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Italy turns to Modernism as Warhol goes on show in Rome and Florence galleries are revitalised

Beautiful art in the Beautiful Country

The theme of “Arte Americana 1930-1970” at Turin’s Lingotto has not been taken up by any of the city’s private galleries, which seem to be cold-shouldering the event, but in Rome the Fontanella Borghese has been quick to hang a selection of works by Andy Warhol. If Pop Art is now considered a historical phenomenon, even more so is the work of Sebastian Roberto Matta: the Oca gallery is featuring a number of pastels of 1939 vintage—his Surrealist period—and other more recent works. Also of historical interest is an exhibition in five sections entitled “Miti di Ferrazzi”, put together by Netta Vespignani. The Ferrazzi in question is an exponent of a school of Roman painters rediscovered in recent years by critics and collectors alike.

In “Liaisons dangereuses”, Fabio Sargentini draws parallels between contemporary artists and representatives of an earlier generation, juxtaposing Leoncillo and Morandi, Sironi and Pizzi Cannella, Burri and Nunzio, Fautrier and Sergio Ragalzi, and finally Pino Pascali and Carl André. Milan’s February programme is not the most brilliant. Nevertheless, the Case d’Arte are showing recent works by Richard Prince, a post-conceptual artist from the States; Arte Borgogna is featuring the Cuban Wifredo Lam; and, until 21 March, Arte 92 is home to the energetic gestural art of Arnulf Rainer.

Florence, on the other hand, seems to have woken up after years of disappointing lethargy. Gentili is showing work by the Spanish neo-minimalist Jaume Plensa, one of the leaders of the nouvelle vague of Iberian artists who came to prominence in the 1980s; Fluxus militant Jean Jacques Lebel is exhibiting at Vivita right through the month; while the Piramide is contrasting two successive movements, Arte Povera and Transavanguardia, in the persons of Merz, Kounellis, Pistoletto, Chia, Clemente and Paladino.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Warhol in Rome'