lunedì 12 dicembre 2011

When Art Meets Fashion

Photo: Marco De Scalzi
“Italy has lost many years ago its importance as a hub for art production but is still giving its contribution thanks to the combination of art with fashion.”

Besides being the curator of the exhibition program of one of the world’s leading contemporary art museums, Massimiliano Gioni is also the artistic director of the Fondazione Trussardi. It doesn’t surprise, therefore, that a strong support is given by the Director of Exhibition of the New Museum in New York to the model that assigns to haute couture fashion houses a key role in the promotion of artistic production.

“Often the more innovative and experimental projects I have worked on have been financed by leading fashion names”, says Gioni.

Such combination may turn out to be a successful solution for both parties: fashion labels focus on the connection with art to prolong in time the echo of their name, usually linked to the ephemeral cycle of runway shows and collections. While artists make the most of the powerful communicative means and visibility provided by fashion to convey and spread their message.

“The idea that a private individual may reinvent the way art is showcased was conceived in Italy in the Nineties with Trussardi and Prada, and was later on reproduced outside Italy by foundations such as François Pinault and Louis Vuitton”, Gioni underlines.

The 38-year- old curator owes his brilliant career partly to the trust placed in him since 2003 by the Fondazione Trussardi. This does not make him insensitive to the risks that the symbiotic relation between art and fashion may entail.

“While art is increasingly more communicative, the message risks becoming more superficial.”

Gioni has always been fascinated by the less popular side of art, which enables its operators to experiment without having to lend themselves to easy interpretations. He acknowledges the special strength of private sponsors as they are “freer to reinvent art to their liking”. At the same time, though, the curator also acknowledges the role of public institutions, which have the responsibility of “investigating history to assign it a certain order.”

After year of immobility, luckily it seems that also in Italy the public role in the promotion of contemporary art is now being recognized.

“We should get our inspiration from the cultural institutions’ pattern in the USA, often made up of public bodies that remain independent from the State,” concludes Gioni. “Yet the creation of museums such as the Maxxi in Rome is already a step forward.”

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