Century Italian Art.” The rest of the exhibition is made up of works from the 1950s and 1960s to encapsulate modernity.

In a sense, the Museo del Novecento is a representation of the works of the creative teachers, while Milano Gallerie D'Italia in the Piazza Scala creates a premise for an entirely different set of Italian protagonists. The Italian perception of the World War I and World War II in America is a powerful message that resonates a commonality through many of the pieces, including images of skyscrapers and national colors, especially when it's depicted by Italians.

Milanese publishing house Electa is proud to promote the event for their own mission, ingrained in promoting modern and contemporary arts through their catalogues, books, art guides, and magazines. Italy is a powerhouse for the arts from publishing to the music to the years of history covered in their world-renowned museums. It is an honor to have an Italian art display dedicated to New York City.