The Elena Geuna curated “Afro Burri Fontana” exhibition is on now at Haunch of Venison‘s Chelsea space, 550 W. 21 St, and focuses on Italian artists Afro, Alberto Burri, and Lucio Fontana. Showing five paintings by each artist, Haunch’s international director Emilio Steinberger explained that the gallery sought to create a balanced show that would make evident the original dialogue between the three post-WWII Italian abstract artists and their American contemporaries.
Afro, Burri, and Fontana spent much time travelling the U.S. and befriending American iconoclasts such as de Kooning, Twombly and Rauschenberg, all sharing and influencing one another. Afro used his relationships and affection for artists such as de Kooning and Gorky to redefine the classic Italian abstraction style in this conversation; Fontana opened a physical “third space” through slashing and puncturing his canvases with minimal “buchi,” and Burri’s usage of radical materials and non-classical approach to literally “constructing” paintings from elements such as burlap and wood was influential to Rauschenberg’s combines. The men were contemporaries, friends and in a constant conversation, often times in close physical proximity and sharing studio space (de Kooning worked in Afro’s Rome studio during his years there).