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July 23, 2015

The great masters of contemporary art in comparison with Michelangelo

Since 14 June 2016 to 8 January  2017 at the Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence

The works of ten great contemporaries: Marina Abramovic, Cai Guo-Qiang, Maurizio Cattelan, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Yayoi Kusama, Bruce Nauman, Richard Prince, Gerhard Richter, Cindy Sherman, in comparison with the masterpieces of Michelangelo and other great artists of the past.

The mix between ancient and contemporary art have a long history, the charm of the comparison has always existed.

Change the perception of the world changes the end of art, but the comparison with the greats of the past remains an aspiration, in a dimension of substantial continuity.

Contemporary artists exhibited here, each of them has to his credit many confrontations with the story, just think of the exhibition of Jeff Koons at Versailles in 2008, or that of Maurizio Cattelan at Palazzo Reale in Milan in 2010.

There is another element that supports, to some degree goes, this comparison. The system of communication contemporary: the network of the web as the clearest expression and that tends to put all the images on the same plane.

There is no longer a story, a before and after, is still a great, all-encompassing 'present' in which the values collected from the past are reduced more and more and have less and less strength. Somehow the contemporary communication system, therefore, requires a comparison meta.

Although comparisons between past and present, and meetings are therefore quite frequent, however the comparison that will be activated in this exhibition will have new characters and an unusual force. We could say in fact that it is a comparison between Giants.

On one side they lined up and the Prisoners of Michelangelo's David, with the medieval masters like Giotto and Taddeo Gaddi, the Renaissance Paolo Uccello, Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Perugino. Across the ten most celebrated artists of our time, those who have in recent decades reached the top of the art system, in terms of value and notoriety: Marina Abramovic, Cai Guo-Qiang, Maurizio Cattelan, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons , Yayoi Kusama, Bruce Nauman, Richard Prince, Gerhard Richter, Cindy Sherman.

Among the discussion points stressed by the exhibition there is also one related to the massive economic evaluations reached long ago by the major protagonists of contemporary art, also in relation to the values assigned to the category instead of the "Old Masters" at auctions worldwide.

However, the exhibition the question arises of what will be the future of the art of our time. What works in a gallery ideal, take the comparison with Michelangelo? What values such as quality, the nost ro time deliver to posterity?

Walter Benjamin (1892-1940), some eighty years ago, had predicted the loss of the aura of art in the age of mechanical reproduction. Far from marking the death of art, in recent decades some media tools have instead boosted the aura, by taking some works values and huge attention.

David will remain unchanged after this presence? Besides Michael Bakhtin (1895-1975) he argued, talking of the novel as a work does not always remain true to itself, but is modified, changes its meaning in the unfolding of history.

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