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Home » Go See – Naples and Milan: Vanessa Beecroft at Galleria Lia Rumma in Milan and Naples, through September 11, 2011

Go See – Naples and Milan: Vanessa Beecroft at Galleria Lia Rumma in Milan and Naples, through September 11, 2011

August 13th, 2011


Installation shot of Vanessa Beecroft’s “Performance VB70 – VB Marmi” in Milan. All images courtesy Galleria Lia Rumma unless otherwise noted.

In a sprawling gallery space in Milan, women with marbled skin mingle with marble plinths. One hundred and fifty people at a time streamed in to take in the sight of the vivid hues– green onyx, French red ochre, Portuguese pink marble, lapis lazuli, sodalite blue, macaubus light blue, and black Belgian– glowing against a white cube setting. As Roberta Smith said in a 1998 New York Times review of the artist’s work, “It’s art; it’s fashion. It’s good; it’s bad. It’s sexist; it’s not. It’s Vanessa Beecroft‘s performance art.”


Opening in Milan

more story and images after the jump…

Beecroft’s work, which lives somewhere between sculpture and performance, has often been described as “living paintings.” The opening performance at Lia Rumma Milan was characteristic of her previous work: it featured ten or so nude models performing a choreography of slow, fragmented movements. The performance calls forth the transitory nature of the action against what the exhibition’s press release calls “the polished stillness of the sculptures.”


Installation in Milan

Gallerist Lia Rumma chatted with attendees like Donatella Versace and art critic Vittoria Sgarbi, commissioner of the Italian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2011. The exhibition is at once more colorful and more muted than Beecroft’s other performances: her strict black-and-white palatte has been replaced with soft tones, and the content reflects its refined atmosphere. The installation evokes tensions between fragility and stability; the sacred and the profane, the fleeting and the eternal. “The unnatural juxtaposition between the life and warmth of the models and the cold stillness of stone, relates the artist, “highlights the melancholy and fascination of sculpture.”


Image courtesy Albarosa Simonetti.

Roughly five hundred miles south is a concurrent exhibition at Lia Rumma’s Naples location. It features three new sculptures, videos named VB66 and VB67 (both 2010), and large-scale photographs of her performance work. One of the videos takes place at the Mercato Ittico (fish market) in Naples, the other in the Studi Nicoli in Carrara, where much of the marble for the exhibition was sourced.


Installation in Milan

Installation in Milan

New Yorkers may remember Beecroft from her March 2009 performance VB64 at Deitch Studios in Long Island City (scroll down for images). Born 1969 in Genoa, Italy, Beecroft studied architecture, painting, and scenography in Genoa and Milan before relocating to Los Angeles, where she now lives and works. Over the past twenty years, the artist has shown at leading international art institutions including the Guggenheim, New York (1998), São Paolo Art Biennial (2002); Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Turin (2003); Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin (2005); National Gallery, London (2006); PAC, Milan (2009); and MMK Frankfurt (2010).

Beecroft has also been experimental when it comes to venues and collaborations, showing at Terminal 5 in John F. Kennedy airport (2004), the Louis Vuitton store on the Champs-Élysées in Paris (2005) and the Miu Miu store in Soho, New York (1996), the Rialto fish market in Venice (2007), and, for the Whitney Biennial 2000, at the Intrepid Sea Air and Space Museum. In 2009, she collaborated with Kanye West to create an installation at Ace Gallery in Los Angeles for the album release of “808s & Heartbreaks.” She is also the subject of a documentary “The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins,” which had its premiere at MoMA in 2009 and was the subject of much criticism from the Sundance crowd.

Beecroft, along with female artists like Tracey Emin and Lisa Yuskavage, is polarizing in that she has spoken out about personal issues (battles with bulimia and a failed marriage) in relation to her work. Whether you like her or not, Vanessa Beecroft is here to stay. She has been invited to participate at the forthcoming PERFORMA Biennial, curated by Rosalee Goldberg, which will be held in New York next autumn.

Catch both iterations of Vanessa Beecroft’s show before they close in early September, at Galeria Lia Rumma on Via Stilicone 19 in Milan and Via Vannella Gaetani 12 in Naples.


Opening in Milan


Opening in Milan


Opening in Milan


Opening in Milan


Installation at Deitch studios, New York, 2009. Image via Deitch.


Installation at Deitch studios, New York, 2009. Image via Deitch.


Opening in Naples


Opening in Naples


Opening in Naples


Opening in Naples


Opening in Naples


Opening in Naples


Galleria Lia Rumma, Milan. Image courtesy the NYT.

– J. Lindblad

Related Links
Exhibition Site [Lia Rumma]
Press Release [Galleria Lia Rumma]
People Are Talking About – VB Marmi in Milan (with video) [Vogue]
Review – Vanessa Beecroft at Lia Rumma [Mustikka Art Markets]
Vanessa Beecroft [Artist's Page]
Vanessa Beecroft [Artnet]

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