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Andy Warhol


Reflection of the year: 

“You no longer have the middle classes buying something beautiful to put on the wall and hang on to it. This is a thing of the past.”

After 2 years of doubts and uncertainty, and despite the war having a huge impact, 2022 marked a reversion to the pre-pandemic world, with renewed confidence in the art market, the launch of new art fairs, and the return of in-person exhibitions.

This year saw the comeback of Art BaselManifestaDocumenta, Venice Biennale, Istanbul Biennial, and several other international fairs. 

The 59° Venice Biennale “The Milk of dreams”, curated by Cecilia Alemani, closed in November its record edition: with more than 800thousand tickets sold, it’s the highest attendance in the 127 years of history of the Venice Biennale.


Whitney Biennial took place after a year of suspension due to COVID. Titled “Quiet as It’s Kept”, the 2022 edition featured an intergenerational and interdisciplinary group of sixty-three artists and collectives whose dynamic works reflect the challenges, complexities, and possibilities of the American experience today.

Two new art fairs were inaugurated this year: ‘Paris+, par Art Basel’, a new section of the Art Basel set at the feet of the Tour Eiffel, and the Frieze Seoul, the first Asian fair that included more than 118 galleries worldwide.

The auction houses are creating again, and in general, the art market is rising up, in a positive trend after 2 years of stasis.

Philips declared 2022 as “the best year ever”, with auction sales for $1.3 billion, the highest annual total in the company’s history for the second consecutive year, and has beaten the most valuable lot ever of the auction house: ”Untitled” by Jean-Michel Basquiat from the collection of Yusaku Maezawa, which made 85 million dollars.

With its 8.4 billion dollars made, Christie’s is the undisputed queen of international auction sales.

The first place on the podium was taken by Andy Warhol with the award of $195 million of his “Blue Marilyn”. In addition to being the most expensive work of 2022, it has become the most expensive American artwork ever sold and the most expensive work of the 20th century auctioned off.

Andy Warhol, Blue Marilyn


Second and third positions are still taken by Christie’s with “Les Poseuses, Ensemble (Petite version), 1888” by George Seurat, sold for $149,2 million, and “La Montagne Sainte-Victoire, 1888-90” BY Cezanne, sold for $ 137,7 million.

This year art world experienced two of largest and most exceptional art collections’ sales.
One was Macklowe collection auctioned in May, which generated $922 m,
the other one Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s collection sold in November for $1.5 bn, which became the biggest art sale in history, and setting numerous new auction records.

The only negative trend in auction selling is set by China, due to the zero-tolerance policy on COVID.

China, in fact, in the same period of 2020/2021 was the unchallenged leader of this segment while today it has lost the -33% and left the head of the market that has been regained by the United States, growing by +20%.

It was undoubtedly a banner year for the ultra-contemporary market and the under-40 artists.
The number of artists under 40 at auction increased fivefold and their turnover increased twenty-six times in just over twenty years and in the first half of 2022 stood at a record figure of 200.9 million dollars.

Lucy Bull had one of the most impressive auction debuts of the year: Special Guest (2019) sold for $907,200 at Sotheby’s in May. Anna Weyant had her breakthrough year, with 15 paintings sold at auction in 2022, ranging in price from $150,000 to $1.6 million. 

Rachel Jones is one of the most promising British artists working today; her works have been acquired by esteemed institutions worldwide, and her painting “Spliced Structure” broke the million-dollar mark and set the promising artist’s current auction record.

In “The Milk of Dreams” exhibition at the 59th Venice Biennale, one room was dedicated to Louise Bonnet’s Pisser Triptych”, a work with recalls religious iconography, apart for its subject matter: hulking bodies peeing. Bonnet’s work is becoming increasingly welcome beyond just institutional spaces.


Anna Weyant, Falling Woman, 2020

Courtesy of Sotheby’s


Lucy Bull, 8:50, 2020

Courtesy of Phillips


Rachel Jones, Spliced Structure (7), 2019

Courtesy of Bonhams


Louise Bonnet, Pisser triptych, Venice Biennial, 2022


Abstraction & Surrealism rising again

If in 2021, figuration was everywhere, but this year, the tide seems to be shifting and abstraction is taking over faces, objects, and recognizable objects. Paintings are still the favorites for collectors, but the trend seems to shift more to abstracted figures and metaphors.

For instance, at Gagosian’s Frieze London fair, abstract painter Jadé Fadojutimi’s works, each priced at £500,000 were sold out before the fair even opened.

Jadè Fadojutimi, There exists a glorious world. Its name? The Land of Sustainable Burdens, 2020


“The Milk of Dreams” exhibition at Venice Biennale presented the subconscious, the mythical, and the spectral through a female-led list of Surrealists like Jane Graverol, Unica Zürn, and Alice Rahon, alongside contemporary artists like Dora Budor, Marianna Simnett, and Raphaela Vogel, who explore those themes in new ways.


How about NFTs?

NFTs, a trend that I’ve talked about that seems to be taking over the world at the end of 2021, seems now like a big bubble ready to implode: if in February Pak’s “Clock” was sold for a record $53 million in Ethereum, and plenty of galleries moved to cater to this new segment of collectors, by May, much of the shine of blockchain-based works was depleted by the enormous crash in the prices of cryptocurrencies.

And the market for NFT’s collapsed as dramatically – sales volume stood at $9m in November, compared with $93m just sic months before.

Despite that, the art world continues to find ways to work with NFTs: Christie’s, for example, announced its new platform, Christie’s 3.0. 

Due to the inconstancy of this kind of currency, it’s hard to foresee what will happen to NFTs next year, so we must wait and see what will happen in 2023.


Ai & Art

On the other side of NFTs, there’s no doubt that AI is becoming increasingly more prevalent in the art world: algorithmic paintings are spreading all around, from social media to exhibitions in museums like the MoMA. AI-generated artwork is increasing and probably will mark a huge slice of the art market next years, whether the ethical implications are good or bad. 

With both NFTs and AI artwork, technology has now become intertwined within the art world. This is evidenced by the unprecedented popularity of online auctions, digital viewing rooms, and, of course, the growing role of social media in discovering art and artists.


The war in Ukraine

This year is marked by the war in Ukraine: since February 2022, every aspect of the worldwide economy and life has been touched by the conflict, including art.

Many NFT artists used the profits of their work to benefit war efforts in Ukraine, and many auction houses raised money to help in this time of difficulties. 

“Women at war”


In NY, at Fridman Gallery, “Women at War” featured works by a selection of the leading contemporary women artists working in Ukraine, and provides a context for the current war, as represented in art across media. Several works in the exhibition were made after February 24, 2022, when Russia began its full-scale invasion.

New York-based art dealer Cuban Fine Arts and EUASU (the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences in Ukraine)  started the project “Art Against War” to support scholars, journalists, photographers, and people in need due to the present conflict in Ukraine. The participants in the project are Ukrainian artists who express the courage and unity of the Ukrainian people through their art.

“In the Eye of the Storm: Modernism in Ukraine, 1900 – 1930s”, in Madrid, is an exhibition that collects early 20th-century masterworks from Ukraine’s National Art Museum left Kyiv shortly before the city was struck by the heaviest bombardment of missiles by Russian forces during the year. 

“Carousel” (1921) by David Burlier, a painter associated with the Futuristmovement.

Credit: National Art Museum of Ukraine


Also, at Venice Biennale, The Future Generation Art Prize @ Venice 2022 has been replaced by the collateral event “This is Ukraine: Defending Freedom”, in partnership with the Office of the President of Ukraine and Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine, presenting the work of contemporary Ukrainian artists whilst also contextualizing Ukrainian history and culture with support from international artists.

JR , Ukraine Defending Freedom, Venice Biennial, 2022


The future is female

Female artists utterly dominated the biggest contemporary art exhibitions and prizes in 2022. The Venice Biennale’s “The Milk of dreams”, curated by Cecilia Alemani, was dedicated to female artists, and the Golden Lion for best contribution went to Simone Leigh. The award for the best pavilion was won by Great Britain for an exhibition curated by Sonia Boyce, and the Golden Lions for Lifetime Achievement went to Katharina Fritsch and Cecilia Vicuña. 

Simone Leigh, Venice Biennial, 2022


The Turner Prize 2022 was won by Veronica Ryan ahead of Heather Phillipson, Ingrid Pollard, and non-binary artist Sin Wai Kin. 

The winner of the Marcel Duchamp Prize is the French Mimosa Echard, highlighting the increasing relevance of women in art.

A piece of huge news concerning international prices is that after 26 years, Guggenheim canceled the prestigious $100,000 Hugo Boss Prize.


New Museums

New museums opened this year for the very first time, despite the years of lockdown when this possibility seems to fade away. Not only Europe, but most of them are opening in Africa, India, Turkey and China.

The Instanbul Museum of Art  is set to enliven a seaside stretch that has also seen the recent opening of Galataport, a multipurpose development with a long pedestrian promenade along the 


Opened in November 2022, the Grand Egypt Museum in Giza is the biggest museum in the world dedicated to a single civilization.

In India, in Bengaluru, businessman Abhishek Poddar, known for his eclectic collection of art and photography, opened the Museum of Art & Photography. More than 18,000 of his own pieces will be on display here.

The Hong Kong Palace Museum houses nine galleries, full of rare books, traditional calligraphy and imperial treasures on loan from the Forbidden City in Beijing.



It’s been a  very good year for art, despite the war coming up after 2 years of uncertainty. Auction houses closed the year with a positive trend of profits. 

Surrealism ad abstraction is rising again, as seen in Venice Biennale. Female artists are more and more represented. 

Technology has now become irreversibly intertwined within the art world, both with AI-generated artworks and NFTs.

New museums are opening for the first time, marking a good signal for the world to reopen their frontiers to visitors and tourists.


“The Shades Of The Art Rainbow Are Endless: Choose Your Favorite!”

Art outside the museums

Part I

You don’t necessarily have to go to museums to experience the emotion transmitted by art because it blends into our daily lives.

It is with us every day and we can find it in the clothes we wear, in the design objects that decorate our homes and in the futuristic architecture of our cities.

Different areas mutually influencing each other have lost their boundaries: art offers an extraordinary contribution in almost all spheres of activity, inspiring various personalities such as architects, designers, stylists, graphic designers and advertisers.

Drawing on past or contemporary art contributes to the birth of unique and original creations, just think of the goals achieved by design: the balance between functionality and beauty brings it closer and equates it more and more often with contemporary art.

Even before responding to functional needs, modern buildings define a very precise image by getting closer and closer to the peculiar language of art in a dialogue between the two disciplines that is increasingly complementary, in total interpenetration.

In the new generation museums, the space that separates architecture from the work of art (the container from the content) is now eliminated, and the Guggenheim of Bilbao designed by Frank Gehry is emblematic of this radical change, a work of art in all respects and a tourist attraction that has become the symbol of the city.

The soft forms of the museum are a perfect example of deconstructivism, an architectural trend inspired by the works of Russian constructivists of the 1920s, who first broke the balance of the classical composition to create new geometries.

Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain


Art goes beyond tradition to support new ways of learning via the internet, and it is possible to visit museums, monuments and archaeological sites around the world for free and without leaving home.

The need to get a cultural experience at 360° also translates into the creation of virtual tours in many cities of art, the most recent promoted in Milan on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci.

Profiles and forms typical of art have not only entered architecture and design but – as we said – also fashion, making unique and original creative paths and exchanges.

Just look at the catwalks of recent years, full of tributes and references to art not only in clothes but also in scenography, often closer to artistic performance than to the presentation of seasonal collections.

The “museum” effect often accompanied the fashion shows of Dutch stylists Viktor & Rolf, from the homage to Van Gogh in 2014 to the clothes that recalled the action painting in the following year, but the most surprising was the collection dedicated to Picasso in 2016, when they literally transformed the models into living sculptures with asymmetrical monochrome looks so typical of Cubist works.

Viktor & Rolf, Haute Couture S/S 2015


Viktor & Rolf, Haute Couture F/W 2015-2016


Viktor & Rolf, Haute Couture S/S 2016


Picasso himself made his contribution to the world of fashion by creating a button for Coco Chanel and designing performance costumes for Diaghilev’s Russian Ballets – an occasion on which he met his future wife and muse Olga KhoKhlova.

Pablo Picasso, button created for Coco Chanel, 1920

Ceramic and enamel


Pablo Picasso, Curtain for the ballet “Parade” by Massine, 1917

Tempera on canvas, 1050 x 1640 cm

Centre Pompidou, Paris, France


Pablo Picasso, costume for the Chinese Conjurer for the ballet “Parade” by Massine, 1917

Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Theatre and Performance, London, UK


Moschino instead chose to give life to the most famous works of the Spanish painter –  from the pink to the blue period up to the Cubist abstractions –  in a S/S 2020 fashion show, to say the least, amazing.

Jeremy Scott’s models – between giant straps, gilded frames and decomposed woman profiles –  were perfect living works of art, personifications of the great master’s paintings.

Moschino, S/S 2020


The choice to pay homage and to be inspired by art does not only concern current events: in the past, great stylists have taken over famous artists and works, as in the case of Yves Saint Laurent with the “Mondrian Look” of ’66, a collection that incorporates the geometric designs by the Dutch painter who made history.

Yves Saint Laurent, “Mondrian Look”, 1966


About thirty years later, Gianni Versace paid homage to Andy Warhol with a great tribute on the occasion of the S/S collection of 1991, proposing the famous serigraphs of Marylin Monroe and other pop icons printed on polychrome silk dresses.

Gianni Versace, S/S 1991


Always Warhol – from ’62 to ’66 – in turn created a series of clothes inspired by his own works: “Fragile, handle with care” and “Campbell’s Soup Can” communicate the strong criticism towards the society, so typical of the production of the artist, who also manages to transform women’s clothes into a consumer icon. Perfectly in its style, art becomes merchandise and clothes become art.

Andy Warhol, “Souper Dress”, “Brillo” and “Fragile, handle with care”, 1962-66

Suits in paper, cellulose and cotton


The link between art and fashion is consolidated more and more, represented by frequent partnerships and collaborations between fashion houses and contemporary artists engaged in the creation of individual pieces or capsule collections: today the works of art can be seen on the covers of Vogue, in the videos of rappers like Jay Z, on Nike sneakers or Louis Vuitton bags.

Just the fashion house of Bernard Arnault’s LVMH group – which as we will see is strongly committed to promoting and supporting art – thanks to the creative director Marc Jacobs started a series of collaborations with various artists in the late 90s, including Cindy Sherman, Yayoi Kusama, Takashi Murakami and Richard Prince.

The Monogram bags have become some of the most iconic and best-selling fashion accessories of the decade, true works of art to wear, so much that the “Artistic collaborations exhibition” just ended at the Beverly Hills venue celebrated the 180 most charming models of all time of the House.

A collector Marc Jacobs, in turn, recently decided to sell part of his collection at Sotheby’s for New York auctions this November: over 150 works collected over 20 years, from the Impressionist masters to Andy Warhol via Ed Ruscha, the highlight of the collection.

Yayoi Kusama, handbag Monogram for Louis Vuitton, “Infinitely Collection”, 2012


Richard Prince, handbag “Monogram Jokes” for Louis Vuitton, Collezione S/S 2008


Alex Israel, handbag “ArtyCapucines” for Louis Vuitton, 2019


Staying in France, the Celine House has often distinguished itself for collections borrowed from the art world, such as the S/S 2017 line inspired by the famous anthropometric performances of Yves Klein.

The silhouettes of the models’ bodies are imprinted on white dresses like canvases in a shade that incorporates the International Klein Blue patented by the French artist.

In addition to this illustrious tribute, the fashion house has often collaborated with contemporary artists and the last in order of time is Christian Marclay for the S/S 2019 collection, an artist who was inspired by the world of music and comics for a collection who winks at rock.

Left: Yves Klein during a performance; right: Celine, S/S 2017


Christian Marclay for Celine, S/S 2019


Dior – in turn very active in the field of art – recently announced the collaboration with 11 female artists for the 3rd edition of Dior Lady Art, a collection that leaves carte blanche to the reinterpretation of the iconic bag.

This year also the Dior Men capsule was worked out by Kaws, redesigning the historic bee-shaped logo and transforming it into a witty cartoon in the style of the characters of his works.

Not new to experimentation even outside the strictly artistic sphere, Kaws had already collaborated with Nike, with Kenye West designing the cover of the album “808s & Heartbreak” and even in the graphics of the perfume “Love for fairer sex” by Comme Des Garçon in collaboration with the musician Pharrell Williams.

This is to show that the contaminations between different areas are always deeper and more complex.

Keith Haring, sneakers for Adidas


Album “The Velvet Underground and Nico”, 1967


For Marni too, the dialogue between art and fashion represents a continuous source of inspiration. Sally Smart, Ruth Van Beek and David Salle, Stefano Favaro and Christophe Joubert are some of the names related to the Italian house that has recently turned the spotlight on the theme of sustainability and the environment, a key to the reading clearly visible in the scenography of the last show and in the creations of the artists Shalva Nikvashvili and Kazuma Nagai for S/S 2020.

Sometimes collaborations also arise thanks to personal friendships, as in the case of Riccardo Tisci and Marina Abramovich, who on 11 September 2015 created the scenography of the parade to celebrate 10 years as creative director of Givenchy. The harsh setting between the skyscrapers of New York created with recycled materials was a metaphor for the reconstruction on the rubble, in homage to the symbolic date.

Marina Abramovic, catwalk created for Givenchy, S/S 2016, New York, 2015


When art and life intertwine, unique experiences are born, destined to make history, today as yesterday: in the 1930s Elsa Schiaparelli transposed the surrealist poetry on clothes and accessories thanks to her personal friendship with the artists of the calibre like Salvador Dalì, Man Ray and Jean Cocteau.

From these collaborations iconic pieces were born, such as the coat with drawer-shaped pockets designed by Dalì, inspired by the work “Venus de Milo with drawers” of 1936, the famous lobster print embroidered on the clothes or the hat in the shape of a shoe inverted (1933).

Salvador Dalì, “Skeleton” dress, 1938

Other creations by Salvador Dalì for Elsa Schiaparelli


Another current example of today is the link between the Venetian artist Nico Vascellari – Delfina Fendi’s partner – and the collaboration with the Italian fashion house, for which this year he played with the dualism of good-evil / light-dark, creating a walkway transformed into a sort of cave.

In 2018 Fendi sponsored the installation “Revenge” by Vascellari at Maxxi in Rome, thus strengthening the link with the capital and the world of art, increased in 2015 by the restoration of the Trevi Fountain and the opening in 2018 of Rhinoceros, the final seat of the Alda Fendi Foundation in a historic building renovated by Jean Nouvel.

The grand palace of art combines conservation and innovation by offering an avant-garde cultural laboratory in a neighbourhood that until today had not fully exploited its potential.

As we will see later, one of the many benefits brought by the foundations is starting the urban redevelopment processes: while in Milan Prada has rehabilitated an entire neighbourhood – in its wake, the ICA and numerous commercial activities have opened – in Rome the Alda Foundation Fendi turned the spotlight on one of the many places forgotten by the institutions.


“The Shades Of The Art Rainbow Are Endless: Choose Your Favorite!”

Do you have a sense of humor?


-Part I-

The sense of humour is a sign of intelligence. It is the art of those who model what they see with an elegant satire to make us reflect on deep concepts and existential themes, offering an original and less rigid view of the reality.

Using the sense of humour in a sophisticated and creative way is certainly an art, and the combination of art and humour makes our life more fun and enjoyable.

It all started with Marcel Duchamp and Piero Manzoni, illustrious forerunners of ironic thought and revolutionary ideas that were inspirational for the successive generations of contemporary artists.

Initiator of Dadaism, a leading figure in Surrealism and a precursor of Conceptual Art, Marcel Duchamp (France, 1887 – 1968) challenged social conventions and changed the concept of art by raising objects of common use to real artworks. His irreverent provocations have influenced the avant-garde art and anticipated many artistic movements of the second post-war period.

“Bicycle Wheel”, the first ready-made, dates back to 1913 and its destiny is to change the course of the history of art forever. The decontextualization of common elements provokes an alienating effect and a conceptual distortion: the bicycle wheel has lost its function and the stool on which it is placed is unusable.

The most famous intervention will remain “Fountain” (1917), a male urinal complete with the artist’s signature, the scandalous work caused a great sensation at the time, including in the title all the irony of the genius of the last century.


Marcel Duchamp, “Fountain”, 1917 Orinatoio maschile

Marcel Duchamp, “Fountain”, 1917
Male urinal


As for provocations, after the famous urinal there is “Artist’s shit” (1961) by Piero Manzoni (Soncino 1933 – Milan 1963) which is the most classic example of an artistic scandal, a work that had even caused a parliamentary question.
Besides the pure “thematic” coincidence, the two artworks cited are a cry of protest, a symptom of a strong reaction against the rules and the prevailing system of the time.
Art, which until then had been a carrier of meanings but mainly decorative and with a strong aesthetic function, now no longer worries about satisfying the sight but of conveying concepts and ideas, even of contestation.
Manzoni redefines the very boundaries of the work of art with an absolutely innovative creative freedom for the time, establishing itself as one of the protagonists of the international avant-garde and as one of the precursors of Conceptual Art. It is part of the informal nuclear movement from 1957 to 1959 and founded the Azimuth magazine with Enrico Castellani (1959-60), with which he also opened the Azimut gallery in Milan.
In the “Artist’s Shit” (“Merda d’artista”), in addition to the irony of the label that takes up the wording of any canned food, the conceptual provocation continues in the price given to the artwork, equivalent to that of gold per gram: in this way Manzoni associates two materials that are totally antithetical to each other but both full of meanings.
The controversy also refers to the art market and the arbitrary aesthetic value given to what is considered a work of art and also addresses the question between content and form.
Same as this work, his other works presuppose the concealment of the work of art, as in the case of the “Lines” (“Linee”), made between 1959 and 1961, which consists of a line drawn on a sheet of paper and its existence and length is certified only by the external label of the cylinder that contains it.
Always characterized by a strong irony and position, his work has embraced multiple forms of art: he took the challenge of happening and performance when he branded hard-boiled eggs to offer to the viewers with his fingerprints in “Consumption of dynamic art by the art-devouring public”.
He autographed the bodies of the models – “Living Sculptures” (1961) – bearing a regular certificate and delivery note, anticipating body art and also creating the largest sculpture in the world – an unbeatable primacy – placing a sort of base / pedestal with a reverse writing that reads: “Socle du monde” (“Base of the world”) (1961).
Today the “Achrome”, series begun in 1957, are in fact his most quoted works. With his monochromes Manzoni exceeds painting and limits his personal intervention: the kaolin-soaked cloth is left to dry letting the material modify itself over time.
The revolutionary significance of a genius, who died early, today is easy to guess, but in the 1950s and 1960s it was perhaps too early to receive the recognition he was due.
Hauser & Wirth dedicated a retrospective to his work – “Piero Manzoni: Lines” – running until 26 July in the New York office where 70 “Achrome” and 12 “Lines” are on display.


Piero Manzoni, “Merda d’artista”, 1961 Scatoletta di lattina, carta stampata, feci umane o gesso?

Piero Manzoni, “Merda d’artista”, 1961
Can of tin, printed paper, human faeces or chalk ?


Equally provocative and gifted with sense of humour is Salvador Dalì (Spain 1904 – 1989), the greatest exponent of Surrealism, famous also for the eccentric and bizarre personality that has poured into dreamlike works populated by deformed and disturbing animals and objects, fruit of the subconscious of the artist.
His early works are influenced by Cubism, Futurism and De Chirico’s works, to which he will add strong references to Freudian psychoanalysis. Eclectic and ingenious, Dalì has expressed himself in various fields, including cinema, photography and sculpture.
“The persistence of memory” (1931) is the surrealist artwork of excellence, the one with the presence of the famous soft clocks investigates and questions the claim to measure time in an objective and absolute way.
With the director Luis Buñuel he creates avant-garde short films such as “An Andalusian Dog” (1927), before a series of excellent cinematographic and theatrical collaborations: he will collaborate with Alfred Hitchock, Luchino Visconti and Walt Disney.
His unconventional style, his passion for luxury and excess have made him a worldwide celebrity, between unforgettable parties and wild cats kept as pets.
His extravagance has often been immortalized by Man Ray, but the lightness and irony of the Spanish genius are summarized in a photograph taken by Philippe Halsman in 1948: “Dalì Atomicus” – title referring to the nuclear explosion in Hiroshima and Nagasaki of 1945 – it is a real explosion that immortalizes flying cats, buckets of water and the artist suspended in mid-air in his intent of painting.
At the Grimaldi Forum in Montecarlo, an exhibition is underway that can be visited until September 8th, which brings together about 100 works covering the whole of his artistic career, from 1910 to 1983.


Philippe Halsman, “Dalì Atomicus”

Philippe Halsman, “Dalì Atomicus”, 1948
Silver gelatine print


The real trend of humour in the art world develops later with the Pop Art movement, born in England and the United States between the end of 1950 and the beginning of 1960. The concept of art itself is renewed, making it lighter and more ironic thanks to the appearance of flat and lively colours, to the reference to icons of cinema and comics. Pop Art — incisive and immediate — best expresses the collective imagination and the American society of the time, borrowing the language of mass media and advertising.
The cue therefore comes from everyday life and consequently even mass-market mass-produced products become true icons.
Impossible not to think of Campbell Soup cans or Coca Cola bottles reproduced in serigraphs by Andy Warhol (USA 1928 – 1987), according to which art is also consumed like any other product.
Thus reproducibility and obsessive repetition characterize his works which, like mass products – associated with consumerism – reflect American society. A leading exponent of Pop Art and an eccentric personality, Warhol has also made a name for himself for his unconventional lifestyle.


Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol, “Campbell’s Soup II“, 1969
Serigraphy on paper


The theme of reproducibility of the work of art was also at the centre of the research of Roy Lichtenstein (USA 1923 – 1997), another great exponent of the movement: the source of inspiration – the comics – also translates into an interest in the mechanical processes. Lichtenstein implements the inverse process in his works, that is, starting from a copy par excellence (a printed page) he creates an original, revolutionizing the expressive language of the era. During his career, Lichtenstein has explored various themes, some of which are typically American: from the Far West to the artistic expressions of Indians, from the economic boom to oriental landscapes.


Roy Lichtenstein

Roy Lichtenstein, “In the car“, 1963
Oil on canvas


Another great Pop Art performer is Tom Wesselmann (USA 1931 – 2004), famous for his “Great American Nudes”. His stylized and seductive female figures introduce eroticism into movement, at a time when the nude of a woman begins to become an advertising product that no longer makes a stir.
In 1970, Wesselmann exhibited “Bedroom Tit Box”, a box that brought together painted wooden objects. What is striking is the presence of a breast between an ashtray and a bottle of perfume: starting from this still life the artist will begin to depict details of female bodies.
In an interview he said: “Painting, sex and humour are the most important things in my life”.


Tom Wesselmann

Tom Wesselmann, “Smoker #3 (Mouth #17)”, 1968
Oil on canvas


Jeff Koons – eccentric personality and “enfant terrible” of contemporary art – has often been talked about for his controversial choices.
His earliest works date back to the late 1970s but it was in 1980 that Jeff Koons made his debut in the art world: he exhibited at the New Museum the installation “The New” in which he staged some vacuum cleaners, products of consumer goods in which the influence of Andy Warhol is very evident.
The theme of consumerism and the fulfilment of the senses also include the sexual sphere and his pornographic sculptures certainly require a great open-mindedness and a strong sense of humour, even if only to conceive the message.
Some of these are currently on display at the Jumex Museum in Mexico City until September 29th in the review curated by Massimiliano Gioni “Apariencia Desnuda”, and are combined with Duchamp’s works in an unpublished exhibition that highlights the conceptual affinities between the two art giants. They questioned the function of the objects and in both of them there is often a strong eroticism, also found in everyday objects: an evident theme in the voyeuristic work “The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even, The Large Glass” (1915 – 23) by Duchamp, who considered that desire is a source of creativity, as witnessed also by his alter ego Rrose Sélavy. Recurrent eroticism also in the works of Koons, who caused scandal with the 1991 series “Made in Heaven” created with his wife and porn star Ilona Staller.
It is the first major anthological exhibition presented in South America for both artists and the 80 works on display clarify the points of contact both in the challenge to conventions and in the distortion of the function of common objects.
Jeff Koons is the artist par excellence who has taken over and transformed the enchantment and childhood desire for games into a fetish for adults that reflects the extreme individuality of modern society hidden behind a trivial toy.
He is probably still celebrating the very recent record at auction that he – again – crowned the highest paid living artist in the world. “Rabbit“, a stainless steel sculpture from 1986 was sold last May for $ 91.1 million at a Christie’s auction in New York.


Jeff Koons

Jeff Koons, “Balloon Dog (Orange)“, 1994-2000
Mirror polished stainless steel with transparent color coating

Damien Hirst
(Bristol 1965), one of the founders of Frieze, is another “enfant terrible” of contemporary art: one of his goals is to amaze and shock the viewers and the public.
Hirst no longer seeks the manual skill of the author of the work of art but tries to convey ideas and create almost a brand, as Andy Warhol had done before him. He takes up the use of everyday objects and from Duchamp the ready-made, but he models and transforms them by transposing them onto living beings.
The leader of the Young British Artists has always focused on the reflections around the theme of death and has been especially noted for the works that have seen animal protagonists in formaldehyde or for the famous diamond-covered skull “For the love of God”, perfect combination of irony and macabre, object of desire and repulsion.
The exorcism of death through medicine took shape in works that reproduce mirrors of medicine with the pills on display as if they were precious stones, signifying an almost sacred admiration for remedies against death but also a reflection on today’s addictions.
Among these, smoking has a prominent place, also due to its close link with death, and it is no coincidence that Hirst has dedicated more than one work to it: among these “Party time” (1995) is a giant ashtray filled with cigarette butts and empty packages, almost a pool to throw yourself into.


Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst, “Lullaby Summer”, dettaglio, 2002
Glass, stainless steel, aluminium, nickel, bismuth and cast resin, coloured plaster and painted pills with dry transfers


On the close symbiosis between art and life, Yayoi Kusama (Japan 1929) has always moved, having lived voluntarily in a mental asylum in Tokyo for about 40 years.
Her works move between madness, fun and genius, thanks to their great power of interaction with the viewer.
She suffered from hallucinations from a young age, visions she transposed into her works, giving the viewers her vision of the world, full of suggestions. Not only obsessively repeated pumpkins and polka dots but also immersive installations such as the “Infinity Mirrors rooms” – rooms covered with mirrors that play with the thousand cross-references between pumpkins, polka dots and the reflected image of the viewers.
Obsessively repeated, the polka dots cover the furnishings of entire rooms or go to decorate tentacles sprouting from the floor and ceiling in installations that everyone likes.


Yayoi Kusama

Yayoi Kusama, “Infinity Mirrored Room – All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins”, 2016
Wood, mirrors, plastic, acrylic and leds


Another artist who engages us in a fun way playing with the sense of orientation is Carsten Höller (Brussels 1961), an artist who often creates playful works whose purpose is to activate all 5 senses in the viewers, triggering adrenaline and emotions linked to games. childhood, as in the case of slides.
The artist plays with the disorientation and explores the contradictions within us, as in the case of the work “Upside Down Mushroom” at the Fondazione Prada in Milan, which implements a reversal of reality.


Carsten Höller, “Upside Down Mushroom Room”, 2000
Fondazione Prada, Milano


Even Paul McCarthy (USA 1945) plays with the senses and with the subconscious of the viewer with provocative, disturbing, politically committed works, which aim at a critique of consumerism and to lay bare our fears and neuroses, unmasking the deceptions that lie behind the promise of the American dream.
Known for his vast and varied production that includes performance, photography, sculpture, film, multimedia installations, drawing and painting; at the beginning of his artistic career he tries to break the limits of painting by using unusual “materials” such as body fluids and food.
McCarthy appropriates icons of popular and childhood culture such as gnomes, Heidi, Santa Claus, Barbie reformulating them in a violent version and playing with the viewer’s subconscious.
Brutal, explicit and often repetitive images cause sensory overload by causing feelings of discomfort and disgust: the artist overcomes any taboo and breaks all social rules.
From the early 1980s McCarthy developed a series of collaborations with Mike Kelley, another artist linked to the counterculture: the synergy between the two leads to the creation of “Heidi”, a 1992 video that depicts the disturbing implications of the famous children’s story.


Paul McCarthy

Paul McCarthy, “White Snow” Dwarf, Bashful”, 2016
Silicone, fiberglass, steel


Like McCarthy, Mike Kelley (Detroit 1954 – Los Angeles 2012) has always been interested in American mass culture, examining it thoroughly to reveal hidden contradictions.
He explored various themes such as the relationships between different social classes, sexuality, religion, repressed memories and politics, making an incisive critique and a great deal of self-deprecating humour to these topics.
Especially known for his work with objects that evoke memories related to childhood and adolescence, such as stuffed toys, dolls and school photographs, throughout his career he has explored any type of medium: drawing, sculpture, music, video, shows, photography and painting.
In the project “Educational Complex” (1995) the artist analyses adolescent traumas and criticizes the rigid rules of society and the educational impositions to which we are forced to submit.
Among his best-known works “Deodorized Central Mass with Satellites” (1991-99), very colourful stuffed toys sewn together to form rainbow sculptures that at first glance evoke the magic of childhood.


Mike Kelley

Mike Kelley, “Deodorized Central Mass with Satellites“, 1991-1999
Mixed media installation: stuffed animals sewn over wooden and wire mesh frames with styrofoam packing material, fiberglass, car lacquer, metal hardware, nylon rope, pulleys

Claes Oldenburg
(Stockholm 1929) focused on the theme of consumerism and today’s eating habits and is famous throughout the world for monumental and amusing works that reflect a typically American imagery: from the shuttlecock for badminton to bowling pins, from the giant hamburger to the huge ice cream cone that fell on a skyscraper in Cologne.
His works are often strongly linked to the territory where the work is placed, as evidenced by “Ago, filo e nodo” (2000) created in collaboration with Coosje van Bruggen in Piazzale Cadorna in Milan, a tribute to the world of fashion and a clear reference to the underground lines in the colours used for the thread.


Claes Oldenburg,

Claes Oldenburg, “Dropped Cone”, Neumarkt Galerie Colonia, Germania, 2001
Stainless and galvanized steels, fibre reinforced plastic, balsa wood, painted with polyester gel coating


“The shades of the art rainbow are endless: choose your favorite!”



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Italian Auctions June 2018

The beginning of the month featured national auctions of modern and contemporary art, which achieved excellent results and confirm the market trend that sees the figurative and sculpture sector growing.

Il Ponte, thanks to a very accurate catalog edited by Freddy Battino, has achieved a remarkable result with sales that have exceeded 6 and a half million euros with a sales rate of 90% in lots and has also set new records for the artists Antonio Sanfilippo, Irma Blank, Mario Negri, Emilio Scanavino.

The latter with the work “Triumph of death” reached € 140,000 from a starting estimate of € 70-100,000.

During the auction, Palazzo Crivelli was crowded with collectors and dealers from all over the world and many foreigners also participated by telephone, especially from China, Japan and Russia.

Top lot of the evening “White surface – 2 – II” the work of 1977 by Enrico Castellani that from an estimate of 200-250 thousand euros has flown to 450 thousand euros including auction rights, a sale that suggests the recovery of the market of a great master who passed away recently.

Enrico Castellani, “White surface – 2 – II”, 1977

Acrylic on stretched canvas

100 x 120 cm


Emilio Scanavino, “The Triumph of Death”, 1961

Oil painting on canvas

200 x 300 cm


Blindarte of Naples (total auction € 1,400,000 including fees) stands out for two sales in particular: “Portrait of the Princess Giovanna Pignatelli d’Aragona Cortés”, the highly sought-after screen-print by Andy Warhol of 1975, which from an estimate of € 120,000-180,000 reached the 210,000 euros including fees.

“Opening”, the work of 1983 by Richard Hambleton, was awarded to an American collector for 185,000 euros (including fees) against the initial estimate of 7-10 thousand euros.

It can be said that he is one of the protagonists of the auctions of this spring, given that on 26 June another of his works, “As the world burns” will be auctioned by Artcurial for € 474,000 (price including expenses) with an initial estimate of just 120-150 thousand euros.

Andy Warhol, “Portrait of Princess Giovanna Pignatelli d’Aragona Cortés”, 1975

Acrylic and screen printing on canvas

66 x 56 cm


Richard Hambleton, “Opening”, 1983

Acrylic on canvas

217 x 139 cm


This also a very positive period for the auction house Wannenes Art Auctions, which closes at 1,147,410 euros including fees.

Also in this case, the sales confirm a growing trend for magic realism and figurative painting, as shown by the excellent result obtained by Antonio Vonghi’s “Vase of flowers” of 1936, which reaches 56,250 euros including fees, from an estimate of € 40-50,000.

Protagonist announced – the work was on the cover of the catalog – Alighiero Boetti, awarded for € 137,000 including fees with “Melting like snow in the sun”, small white embroidery from 1988: award record of the smallest work ever sold at auction and figure never reached by a total white Boetti on the public market. The tapestry started from an estimate of € 20,000-30,000.

Alighiero Boetti, “Melting like snow in the sun”, 1988

Embroidery on fabric

20 x 21,5 cm


Farsetti Arte di Prato, with its auctions held on 8 and 9 June, reached a total of 4,000,000 euros including fees.

Artists renown internationally, now historicized and representing a solid and safe investment, far from the cautious speculations of the art market, were presented at the auction.

Spearhead Alberto Savinio who, with the oil on canvas “Pégase”, is awarded 272,200 euros including fees, was initially estimated of 200-300 thousand euros.

The small work of mixed technique on paper by Alberto Burri, “Combustion T. n. 7″of 1959, as often happens, exceeded the maximum estimate reaching € 204,950, including fees.

Alberto Burri, “Combustion T. n. 7”, 1959

Paper, acrylic, vinavil, burning on paper

35,5 x 26,6 cm


Alberto Savinio, “Pègase”, 1930

Oil painting on canvas

74 x 92 cm


Pandolfini closed the auction on 11 June at € 1,201,542 including fees, and at 65% sale rate in lots.

Among the works on auction, three works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, typical “postcards” of the early 1980s depicting themes dear to the artist, were awarded for € 93,750, € 62,500 and € 131,250 respectively (lots 82-83-84; expenses included) for a total of almost 300,000 euros.

Sebastian Matta, the Chilean artist, a point of reference for Italian abstractionism, also reached excellent results with the work “Tu beninteso cascellato” of 1963 sold for € 56,250 from an estimate of € 40,000-60,000.

Mario Schifano reached 31,250 euros with the large work “Untitled” depicting palms and hearts.

The sculpture section features Giò Pomodoro’s bronze “Marat, volume sculpture ” was sold for € 47,500 from an estimate of € 40,000-60,000.

Sebastian Matta, “Tu beninteso cascellato”, 1963

Colored sand on canvas reproduced on panel

120 x 175 cm


Giò Pomodoro, “Marat”, volume sculpture, 70s


180 x 60 x 60 cm


Jean-Michel Basquiat, “Untitled”, 1982

Lot 82

Acrylic, oil and organic pigments on postcard

17,78 x 12,7 cm


Jean-Michel Basquiat, “Untitled”, 1981

Lot 84

Acrylic, oil and organic pigments on postcard

17,78 x 12,7 cm


Jean-Michel Basquiat, “Untitled (Everlast)”, 1982

Lot 83

Acrylic, oil and organic pigments on postcard

17,78 x 12,7 cm



The shades of the rainbow of art are infinite: choose your favorite!