“Margherita Stein: Rebel With A Cause” at Magazzino Italian Art, Cold Spring, New York
The new warehouse art space in Cold Spring opens with ‘Margherita Stein: Rebel With A Cause’—an exhibition dedicated to the leading Arte Povera pioneer.
Magazzino, the new private warehouse art space in the Hudson Valley devoted to Postwar and Contemporary Italian art, officially opens to the public with an inaugural exhibition paying homage to Margherita Stein. ‘Margherita Stein: Rebel With a Cause’ celebrates the historic founder of Galleria Christian Stein (Turin, Italy), one of the pioneers of the Arte Povera movement. The exhibition focuses on honoring Stein’s legacy in the United States by fostering a renewed dialogue around Post-war Italian art.
“We are delighted to be opening Magazzino in the Hudson Valley,” states Director Vittorio Calabrese. ‘Margherita Stein: Rebel With a Cause’ not only focuses on the core group of artists associated with the Arte Povera movement but also incorporates artists from the generation that followed. Almost all the works in the show have never been previously exhibited in the United States. We are not presenting the works chronologically, but rather want to highlight the individuality of each artist’s distinctive approach. What unifies them is the relationship to Stein, whose support of these artists was unflinching for over 40 years. Our goal is to support Italian art, as well as international contemporary artists with strong ties to Italian culture with the same vigor as Stein demonstrated during her lifetime.”
Located in Cold Spring, New York, Magazzino will display works from the Olnick Spanu Collection, with the mission to create further recognition of Post-war and Contemporary Italian Art in the United States through its exhibitions and programs. The building itself draws architectural components from the existing structure— originally designed as a farmers’ warehouse, then converted to a dairy distribution center and most recently a rugged computer factory—repurposed within a larger design conceived and led by Spanish architect Miguel Quismondo. Quismondo doubled the square footage of the former space by completing the original L-shape into a rectangle, leaving a courtyard in the center, and creating a dialogue between the existing and the new addition. The state of the art facility features more than 18,000 square feet of exhibition space as well as a library, which will comprise more than 5,000 publications on Italian art. The library will be accessible free of charge, by appointment to residents, students, scholars or anyone who wishes to conduct research in this field.
“The project pays tribute to Magazzino’s name – magazzino means “warehouse” in Italian – by reiterating its integrity as an industrial warehouse,” explains Quismondo. “The existing building has been stripped to its basic components, while the addition is built with structural cast-in-place concrete and metal girders, creating a modulated repetition. The balance of natural light, the contrasting shell and versatile height of the new component establishes a harmonious dialogue between the existing and the addition.”
‘Margherita Stein: Rebel With a Cause’ displays a curated selection of approximately 70 art works created by artists whose careers Stein fostered. Margherita Stein was born and raised in Turin. In 1966, when she decided to open her own gallery, she assumed the alias “Christian Stein”, borrowing her husband’s first and last name
in order to gain acceptance in the Italian art world. Due to her passion for art and exquisite aesthetic eye, she went on to become one of the leading Italian gallerists of her generation. Throughout her career, Stein was dedicated to supporting artists associated with Spatialism, the Zero Group and most significantly, Arte Povera, bringing early recognition to this movement, first in Italy and Europe, and later in the United States. Continuing this mission, Magazzino’s inaugural presentation and programming aims to further the historical dialogue and research on Italian art, both past and present.
Italian art critic and curator Germano Celant coined the phrase “Arte Povera” for his celebrated 1967 exhibition at La Bertesca gallery in Genova. Meaning “poor art” in Italian, the phrase grew out of the radical stance artists were taking in response to
their dissatisfaction with the values established by political, industrial and cultural institutions. The movement features impressive sculptural installations, illustrating artists’ preoccupation with history and myth and their preference for humble, mundane materials. These young Italians opposed the commercialization of the art object and aimed to eradicate the boundaries between media as well as between nature and art. For several years, Stein’s gallery was in her home, where she could live with her art, and where many of these artists would come to participate in philosophical debates on the changes that were taking place in contemporary art. Her commitment to their vision has proven to be an essential part of the history of Arte Povera.
Based on Stein’s legacy, the inaugural display at Magazzino will showcase over four decades of historic works by artists including Giovanni Anselmo, Alighiero Boetti, Pier Paolo Calzolari, Luciano Fabro, Jannis Kounellis, Mario Merz, Marisa Merz, Giulio Paolini, Pino Pascali, Giuseppe Penone, Michelangelo Pistoletto, and Gilberto Zorio, as well as Marco Bagnoli, Domenico Bianchi and Remo Salvadori, representing the next generation following Arte Povera.
In October, a photographic publication will be launched, documenting the construction of Magazzino from start to finish, by photographer Marco Anelli. Anelli’s work, titled Building Magazzino, portrays the workers on site through the realization of Quismondo’s design that transformed an industrial space into one dedicated to Italian art.
Magazzino’s mission, though, is not just to promote Italian art and Italian contemporary artists, but to exhibit works that start a wider conversation about Italy and its cultural identity. For instance, Magazzino sponsored a project by Melissa McGill, an artist based in the Hudson Valley, whose last project, “The Campi”, was shown in various venues during the opening of the 2017 Venice Biennale. The Campi is a sculptural sound project that invokes the Venetian squares, reproducing the sound and therefore the life of these iconic cultural centers. Magazzino will continue to support offsite projects by established and emerging artists both in Italy and the U.S.