February 21, 2021

Michelangelo Pistoletto at Lévy Gorvy Gallery

Lévy Gorvy Gallery's exhibit of works by the famous Arte Povera Italian artist Michelangelo Pistoletto, is the most comprehensive in over a decade
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Galleries

About the Exhibit 

Michelangelo Pistoletto’s exhibit at Lévy Gorvy Gallery on the upper east side of New York is one view from October 14th, 2020 - February 27th, 2021.

Michelangelo Pistoletto at Lévy Gorvy Gallery
Michelangelo Pistoletto at Lévy Gorvy Gallery
Michelangelo Pistoletto at Lévy Gorvy Gallery
Michelangelo Pistoletto at Lévy Gorvy Gallery

The show highlights common themes in Pistoletto’s work throughout six decades: perception, time, history, tradition, and the relationship between art, artist, and viewer.

Michelangelo Pistoletto at Lévy Gorvy Gallery

The first floor of the gallery contains a variety of mirrors. 

Michelangelo Pistoletto at Lévy Gorvy Gallery
“The mirror refers us to a creative act that is already “past.” The mirror is the nothingness that contains everything, even that which has yet to come. In the mirror the present is possibility there is also that which has not been revealed.” - Michelangelo Pistoletto
Michelangelo Pistoletto at Lévy Gorvy Gallery
Michelangelo Pistoletto at Lévy Gorvy Gallery
Michelangelo Pistoletto at Lévy Gorvy Gallery

The second floor contains work that questions ethics and challenges our core belief system. These works make a statement about the deprivation of individual liberties, exploitation, and the duality of freedom and oppression. 

Michelangelo Pistoletto at Lévy Gorvy Gallery
Michelangelo Pistoletto at Lévy Gorvy Gallery

This part of the room features a work titled ‘La Habana person in attesa’ - it’s a mirror painting of people waiting for a bus in Cuba. Pistoletto recognizes Cuba as a symbol of people that have fought for its autonomy, freedom, and liberty from external pressure.

Michelangelo Pistoletto at Lévy Gorvy Gallery

The bars in this work are meant to represent not literal bars, but people who have struggled for their freedom of oppression only to find themselves confined by global systems that perpetuate a culture of dominance. 

Michelangelo Pistoletto at Lévy Gorvy Gallery
Michelangelo Pistoletto at Lévy Gorvy Gallery

On the third floor, there’s a piece titled ‘Porte Uffizi’ that consists of a number of rooms.

Michelangelo Pistoletto at Lévy Gorvy Gallery

These rooms ask us to contemplate our own responsibilities to our immediate communities, the environment, and the world, and to find ways for art and creativity to reach into other realms of society to effect positive change. 

Michelangelo Pistoletto at Lévy Gorvy Gallery
Michelangelo Pistoletto at Lévy Gorvy Gallery
“Signs invade the world, but only artists have created personal signs. Now it is time for others, too, to take responsibility for themselves….everyone having a sign of their own has the key to the door of art, a door that leads to a reserved, intimate, personal space as well as the to the space of social meetings” - Michelangelo Pistoletto
Michelangelo Pistoletto at Lévy Gorvy Gallery

If you take notice of the shapes of the entrance frames - Pistoletto is referencing various shapes present within Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man. Photos really don't do it justice so I would encourage you to watch the video below.

Michelangelo Pistoletto at Lévy Gorvy Gallery
Michelangelo Pistoletto at Lévy Gorvy Gallery
Michelangelo Pistoletto at Lévy Gorvy Gallery

Video of the Exhibit

To see a walkthrough of the exhibit, skip ahead to 6:43  in the video below. About the Artist - Michelangelo Pistoletto

About the Artist

Michelangelo Pistoletto is an Italian artist. He studied under his father who was an artist and attended Armando Testa’s advertising design school. He’s had an extremely long career (being born in 1933), and Lévy Gorvy gallery does a great job of providing an overview of it here. He’s known for being one of the main artists of the Italian Arte Povera movement

Michelangelo Pistoletto at Lévy Gorvy Gallery
Arte povera means literally ‘poor art’ but the word poor here refers to the movement’s signature exploration of a wide range of materials beyond the traditional ones of oil paint on canvas, bronze, or carved marble. Materials used by the artists included soil, rags and twigs. In using such throwaway materials they aimed to challenge and disrupt the values of the commercialized contemporary gallery system.” - The Tate (source
Michelangelo Pistoletto at Lévy Gorvy Gallery
“[Michelangelo Pistoletto’s] work mainly deals with the subject matter of reflection and the unification of art and everyday life in terms of a Gesamtkunstwerk.” (source)
Michelangelo Pistoletto at Lévy Gorvy Gallery

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