Gagosian turns to Rome for next stage of his art empire
Monday 17 December 2007
Rome's claim to be a significant player in the world of modern art gained a powerful endorsement at the weekend with the opening of a monumental new gallery by the American art dealer Larry Gagosian.
The imposing central space of the gallery, a 23m by 13m oval carved out of a former bank's main hall, is by far the grandest exhibition space of any of the dozens of new venues that have opened in the city during the past few years.
For its inaugural show, Gagosian has chosen to fill it with three huge new paintings by one of his favourite modern masters, Cy Twombly.
Born in 1928 in Lexington, Virginia, Twombly has divided his time between the United States and Rome since the late 1950s. He has rarely exhibited in his adoptive city, not least because his work is often too huge in scale to be accommodated by ordinary galleries.
Gagosian's new showroom is located in a corner of central Rome that has powerful connections with the city's post-war cultural renaissance. Via del Veneto, the winding, sloping boulevard whose cafs hosted the likes of Federico Fellini and Elizabeth Taylor during the 1950s and 60s, when Rome was a major film-making city, is round the corner. The Spanish Steps, five minutes away, were close to the first shop of Valentino, who moved to Rome during the same era and rapidly became the couturier of choice for stars and starlets. The Trevi Fountain, where Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg posed in La Dolce Vita is also close.
Mr Gagosian said of his new space: "I am delighted to open a gallery in Rome, a powerful source of inspiration for artists of all times. We look forward to becoming part of the cultural life of this extraordinary city."
The gallery is in a typically ornate Roman commercial building, built in 1921, on a steep cobbled lane rising from Largo del Tritone on the road that leads up to the Villa Borghese.
Local architects Firouz Galdo and London partnership Caruso St John have stripped the interior down to bare walls and a grey Pietrasanta stone floor, in the cool, unadorned look chosen for all Gagosian's galleries. The main banking hall of the building had a huge bay window, and the architects have remodelled the opposite, formerly perpendicular, wall to create an oval space, with plenty of daylight coming through the windows.
The Twombly works shown in the inaugural exhibition, a series called "Three Notes from Salalah", are of the sort of vast proportions the space requires, their green backgrounds and white looping calligraphic swirls a conscious "homage" to classic Arabian art. Salalah is an oasis by the sea in "Arabia Felix" or Yemen, "a seaside oasis surrounded by an arc of mountains behind which lies the Empty Quarter... the largest sand desert in the world," as Julie Sylvester writes in the catalogue for the exhibition. "Here everything green flourishes... Once again Twombly provides us with a transport to another time, a different age, a new geography from which to address our world..."
Cy Twombly's work will be the subject of a major retrospective, held at the Tate Modern in London next year.
- 2 Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Professional big game hunter Ian Gibson crushed to death by elephant during hunt
- 4 Farmer told to tear down mock-Tudor castle after hiding construction behind hay bales
Migrants crossing the Mediterranean: Pope Francis joins calls for EU action on boat refugees
Yemen crisis: Meet the child soldiers recruited by the Shia Houthi rebels who have forsaken books for Kalashnikovs
Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
Isis in Afghanistan: Group claims responsibility for Jalalabad suicide bombing that killed 35
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...