In response to coronavirus, Magazzino Italian Art Foundation commissions eight Italian artists to produce new work

The New York-based foundation says there is an "absolute need to support artists" as the Covid-19 pandemic shutters exhibitions around the world

Alessandro Teoldi is one of the artists selected to participate in the foundation's new curatorial programme. His work Untitled (Delta, Eva Air, Air France, Air China, Korean Air and Emirates) (2019) is made from a series of inflight blankets. Courtesy of the artists and Marinaro, new York

As artists increasingly face lost income due to cancelled commissions and exhibitions due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, the Magazzino Italian Art Foundation in Cold Spring, New York, is asking eight Italian artists to create a work new work that will be unveiled at the end of May.

The idea for the curatorial project was born from “the absolute need to support artists in this difficult time—some didn’t have the option to go home, some are immigrants living in New York and some lost or don’t have access to their studios”, says the director Vittorio Calabrese. “In the end, artists will save us all, and we're highlighting their importance and fragility.”

The chosen artists—Alessandro Teoldi, Andrea Mastrovito, Beatrice Scaccia, Danilo Correale, Davide Balliano, Francesco Simeti, Luisa Rabbia and Maria Domenica Rapicavoli—are multi-generational and work across various mediums, ranging from conceptual art to painting and sculpture. All eight of the artists are currently working in lockdown in New York.

Though the Hudson Valley-based foundation, which is dedicated to post-war Italian art, remains closed to the public per state and health officials' recommendations, the project aims to “keep the conversation going in this moment of displacement and isolation”, says Calabrese.

While New York is currently the epicentre of the Covid-19 outbreak in the US, Italy has been one of the countries hardest hit by the virus, with around 14,000 deaths so far. But rather than focus on the ongoing tragedy of the pandemic, Calabrese says the project foregrounds the community and intimacy people around the world are finding in other ways.

Davide Balliano, Untitled_0164 (2020) Photo: Dario Lasagni and courtesy of Tina Kim Gallery, New York/Dirimart, Istanbul

“We wanted to keep ties with our community—the art world and the Italian art community—even stronger during this time with something that can connect us all on a regular basis,” Calabrese says.

The foundation will share the artists’ process on its social media channels before the culmination of the project, which will be presented in either “an actual exhibition or a digital one—we’ll see how it goes”, Calabrese says, noting the indefinite timeline for social distancing measures currently.

Moreover, as New York's spring art season remains on hold, “we felt that there are so many programmes online right now where artists are not being compensated for their contribution”, Calabrese says. Magazzino is offering the artists an honorarium for the project but will not acquire the works.

“We hope these projects can bring hope and inspire more people to look at this [time] as a way of coming up with something positive and renovating ourselves—there is a light at the end of the tunnel,” Calabrese says. “When this is all over, we’ll throw a big party.”