Arturo Galansino tells us exclusively about Jeff Koons and the 2021 exhibitions at Palazzo Strozzi
From 3 December the courtyard of Palazzo Strozzi is illuminated by Marinella Senatore
On the eve of the new Palazzo Strozzi project signed by visual artist Marinella Senatore, opening on 3 December, our exclusive interview with Arturo Galasino, General Manager of the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi.
Tòmas Saraceno: a great success, despite the difficulties. What did the exhibition represent and what reflections did it bring out?
Yes, it was a great success despite everything, able to fully embody the historical moment we lived and are still living. It has been defined by many as a prophetic exhibition, from many points of view: opened a few days before the pandemic, it made us reflect first of all on how each of our actions has an impact on the environment around us. An exhibition that put the element air at the centre, never before as important for our daily life and our survival as in these months. The exhibition itself proved to be very topical: the installations reacted proportionally to our movements, thus representing an invitation to slowness, to live in a more conscious and sustainable way.
Marinella Senatore: a project of inclusion and dialogue. Can you tell us how you studied and composed it with the artist?
The idea was to put in place a possible project at a time when exhibitions are impossible. It consists of a public art installation, in the courtyard, in the open air, freely accessible to all; next to it there is an extensive digital programme, with workshops designed especially for weaker social groups: from prisoners to people suffering from Parkinson's disease. This virus is leaving deep marks on the social fabric, with the result that the latter are even more recent. With Marinella Senatore we wanted to launch a message of empowerment, inclusion and cohesion.
40 years of American art. The spring exhibition. Can you describe it to us?
Yes, it will be a historical exhibition curated by Vincenzo de Bellis of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and myself. An exhibition with a chronological cut that covers the years from Kennedy to Bush Jr., indicatively from Vietnam to the Twin Towers involving the greatest American artists in American history: Jasper Johns, Donald Judd, Barbara Kruger, Robert Mapplethorpe, Kerry James Marshall, Bruce Nauman, Cindy Sherman, Robert Rauschenberg, Kara Walker and Andy Warhol, just to name a few of the other selected artists.
Alongside the historical interest of the exhibition, art becomes a tool to address issues such as consumerism and mass production, feminism and gender identity, racial issues and the struggle for civil rights. These latter themes are particularly dear to me because of their contemporaneity, and they cyclically return to history.
Let's come to the star of the year, at least in the most pop sense: Jeff Koons ...
Yes, it is the most important exhibition ever held in Italy, scheduled for autumn 2021. On display are some iconic pieces that have entered our imagination, alongside works that have never before been shown to the public. A chronological path, which at the same time carries on a central theme of Koons's art: the artist finds in the idea of "shine" one of the main characteristics of his art. A concept that goes beyond the reflecting surface, and therefore the idea of decoration or embellishment, and becomes the very material of Koons's art, combining exteriority and essence. There is a great philosophical sense behind the artist's work, alongside the undoubted spectacularity. Koons is also a great lover of ancient art and of our city. We are happy to host him at Palazzo Strozzi.
At Palazzo Strozzi you have not lost step, despite the unique and difficult moment. What is the secret?
Long-term planning, quality staff and not least the support of our private and public sponsors. This allows us to start well in advance and be more flexible even in changes.