Author: Martin Holman

Martin Holman is a British writer and former Florence resident who returns frequently to the city. He is co-selecting an exhibition in London next year to trace the impact of Arte Povera on British artists.
September 11, 2014

Where form and content meet

Giuseppe Penone, for four decades one of contemporary art’s leading figures, has long sought to bridge the gap that consumerism has opened between our experiences of art and nature. With Florence’s unique skyline for background, the enclosed natural setting of the Boboli Gardens and Forte di
July 3, 2014

Flying the flag of a new world

The careers of artists Dadamaino and James Lee Byars began in the late 1950s. There is no record that they met in life or that either was familiar with the other’s work before Byars died in 1997 and Dadamaino in 2004. But two exhibitions in Florence help to
May 8, 2014

Loving the centenarian

As the Institute approaches its centenary in 2017, The Florentine meets Julia Race, director since last August, to explore the opportunities and challenges of being 100 years young in the era of online learning, virtual travel and widespread cultural tourism.   Martin Holman: You are no stranger to Italy, having
April 3, 2014

The ties that grind?

Questions about the family as an institution regularly fill the pages of newspapers and magazines as well as the airwaves. So it is not surprising that artists around the world are participating in the debate. Inevitably, questions outweigh answers, but since the arts excel at testing theories and inverting assumptions
February 27, 2014

Leaving his trace in time

The small, edicola-sized interior of BASE Progetti per l’Arte in via San Niccolò provides unexpected proof that ‘precious things come in small packages’. In spite of its tiny setting—or, maybe, because of it—this non-profit-making exhibition space is probably
December 12, 2013

Florence greets its new Viola

Before being installed in the Vasari Corridor, a recent addition to the Uffizi’s unrivalled collection of artists’ self-portraits is about to go on view at San Pier Scheraggio, the former church enclosed within Palazzo Vecchio. The subject of the work is American video artist Bill Viola,
November 21, 2013

Live in your head

Although Florence is a cultural capital with few equals on the planet, its immense historical legacy has tended to overshadow the place that contemporary art occupies in the city. Yet as recently as the 1960s and 70s, Florence was acknowledged as an avant-garde centre for visual arts and architecture
November 7, 2013

Crossing the line

Italy is confronting the impact of migration. Although less than 9 percent of its population was born outside the country (below the average for European Union member states), immigration has risen dramatically since 2001 and poses questions about national borders as populations move in search of prosperity and security. The
June 20, 2013

Like a journey with no exit

The 55th Venice Biennale for visual art comprises 88 national pavilions located in every part of the city, each hosting its own exhibition. At the Biennale’s centre, in the Giardini and Arsenale, is the headline exhibition, The Encyclopaedic Palace, which alone includes 158 artists. In addition, 50 shows,
May 9, 2013

Beholder beware

Beauty is a concept not immediately associated with visual art in the modern era. Although some artists pioneered the sublime detachment of abstraction, others appeared more concerned with the turmoil, grittiness and uncertainty of existence. Indeed, many practitioners may even have regarded the pursuit of beauty as irrelevant, even irresponsible.