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.
The show highlights common themes in Pistoletto’s work throughout six decades: perception, time, history, tradition, and the relationship between art, artist, and viewer.
The first floor of the gallery contains a variety of mirrors.
“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
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.
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.
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.
On the third floor, there’s a piece titled ‘Porte Uffizi’ that consists of a number of rooms.
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.
“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
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.
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.
“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’s] work mainly deals with the subject matter of reflection and the unification of art and everyday life in terms of a Gesamtkunstwerk.” (source)