a man with a pencil between his lips and a hat on his head
a man with a pencil between his lips and a hat on his head

The late Armando Testa founded Studio Armando Testa, one Italy’s largest agencies, in 1956.

Armando Testa is the greatest 20th-century design figure you’ve never heard of. Armando’s creations, straddling design and art, were groundbreaking and epoch-defining, but suffering from snobbery on the part of the high-art world towards what was and still is considered the lowlier and more commercial discipline of design. A new show at the Venice Biennale, conceived by Gemma Testa, Founder of Acacia Foundation, and curated by London’s Design Museum Director Tim Marlow, seeks to redress the balance. Here, Testa and Marlow discuss Armando’s legacy in a conversation moderated by LUX and edited by Isabella Fergusson

LUX: Gemma, why did you collaborate with Tim Marlow in curating the Armando Testa retrospective at the Venice Biennale this year?

Gemma Testa: I wanted to enable the work of Armando to become internationally known. Tim seemed an excellent choice, with his deep knowledge of both contemporary art and design.

a chair made of meat

Meat Chair, by Armando Testa, 1978.

LUX: Tim, what made you interested in the project?

Tim Marlow: This is one of the most important Italian artists in post-war and visual culture whom I didn’t know enough about, and many others like me don’t. The chance to explore and shed light on someone who beautifully straddles the worlds of graphic design and art, advertising and popular culture and supposed fine art was a wonderful opportunity.

Tyres with an elephant trunk; artworks

Advertisement for Pirelli tyres, Armando Testa, 1954

LUX: Could you tell us about Testa’s significance?

TM: Armando was utterly radical from the beginning. He trained, learned painting, visual arts, art history, graphic design and advertising. He was a pop artist before Pop Art had even been invented. He understood the distilled language of Minimalism – look at his work in the 1940s and 50s before Minimalism existed. But he also understood that visual culture was a means of communication. There is this extraordinary creative trajectory that straddles very different worlds. His favourite word is ‘synthesis’.

GT: The main difficulty for Armando, for many years, was the lack of a proper gallery to represent him. Advertising is seen simply as commerce. Galleria Continua asked me to present Armando. This is a great opportunity to let his work gain recognition – he always believed in the great connection between art and advertising. While working on campaigns, he asked me many times, “What do you think about this?” I’d answer, “What is the aim? What are you working for? Who is the client?” and he’d answer, “You have to look at the sign; you have to look at the mark, at the drawing itself.” He has always understood and believed that there is a link between these two disciplines – advertising and art.

chilli on a plinth in a gallery

Tango Caliente, by Armando Testa

LUX: What are your purposes for the Venice exhibition?

TM: It’s the need and opportunity to present Armando’s works to a new audience, art scene and culture. The natural place for Testa – as a designer and as an artist – might be the Architecture Biennale, which is porous, looking at all sorts of disciplines. But it is decisive and important that it opens during the Art Biennale. Though the art world talks of porosity, it can be very territorial, and it can be a little defensive about people who come from disciplines other than the art world itself. Armando genuinely had a symbiotic relationship between the two. Even artists like Michelangelo Pistoletto – who studied at Armando’s design school – felt the importance of Armando as an artist and, as he put it, a “genius ad man”.

pictures in a gallery

“Punt e Mes”, by Armando Testa, 1974

LUX: Gemma, how do you respond to that?

GT: Yes, some friends of mind suggested that I present Armando to the Architecture Biennale, but I felt that this could have limited his position. And there is a generation who know none of his works as an artist: this is who the exhibition is for.

TM: The great ‘Punt e Mes’ campaign is a very condensed example of why Testa is so brilliant – his sphere, half-sphere piece. It is a pun on the name ‘Punt e Mes’ [‘Point and a Half’]. It is a visual pun on a sphere and a half-sphere. He paints it. He makes a sculpture of it as well as a poster of it. He interrogates it in every way and makes it universal. An advertising campaign for Vermouth, using an Italian dialect, ought only to resonate with a specifically Italian audience, but it doesn’t. That is what we want to show.

LUX: How would Armando wish to be remembered following the Biennale? As an artist, a designer, or something else?

GT: Perhaps he would want to be remembered more as a creative, a multidisciplinary artist than an advertiser or a designer; the exhibition represents all the shades of his creative universe.

Exhibition Armando Testa is at the Galleria Internazionale d’Arte Moderna Ca’ Pesaro, Venice, 20 April-15 September 2024

capesaro.visitmuve.it

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purple steps with blue balls and a yellow wall with a blue floor
purple steps with blue balls and a yellow wall with a blue floor

An NFT from Tezos

They’re being shown at Basel, included in Venice: let’s see what the data tells us about NFTs and their long-term potential. Our contributing editor and columnist Sophie Neuendorf looks into it
A girl with blonde hair wearing a brown jacket

Sophie Neuendorf

At this point, I believe that most of you will have heard of the phenomenon that’s taken the art world by storm: Non-Fungible Tokens, better known as NFTs. Ever since Christie’s sold that now famous NFT by artist Beeple for $69 Million in March 2021, this nascent category has grown exponentially. Over the past year, something like $44 billion has been spent on about 6 million NFTs, usually issued to certify digital creations but sometimes for physical objects such as paintings and sculptures.

The popularity of NFTs can be attributed to several factors. Primarily, it can be attributed to the rapid digitalisation of the art industry. Now, more and more artists, collectors, and professionals are comfortable with browsing, interacting and transacting online. This coincides with the cultural shift to the metaverse, which is a digital copy of the real world. It’s unsurprising that the metaverse should include fine art and collectibles, given that luxury fashion brands such as Gucci, Prada or Ralph Lauren are also represented.

A cartoon monkey wearing a black and white striped top, a sailor hat and red heart shaped sunglasses

Jimmy Fallon’s NFT by Bored Ape Yacht Club

But how can one identify ‘good’ or ‘bad’ NFTs and NFT artists? How do we know which NFTs are a good investment? This process is not much different to that of traditional art: after a period of time, a selection of NFT artists will crystallise as those that are most in- demand and desired. This may be a reflection of tastes and preferences but also of the zeitgeist and, most importantly, of who collects them. Many of us look to tastemakers and well known gallerists or collectors to see what they are buying, then use that information to help us form an opinion.

a line graph

As one does before committing to a traditional work of art, it’s important to research prices and comparables before purchasing an NFT, as the market for NFTs has evolved and changed rapidly, even within the past year.

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As you can see from the graph, the prices for NFTs appreciated rapidly from the spring of 2021. However, since the end of last year, NFT prices have experienced a correction – the average transaction value has decreased substantially. This is in no way a reflection of the long-term viability and value of NFTs as a collecting category, but can be interpreted as the stabilisation of the market. Much more volatile than other assets or collectibles, such as contemporary art or gold, NFTs also suffer from price fluctuations due to the changeable nature of cryptocurrencies. Additionally, as it’s a new category, speculators may see it as less viable and secure as an investment in comparison to traditional blue-chip categories (as demonstrated below, on this page) – as yet, in terms of art as an investment, postwar and contemporary art, for example, are seen as much more secure than the nascent NFTs.

a bar graph

Yuga Labs is the company that is responsible for the extremely pricey ‘Bored Ape Yacht Club’ NFT series. At the beginning of this year, they announced the acquisition of the intellectual property behind their rival Larva Labs’ CryptoPunks and Meebits projects. This means that now three of the world’s most important crypto companies are under one blockchain-supported roof. Yuga Labs thus attempts a novel solution to a riddle facing more and more art professionals in this era of Instagram-ready immersive installations, branded merchandise, and fractionalised ownership: how do you turn a niche obsession into a mainstream phenomenon?

A cartoon girl

One of 10,000 avatar NFTs created by Azuki

Yuga Labs’ answer is to grant direct financial incentives to NFT owners to help the company build – and market – a creative universe around its tentpole intellectual property (IP). The move makes an expensive category accessible to a potentially much wider fan base. Despite the correction in transaction value, these popular NFTs are still expensive. The cheapest Meebit now costs about 5.6 ETH ($14,500). The floor price for a CryptoPunk is about 75 ETH ($195,000). Bored Apes sell for at least 97 ETH ($250,000).

Read more: Maryam Eisler On Tim Yip’s ‘Love Infinity’

A blurry picture of flowers and a building

‘Rebirth’ by Beeple

This new development answers the question of how to build a broad fan base for IP in such short supply, and with such impressive price tags: create derivative works available at low costs. Think of the Basquiat estate licensing the artist’s imagery for Uniqlo T-shirts. The difference is that Yuga Labs is outsourcing this task to NFT owners, rather than proliferating the Punks, Meebits, and Apes in house. Yuga Labs will give direct financial incentives to NFT owners to help the company build and market a creative universe. Or, to compare it to the traditional art world: create prints off of original works on canvas for a fraction of the price.

NFTs have already been shown at major fairs, such as Art Basel. This year’s Venice Biennale is showing NFTs in the Cameroon Pavilion. Galleries and museums, such as the Uffizi and Belvedere, are issuing NFTs of their Old Master and modern paintings. With auction houses such as Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and Artnet auctions regularly offering NFTs, it’s only a matter of time until they are less of a novelty and more fully integrated in the traditional art industry.

 

Sophie Neuendorf is Vice-President at Artnet

This article first appears in the Summer 2022 issue of LUX

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A painting of a woman in an oval shape with two images on either side
A painting of a woman in an oval shape with two images on either side

Nicholas Party portrait, 2022

In our ongoing online monthly series, LUX’s editors, contributors, and friends pick their must-see exhibitions from around the globe

Umberta Beretta, philanthropist, art collector and curator

I would recommend Nicolas Party’s exhibition at the Poldi Pezzoli Museum in Milano. I am directly involved and partially sponsored the exhibition. It is called Triptych. Nicolas party produced eleven new works all inspired by the old masters at the Poldi Pezzoli Museum. The exposition has been organised in partnership with Kaufmann Repetto gallery and will run until the end of June. In the museum Nicolas Party was especially impressed by Mariotto Albertinelli‘s triptych. The exhibition is very respectful of the museum but very connected to the surrounding works.

paintings on the walls and on stands in a gallery

Nicolas Party’s exhibition at the Poldi Pezzoli Museum in Milan is showing until June 27 2022

Together with the triptychs, the artist created six oval works inspired by his beloved Rosalba Carriera, an author also present in the Poldi Pezzoli Museum. This exhibition is a chance to see how contemporary art can very well be inspired by the works of the past and of how a brilliant contemporary artist can create something totally new whilst giving homage to the ancient.

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The artist has been very generous with sharing what inspired him and by making some very clear references that can be followed whilst looking at the exhibition. It is a great chance to see something new and discover something old at the same time.

Cheryl Newman, artist, curator and photography consultant

I’m running a workshop in Norway in a couple of weeks so will finally get inside the 60-meter-high new Munch Museum on Oslo’s trendy waterfront. Love it or hate it, this recycled concrete and steel sustainable building is a long-awaited landmark and new home for the enormous collection of Norway’s greatest painter.

A large cement building by a river that says MUNCH on the side of it

Munch museum, Oslo

Munch was a progressive and challenging artist, so it seems apt that his new home should incite a bit of debate. I have been moved by Munch’s depictions of loneliness and death since my student days, so I’ll head straight to the Sick Child paintings. Munch’s work is unflinching and confronts the fragility and anxiety of human consciousness which is as relevant now as when Munch was a contemporary.

A small painting of 'the scream' on a black wall

One of Munch’s most renowned paintings ‘The Scream’ on display at the Munch museum

It’s also interesting to see Munch shown with artists directly influenced by his work and if you are in Vienna before June 19th, In Dialogue at The Albertina includes work by Peter Doig, Tracy Emin, Georg Baselitz and Marlene Dumas that refer to Munch’s themes and you can see profound responses by the artists included.

A painting of a red blue and white scribble

Tracey Emin’s work on display at the ‘In Dialogue’ exhibition at The Albertina in Vienna

Closer to home, I am yet to visit artist and activist Poulomi Basu’s powerful work, Fireflies at Autograph gallery in London. Poulomi is a powerful force, advocating for the rights of marginalised women through political documentary and complex storytelling. Her unflinching images are at once both dreadful and seductive. Curated by Bindi Vora, in this multimedia exhibition, Poulomi turns the camera on herself and her mother, to express patriarchal violence, resistance and solidarity with her female subjects. I am expecting a challenging and provocative exhibition.

A hologram in blue in an art gallery

Poulomi Basu’s ‘Fireflies’ at Autograph

I’ll also be heading to a group show at the Nunnery Gallery in Bow, a free public gallery that supports local emerging artists. ME 2 U: A Collective Manifesto is a lesson in how to maintain a healthy positivity in the complex world we inhabit. It will include a young painter whose work I love, Lindsey Mclean.

A pink naked lady walking up the stairs

Lindsey Mclean’s ‘Faux Stairs’ showing at Bow Arts

Lindsey’s work disrupts the historical representation of femininity and women in painting. She uses recurring motifs such as fans, veils and feather boas to obscure the gaze within the work. Her paintings are rich and complex, mixing textures and jewel like colours.

Candida Gertler OBE, Co-Founder, Co-Director and Trustee at Outset Contemporary Art Fund

My best kept secret for the most rewarding visit to any Biennale is to go after the opening week! It’s true, you might miss the glamorous opening parties and the opportunity to see many familiar faces from around the globe, but you are abundantly compensated by the unparalleled experience of enjoying art the way it’s meant to be seen – with enough space to breathe!

A giant metal bust of a girl with plaits

Simone Leigh’s ‘Brick House’ on show as part of ‘The Milk of Dreams’ at the Venice Biennale

Having just returned from my first art trip with Outset Partners (a philanthropic body that grants experimental forms of funding to transformational projects) since the start of the pandemic, my fears of being confronted with the ‘same old, same old’ whilst in an entirely different, post-pandemic world were allayed. The 59th Venice Biennale, curated by Cecilia Alemani, addresses our collective desire to reconnect to the basic elements – even bringing a field of fragrant earth into the display- and embraces in some of the pavilions and external exhibitions technology in all its augmented and extended forms (a characteristic that defines our ‘new normal’) giving us a insight into the nee phygital era.

A man in a blue jumpsuit and mask standing on a road with a man and woman behind him

Loukia Alavanou, still shot from ‘Oedipus in Search of Colonus’

The Milk of Dreams exhibition in the Arsenale is the most elegantly curated exhibition I can remember in a long time. Each section of the long stretch of installations felt like a fully formed museum show in its own right, giving the – mainly female – artists the consideration and attention to detail that both they and the public deserve. Between the main exhibition, the national pavilions, and the collateral programme, just the right mix of well established and emerging artists were represented: from Barbara Kruger’s temple-like installation of warning texts Untitled (Beginning/Middle/End) in her signature style in the Arsenale, to the fantastic Greek Pavilion Oedipus in Search of Colonus by Loukia Alavanou. There – equipped with my goggles and a swivelling chair to anchor me – I took my front row, immersive seat to a mesmerising journey where ancient Greek tragedy meets futuristic virtual reality.

A blue purple and green lit up brain on a black screen

Although there is so much more to choose from the collateral programme – like the monumental Kiefer exhibition at the Palazzo Duclae; the wonderful Parasol Unit show at the Music Academy with Oliver Beer’s fantastic musical installation in the palazzo’s chapel; and the Ugandan and the Côte d’Ivoire Pavilions scattered around Venice – for me, the one unmissable exhibition is Udo Kittelmann and Taryn Simon’s exquisite Human Brains: It all Begins with an Idea at the Fondazione Prada.

Read more: A new photography prize for sustainability is launched

The design alone of this mammoth endeavour deserves a whole pride of golden lions, and the way the curation traverses the centuries of brain research through the lense of artists, illustrators, scientists and writers left me feeling equal parts satisfied and eager to learn more – like a student and a scholar simultaneously. Just as the entire biennale was a journey between the known and unknown, what more can one ask for

Clara Hastrup, artist

As I’ll be traveling to Copenhagen at the end of this month, the exhibition I’m really looking forward to seeing is Haegue Yang: Double Soul at Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen, Denmark (until July 31). Yang has an incredible visual language and works with a wide range of materials to create her sculptures and immersive environments.

sculptures lit up made of feathers and pompoms

Haegue Yang’s ‘Double Soul’ at Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen, Denmark

She uses everything from venetian blinds, bells, drying racks to pompoms and artificial flowers, transforming and abstracting these familiar objects into surreal and chaotic landscapes where you can either get lost or find new meanings.

LUX Editorial Team

This month we suggest visiting the White Box gallery at the Nobu Hotel London Portman Square. Currently on show are the works and submission statements of the winner and runners up of the Louis Roederer Photography Prize.

colourful photographs on a white wall

The Louis Roederer Photography Prize for Sustainability exhibition at The White Box space at Nobu Hotel London Portman Square. On show until May 29 2022.

The winner of the inaugural Prize is Akosua Viktoria Adu-Sanyah, who’s works come from her collection ‘Behold the Ocean’, where she focuses on the detrimental effects of ocean acidification. Runner up Jasper Goodall’s use of colour and light in his photographs, bring you into a fairy-tale like landscape evoking reverence for nature. Adu-Sanyah’s and Goodall’s works are juxtaposed with Sahab Zaribaf’s meditations on the relationship between humans and nature.

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Painting
Painting

Marlene Dumas, ‘Betrayal’ (1994). Private collection, courtesy David Zwirner. Photo by Emma Estwic. © Marlene Dumas

As VIPs swarm to Venice for the pre-opening week of the Biennale, LUX columnist Sophie Neuendorf gives her tips for visiting the all-consuming art event, the biggest of the year

Sophie Neuendorf

There is something magical about Venice. No matter what time of the year one travels to the historical city, it’s always a delight. Though, it’s especially lovely during the opening week of Biennale.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have visited Biennale several times already, and always thoroughly enjoyed rushing from one exhibition or event to another.

During my last, pre-pandemic visit to Biennale, a renowned art fair director, who somehow never received a VIP card to the opening (and who shall remain nameless), showed me where I could possibly gain illicit entry by jumping over a fence.

During another visit, a well-known gallerist showed me how he uses the service corridors and stairs to gain secret entry into the parties at the Bauer Hotel.

Art projection

Bruce Nauman, ‘Contrapposto Studies’, installation view at Punta della Dogana, Venice (2021). Jointly owned by Pinault Collection and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Photo by Marco Cappelletti. © Palazzo Grassi, Venice. © Bruce Nauman by SIAE, Rome, 2021.

Aside from those shenanigans, there are many sites, exhibitions, museums, and, of course, parties to visit during the opening week.

It is most likely that one won’t be able to see everything on offer during the Biennale, so it’s wise to pick and choose beforehand. As previous Biennale director Massimiliano Gioni said, “The fact that people are still congregating periodically to look at art made in 80+ countries around  the world, there is a kind of madness to it. So, I say, embrace the madness.”

The opening of Biennale di Venezia is on April 23, and the extravaganza is curated by art world veteran, Cecilia Alemani. Alemani is the fifth woman to curate the show in the biennale’s 127 year history. In 2017, she curated the Italian pavilion—the largest national pavilion on site—which she said gave her a “definite advantage.”

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The exhibition is titled The Milk of Dreams, after a book by Surrealist artist and author Leonora Carrington, which Alemani describes as “very simple, very joyful, but also quite macabre.”

The exhibition suggests a fitting bit of symmetry with our own moment: the Surrealist movement emerged in 1924 just after the end of World War I, in part as a reaction against totalitarianism and militarisation.

The 2022 exhibition focuses on the many inquiries that saturate the sciences, arts, and myths of our time – “How is the definition of ‘the human’ changing? What constitutes life, and what differentiates plant and animal, human and non-human? What are our responsibilities towards the planet, other people, and other life forms? And what would life look like without us?”

A building on a river

The Ca’ d’Oro, or Palazzo Santa Sofia, is a palace on the Grand Canal in Venice where a group of significant Renaissance sculptures will be on display during the Venice Biennale

These are some of the guiding queries for this edition of the Biennale Arte, which concentrates on three thematic areas in particular: the representation of bodies and their metamorphoses; the relationship between individuals and technology; the connection between bodies and the Earth.

Among many highlights, this year’s edition will be showcasing NFT artists, such as Kevin Abosch and Eduardo Kac among several others, for the very first time – courtesy of the Cameroon Pavilion. This year also marks the first time the United Kingdom has chosen a black female artist to represent the country at the Biennale: Sonia Boyce.

In response to the nomination, Boyce commented “I do think part of the question, as it is posed to me, is about [how] I’m black and British, and what does it mean to “carry the flag”? It will be interesting to see how she tackles this immense and multi-facetted question.

Read more: The LUX Art Diary: Exhibitions to See in April

Outside the Biennale, worth visiting is the multi-sensory work by Danish artist Jeppe Hein. The fruit of French champagne house Ruinart’s fifth artist residency (previous collaborations included Vik Muniz and David Shrigley). The work is inspired by the maison’s residency’s chalky, sun-dappled terroir.

The renowned Palazzo Grassi is showing work by South African artist Marlene Dumas, curated by Caroline Bourgeois. It will show works from 1984 through today, with many previously unseen masterpieces. Her work focuses on human figures dealing with the most intense emotions and paradoxes.

A man with his finger in his forehead

Irish NFT artist Kevin Abosch

While you’re there, don’t miss the Bruce Nauman show, which is an homage to the influential contemporary artist. Awarded the Golden Lion at the 2009 Biennale di Venezia, the show brings together old and recent works, some of which have never been exhibited in Europe.

One of my favourites is the Palazzo Fortuny, a beautiful palace and museum. It was constructed between 1460 and 1480, commissioned by a Venetian nobleman. Today, it houses a wonderful collection of masterpieces.

This year, Colnaghi Gallery is collaborating with the Direzione regionale Musei Veneto and Venetian Heritage to present a group of significant Renaissance sculptures at Ca’ d’Oro. An exquisite Gothic jewel, the Ca’ d’Oro is the most famous Gothic building in Venice after the Doges Palace. It was hugely admired by Ruskin, who recorded its facade in a beautiful watercolour in 1845. The exhibition will include works by the greatest artists of the Italian Renaissance, including Donatello, Lombardo, and Rovezzano.

The whole city is a work of art, with many yet-to-be-discovered treasures. After surviving the pandemic, discovering art from 80 different countries is a call to live and let live.

Sophie Neuendorf is Vice President at artnet. 

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woman looking at a painting
woman looking at a painting

Bellini’s Pietà at the Museo Poldi Pezzoli, which Beretta helped restore

The role of philanthropy has never been more urgent, and is reflected in our ongoing online series. Here, Umberta Beretta outlines her work around women’s rights and art for the many

Beretta was born into a family of prominent industrialists in northern Italy and is married to Franco Beretta, who leads the famed gunmakers. For the past two decades she has been active in fund-raising for numerous non-profit organisations and foundations with a focus on art, including her work for the Italian pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale and the Museo Poldi Pezzoli in Milan; medical charities, including cancer research through the Fondazione Beretta, of which she is a board member, and the Essere Bambino foundation; and on social causes such as campaigning against violence against women. The Beretta family’s involvement in art is notable also for Christo’s 2016 project The Floating Piers, which connected the shore of Lake Iseo with the island of San Paolo, owned by the Berettas, with fabric-covered walkways.

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LUX: Where did your interest in philanthropy in the arts come from?
Umberta Beretta: I have always had an interest in the arts. My father Giorgio Gnutti often took me to museums or when visiting artists’ studios. My grandmother (on my mother’s side) pushed me to do volunteer work. Art is my passion and the time I dedicate to less fortunate people or causes is my way of giving back.

woman by a swimming pool

Umberta Beretta photographed by Lady Tarin

LUX: Which art projects are exciting you?
Umberta Beretta: The past year has been very complicated and frustrating, but I very much look forward to the Venice Biennale [due to take place 23 April to 27 November 2022] curated by Cecilia Alemani. I admire women who do well in the arts. My hometown of Brescia and Bergamo will be Italian Capital of Culture in 2023, so we are planning a series of cultural activities and that’s quite exciting.

LUX: How important are private and philanthropic support for the arts?
Umberta Beretta: They’re both crucial. In Italy this still has yet to be fully understood. Individuals should be given more tax incentives [to donate]. But it is in our culture to promote beauty so against all odds I think Italy will always be a motor for the arts.

Man and woman standing in front of artwork

Beretta with the Ghanaian artist Ibrahim Mahama

LUX: How has the pandemic affected the arts in Italy?
Umberta Beretta: Tourists will always come to visit our museums. What concerns me most is the impact the pandemic will have on young, lesser-known artists, whose opportunities have frozen. And the same can be said for emerging fashion designers.

Read more: Meet the new generation of artisanal producers

LUX: What else can be done to support women’s rights?
Umberta Beretta: We can start by educating our children. I try with my son every day. All boys should be taught to respect women and all girls should be taught to demand respect. Women have the right to express themselves freely like men. In the art world, for example, women should be free to express their views on sexuality without scaring the public away. In everyday life they should be able to be mothers and have a career at the same time.

man and woman in artist's studio

Beretta with the artist Christo in his New York studio

LUX: What project has pleased you most?
Umberta Beretta: Definitely Christo’s Floating Piers. Winning the Montblanc de la Culture Arts Patronage Award in 2015 for Italy. Restoring some of the masterpieces of the Museo Poldi Pezzoli through the Restoration Club… I could go on.

For more information, visit: umbertagnuttiberetta.com

This article was originally published in the Summer 2021 Issue. 

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Sculpture of hands in a bridge
Sculpture of hands in a bridge

Building Bridges (at the Venice Biennale 2019) by Lorenzo Quinn

Italian artist Lorenzo Quinn has been commissioned to create artworks for the likes of the Vatican, the State of Qatar, and the Venice Biennale. Here, the sculptor speaks to Charlie Newman about poetry, the symbolism of hands, and durability.

Monochrome portrait of man holding his head

Lorenzo Quinn

1. Can you talk us through your creative process from the conception of an idea to the finished piece?

Once I feel the inspiration, I begin by drawing a sketch of the idea. This sketch might change many times until I feel it is right. Then I make a model in my studio, this model could also vary from the sketch as I go. Finally, when I am satisfied with the model, we proceed to cast the piece in metal.

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2. How does your approach differ when you’re working on public art compared to smaller sculptures?

The approach is the same, apart from when we are considering a sculpture with large dimensions, we also have to consider the public safety implications, engineering and durability. We might choose different materials or different ways of constructing and engineering the sculpture.

3. What compels you to sculpt the human body, and specifically, hands?

I choose hands because I want to have a dialogue with the public, to have a conversation, and we have to do [this] through a common language. If I did abstract art, it would be a monologue, not a dialogue. The hands allow me to get closer to the public through a language that everybody understands and relates to.

Sculpture of hands against a building

Support by Lorenzo Quinn

4. Do you have a preferred medium to work with?

Metals, especially bronze because of its durability.

Read more: Knight Frank’s 2020 Wealth Report focuses on insights for UHNWIs

5. You often pair poetry with your sculptures. How do you feel this contributes to the work?

I don’t conceive of one without the other. I need poetry to make the artwork or else it would be just a three-dimensional piece. I have always believed, nonetheless, that my sculptures need to go beyond that and into the fourth dimension, which is connecting with people and with the actual artwork. It’s about finding something beyond the physical, and poetry does that very well for me.

Sculpture of a woman pulling a globe

The Force of Nature I by Lorenzo Quinn

6. Which artists have been most influential on your practice?

The classic masters such as Michelangelo, Bernini, Rodin as well as Salvador Dali and my own father…

For more information visit: lorenzoquinn.com

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