Author: Martin Holman

Martin Holman is a British writer and former Florence resident who often returns to Italy. He is a regular contributor to Art Monthly and the Burlington Magazine.
November 18, 2021

Exhibition review: Jeff Koons. Shine at Palazzo Strozzi

In an interview a few years ago Jeff Koons insisted that “I’ve made what The Beatles would have made if they had made sculpture”. While that claim will not help us understand The Beatles, it does much to explain Koons. As the major exhibition of his sculpture and painting at Palazzo Strozzi shows, he is […]
October 30, 2019

The father and son who left their mark

Florence is famous as an epicentre of artistic revolution and the Renaissance is justifiably the best known. Even in the last century, the city contributed a cultural tremor when the Futurists gathered at literary coffeehouse Le Giubbe Rosse.             Less famous and less rancorous were the painters who, 150 years […]
September 30, 2019

Natalia Goncharova at Palazzo Strozzi: exhibition review

“This woman drags the whole of Moscow and the whole of St Petersburg behind her; they don’t just imitate her work, they imitate even her personality.” Praise of that stature is rare for an artist at any time. But these words of Sergei Diaghilev, the great ballet impresario, were spoken in 1913 and they acknowledged […]
September 19, 2019

Ping! Who’s there?

Ian Kiaer is a British artist who has exhibited throughout Europe and North America. In 2009, he was accorded a one-man show at Turin’s prestigious GAM, Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna, and last year one leading public venue in Paris invited him to show. His next stop will be Germany, but until late September he has […]
July 17, 2019

Art beneath an arched brow

Ralph Rugoff, the US curator behind the centrepiece exhibition at this year’s Venice Biennale, believes in the potential of art. “An exhibition,” he declares, “should open people’s eyes to previously unconsidered ways of being in the world and thus change their view of that world.” To that end, he has brought together 83 artists from […]
October 4, 2018

Abramović: the artist who made a Hell’s Angel weep

The single constant presence in the work of Marina Abramović is the figure of the artist herself. For more than 40 years, her body has been exposed to an alarming range of shocks, challenges and hazards. “I test the limits of myself in order to transform myself,” she explains and at Palazzo Strozzi, in a […]
December 8, 2017

The Radical Renaissance

As well as the calamitous flood, late 1966 saw the emergence of ground-breaking ideas about architecture in Florence. The spirit of collaboration that lifted the city’s treasures out of the disaster also released outstanding creativity from young architects and designers. They worked collectively in groups and Florence became the centre of their radical activities—“radical” because […]
May 31, 2017

Has the Venice Biennale missed the point?

Standing at over 20 metres and with its gilded surface, The Golden Tower by the American conceptual artist James Lee Byars is hard to miss. Until November 26, this elegant column rises with simple perfection from the pavement of Campo San Vio as if to connect the teeming streets around the Grand Canal in Venice—and […]
March 30, 2017

“I think in images”

Although Bill Viola’s installations employ innovative sophisticated video and computer equipment, the great themes he explores are ancient and universal. What’s more, during the past two decades, this internationally acclaimed American has established himself as one of the few contemporary artists to break through to mainstream audiences. While his electronic medium is cutting edge and […]
January 12, 2017

When Rauschenberg reached the depths

As an artist, Robert Rauschenberg’s radical objective was to operate “in the gap between art and life”. His work crossed boundaries and a major retrospective at London’s Tate Modern (touring to New York and San Francisco) confirms that, although he died in 2008, this innovative figure remains a strong influence, especially on young artists. But […]