Wednesday, 4 May 2005 marks the opening of the tenth International Modern and Contemporary Art Fair - MiArt - which runs from 5 through 8 May in a brand new venue: Pavilion 11 of the Fiera Milano trade fair complex.
To celebrate its tenth anniversary, MiArt has brought in a number of major changes: new interiors, a new exhibitor selection panel, an invitation to collectors to attend a preview of the show, and a packed programme of parallel events and artistic projects put together especially for the occasion both inside and outside the exhibition venue.
Of the over 200 exhibitors attending this year, the majority are from Italy, but MiArt 2005 has attracted a record number of non-Italian galleries, from Belgium, France, UK, Germany, Japan, Greece, Spain, USA, Sweden and Switzerland and, for the first time, Romania and Slovakia.
MiArt is Italy's most comprehensive exhibition-cum-art market, the only one featuring three separate sections covering the period from the traditional avant-garde movements to the most ground-breaking artists of today. The Modern art section is the realm of galleries presenting works and artists from the early Twentieth century to the 1960s'; the Contemporary art section is devoted to exhibitors who specialize in works dating back over the last few decades; the Anteprima section hosts galleries that specialize in emerging talents under the age of 35.
Art & Co. is a special exhibit that premiered successfully last year and includes galleries that sell modern and contemporary art, but with a definite accent on one-off works that straddle dividing line between art and design; names include the great masters from Giò Ponti to Corrado Levi, Giacomo Balla and Ettore Sottsass, Alessandro Mendini and Nanda Vigo.
The fair has moved to a new venue this year: Pavilion 11 of the Milan Fairgrounds (Porta Metropolitana entrance). The single-storey space covers an area of 24,000 square meters (258,333 square feet) and represents a superb example of industrial archaeology, with its iron pylons supporting roof spans measuring up to 16 meters (52.4 ft) across. The imposing hall, that was built in 1926 and used to be known as the Mechanics Pavilion, has an orthogonal floor plan that will guarantee equal visibility to every gallery. The new interiors will also add to the visual impact of the displays, which will have four-meter high display panels.
In another important development this year, the exhibitor selection committee, consisting of Claudia Gian Ferrari, Claudio Guenzani, Matteo Lorenzelli, Massimo Mininni, Marco Niccoli and Carla Pellegrini Rocca, has applied strict admission criteria to their selection of "show-worthy " Italian and overseas galleries.
In the Anteprima section of the event, the Province of Milan's Cultural Assets, Visual Arts and Museums Department, who first partnered MiArt last year, is back again with a section entitled "One-Man Show": fourteen monographic stands, featuring seven Italian artists and seven overseas artists, all under 35 years of age. The Provincial government was given the names of the seven Italian artists by several cultural associations that are active in the field of contemporary art in and around Milan, while the non-Italian names were put forward by some of the higher-profile galleries on hand at the Fair.
MiArt also includes a number of cultural events: Aldo Brandirali, the head of Milan City Council's Department of Sport and Youth Affairs, extended an invitation to Biennale directors from all over the world to attend a meeting at the fairgrounds on Friday, 6 May 2005 entitled Da est a ovest da nord a sud - Sguardo sulle Biennali del futuro - Creativita giovane a confronto (From East to West, from North to South - A glance at the Biennales of the future - An overview of young creativity). The meeting will be presented by Marina Mojana and coordinated by Michele Robecchi, and attendees will include critics and curators of "emerging Biennales" scheduled to take place in 2005 or 2006. The aim is to provide a progress report on preparations for these complex events, and to analyze any changes that may have materialized between the original intentions of the organizers and the final execution.
Guests include: Nicolas Bourriaud (Lyon Biennale), Massimiliano Gioni and Ali Subotnik (Berlin Biennale), Edi Muka (Tirana Biennale), Tirdad Zolghadr (Sharjah Biennale), Helena Kontova (Prague Biennale), Tiziana Casapietra and Roberto Costantino (Ceramics Biennale).
Marina Mojana from the Department of Sport and Youth Affairs, is also curating another event at MiArt: Scultura giovane a Milano (Young sculture in Milan) a collective by four young contemporary sculptors whose works are not on display in the Fair.
Saturday, 7 May: an international conference kicks off entitled Strategie e politiche di acquisizioni nei musei italiani e stranieri. (Purchasing strategies and policies in Italian and overseas museums); coordinated by Alberto Fiz the conference is open to the public at large and includes a round table discussion featuring panellists Gabriella Belli (Mart, Rovereto), Saskia Bos (De Appel, Amsterdam), Lars Nittve (Moderna Museet, Stockholm), Laurent Busine (MAC - Musee des Arts Contemporains, Hornu), Matt Gerald (Kunsthalle, Vienna), Eungie Joo (The Gallery at REDCAT, Los Angeles), Dominic Molon (Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago) Jonathan Watkins (Ikon Gallery, Birmingham), Peter Pakesh (Kunsthaus Graz, Landesmuseum Graz) Dieter Schwarz (Kunstmuseum, Winterthur), Helmut Friedel (Lenbachhaus, Munich), Ylmaz Dzievior (Kunstverein, Hamburg), Matthias Herrmann (Secession, Vienna), Friedemann Malsch (Kunstmuseum, Liechtenstein).
One of the highlights of MiArt's parallel events is an exhibit that opens on 27 April 2005 at the Palazzo delle Stelline in Milan: Beauty So Difficult is part of the contemporary arts agenda of the Lombardy regional government's Department of Cultures, Cultural Identity and Regional Autonomies in conjunction with the Stelline Foundation. With a title inspired by the famous verse by Ezra Pound, the exhibit is curated by Michele Robecchi and runs till 11 June 2005. The featured artists are: Pavel Braila, Alex Cecchetti, Chris Gilmour and Shirana Shahbazi.
Another project emphasizing the leading role that Milan will play in the art world during MiArt, is GallerieAperte, promoted by the Provincial government of Milan through its Councillor for Cultural Affairs, Cultural Diversity and Integration, Daniela Benelli. On 28 April 2005, city galleries participating in the event will offer late night opening hours during the week prior to the Fair, with numerous openings scheduled especially for the occasion.
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MiArt 2005X - Fiera Internazionale d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea
10th International Modern and Contemporary Art Fair
Fiera Milano, Pavilion 11