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Issue 278, May 2021 – The Art Issue

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The Art Issue of The Florentine offers insight into the layers of contemporary culture in Florence through interviews, news and articles. From Michelangelo’s artificial intelligence to forthcoming performance art at the British Institute and embracing outdoor spaces as spaces for creativity, our cover poses the question of What Constitutes Art? as we show David’s “twin”, a marble-dusted resin copy that is about to represent Italy at Expo 2020 Dubai.

©️ ph. Marco Borrelli for Nicola Salvioli

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What’s in the Art Issue of The Florentine

 

Cover story: David’s “twin” (Jane Farrell with photography by Marco Borrelli + Antonio Quattrone)

The most accurate reproduction ever of Michelangelo’s David is set to appear at the Expo 2020 Dubai, which has been rescheduled due to the pandemic.

 

 

Changes and discoveries at the Uffizi

Visitors returning to the Uffizi will find changes as Florence’s foremost museum expands its cultural offering.

Museums and cultural sites reopen in Florence

Now that Tuscany has returned to yellow zone status, Florence’s museums and cultural centres are reopening their doors to the public. This article is updated as announcements are made.

Postcards from Florence (Jade Cheli)

Postcards from Florence is a digital exhibition created by the students of Polimoda, which reflects the multicultural creative minds unique to Florence.

Best events this May (Jane Farrell)

From the Florence Korea Film Fest to the reopening of the Iris Garden, there’s much to look forward this month in Florence, yellow zone remaining…

Friends of Florence: ongoing projects (Simonetta Brandolini d’Adda)

“As Florence cautiously moves toward reopening its cultural institutions, Friends of Florence’s work safeguarding the city’s artistic and architectural treasures has continued, albeit at a slightly slower pace per Covid-19 protocols.”

 

The artistic resistance of Missive Selvatiche (Lauren Mouat)

From a handful of artists seeking to combat the depression of lockdown, Missive Selvatiche is now in its third edition, incorporating the work of over 150 artists in 1,500 packages, always delivered to complete strangers.

Reading matters (Jane Farrell)

As we all seek ways to stay connected to each other and to Italy, new publications have emerged in recent months, giving us plenty to sustain our appetites.

Play after lockdown: A tragicomedy on European crises and non-European sanctuaries (Jamie Mackay)

On Saturday, May 8, Fiesole’s Teatro Romano will be the stage for Time to Retreat?, a satirical play by two EUI students about “a burned-out EU president” named Christine.

Marisa Garreffa: Storytelling as an act of healing (Helen Farrell)

The Perth-born performance artist and pillar of the community talks about arriving in Florence and her current projects.

Giulia Peyrone: art where it’s least expected (Jane Farrell)

Contemporary artist and designer Italian-Thai artist Giulia Peyrone talks us through her large-scale installations beside the Ponte Vecchio and piazza de’ Pitti in a somewhat unusual setting: construction sites.

New revenue streams for artisans (Artisan Quarter)

The Artisan Quarter Association was founded to raise awareness of the deteriorating situation in the Oltrarno and to privately fund support efforts through donations.

Cecilia Cosci: Redefining Renaissance art (Jade Cheli)

Born and raised in Florence, Cecilia Cosci brings her strikingly modern take on Renaissance art to the Oltrarno’s Tobian Art Gallery this May.

Omar Galliani: Stolen Kisses

The new exhibition by Emilian artist Omar Galliani, scheduled to be held at Tornabuoni Arte from May 13 to July 2, aims to be a powerful expression of symbolism.

Restoring the Archangel: Mircea Maria Gerard Foundation (Helen Farrell)

The conservation and restoration of the Archangel Raffaele e Tobiolo, which Giovanni Baratta sculpted between 1696 and 1698, has proven a months-long labour of love for the Mircea Maria Gerard Foundation and an international team of women restorers.

Art courses online and in-person (yes!) to inform and inspire

As we begin to peer hopefully back into illustrious halls, ensure that you’re as knowledgeable as possible with art courses to make the most of your upcoming gallery explorations.

 

Room for art: residencies at Hotel Torre Guelfa 

Hotel Torre Guelfa decided to make its rooms available to young local artists. Shuttered for several seasons due to the ongoing health emergency, the third floor of Palazzo Acciaiuoli is now an arts residency for a handful of Florentine creatives struggling to work in these months of unending confinement.

In the gallery, at home, with Christian and Florence Levett (Helen Farrell + Linda Falcone)

Former investment manager, now full-time art collector Christian Levett and his wife Florence recently moved to the city. Their central Florence home is an inspiring gallery in its own right, hung with abstraction art by women artists, alongside classical busts and lovingly framed family photos.

The artists among us (Hershey Felder)

“Daniel looks at his image in the mirror. Then very carefully, and very specifically, he paints one stroke, and Daniel the man is no longer before me. Instead he is looking at me alive and breathing out of the canvas itself.”

Storm clouds on the horizon: Lewis Hammond at the Casa Masaccio (BHMF)

Black History Month Florence takes us on a tour of the exhibition by the young yet seasoned British artist Lewis Hammond with his first Italian institutional exhibition While We Were Sleeping at the Casa Masaccio in San Giovanni Valdarno, curated by Rita Selvaggio.

Michelangelo AI (Harry Cochrane)

“I was brought up as a Luddite and a technophobe, so my feelings about artificial intelligence have always pitched somewhere between scepticism and dystopian alarm. My first question, therefore, is expressly conceived to confound Michelangelo AI…”

All the lost albums (Michelle Davis)

A few musicians braved the pandemic void by injecting some beauty into this uncertain world with new releases, and Tuscany has its fair share of pandemic paladins.

 

Places to picnic (Jane Farrell)

We’ve always been fans of picking up a panino and chowing down on the nearest panchina (bench). Now our need for nature is stronger than ever as spring fills the air and we can’t resist a leisurely afternoon spent picnicking in one of Florence’s green spaces. Here we take you through a few where you may not yet have laid out your picnic blanket, as well as the popular spots that are firm favourites for Florentines and Florence aficionados.

TYPIQO: quality bites (Helen Farrell)

It takes guts to open a business during a pandemic, but Antonio Badalamenti has shown he can stomach it.

St. Mark’s English Church (Deirdre Pirro)

“By 1906, the original St. Mark’s building proved too small for the growing congregation, so a church member, Thomas Brocklebank, bought the adjoining building and gifted it to the church.”

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