galleristny in venice

Bad Attitudes: Harald Szeemann’s Landmark Exhibition Was a Scandal in Its Day

Installation view of “When Attitudes Become Form: Bern 1969/Venice 2013” Curated by Germano Celant in dialogue with Thomas Demand and Rem Koolhaas Fondazione Prada, Ca’ Corner della Regina, Venice
1 June – 3 November 2013
Photo: Attilio Maranzano
Courtesy: Fondazione Prada

Harald Szeemann’s mother did not approve of “When Attitudes Become Form.” A resident of Bern, Switzerland, where his famous exhibition took place in 1969, she was horrified by “Attitudes” and the controversy it caused. I’m getting all these terrible phone calls, she wrote to her son. You have to stop doing these gag exhibitions.

That letter from Mrs. Szeemann is one of many archival documents on view on the ground floor of the Ca’ Corner della Regina, the 18th-century Venetian palazzo where Germano Celant, curator of the Prada Foundation, has recreated Szeemann’s groundbreaking show, working in collaboration with the artist Thomas Demand and the architect Rem Koolhaas. This may not be the main event in town—that would be the biennale—but still it’s made an impact. On the second of three press preview days, people were lining up outside, bumping umbrellas in the rain. Read More

Previews

Final Cut: At Gagosian, Lucio Fontana, Beyond the Slash

Fontana's 1951 environment for the Milan Triennale. (© Fondazione Lucio Fontana. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery)

On Monday morning, Italian curator Germano Celant, a compact man with a mane of white hair, was using a flashlight to navigate a series of cavernous spaces in the Gagosian Gallery on West 24th Street, which he and a team of assistants were gradually transforming into “environments,” ethereal, room-filling installations by the late Italian artist Lucio Fontana.

“This is a very small environment that I saw him do in Genoa, my town,” he said, gesturing around a narrow passageway blocked off by a black curtain. The space inside was dark, and eerily sublime, containing just a few dabs of fluorescent paint lit with a black light. The piece was originally made in 1967, the year before Fontana died at age 69. “It was in a shop,” Mr. Celant recalled. “On the beach.” Read More