Today, Milan-based contemporary art and culture magazine, agency and exhibition space Kaleidoscope is moving home, having spent its first five years of existence in the Porta Venezia area as one of the most cutting-edge platforms for international art. In the run-up to art fair MiArt in March, this week’s Art Top Ten takes a look at how young, experimental and artist-run initiatives in Milan are helping shape the future of the Italian art scene and beyond. From long-term residencies to online galleries, shop-window exhibitions to pizza-fuelled screenings, here are ten of the most interesting art spaces the city has to offer in 2014.
The Kaleidoscope HQ - now on Via Macedonio Melloni - serves both as the editorial office of the magazine / art agency and as an art space in its own right. Kaleidoscope Project Space offers a programme of exhibitions, events, book launches, lectures and screenings that reflect the timely and informed content of the magazine, homing in on the most exciting up-and-coming artists. Forthcoming events include a series of video screenings to coincide with the launch of Kaleidoscope's new online platform for moving image, Kaleidoscope Videoclub.
Including Marlie Mul, Benjamin Valenza and Timur Si-Qin among their array of represented artists, directing duo Angelica Bazzana and Valentina Suma always seem to have something interesting on the go at out-of-town gallery Fluxia. Current show Material Memory (until 8 March, 2014) - including work from Olga Balema and Anne de Vries - will be followed by an exhibition curated by Alex Ross, featuring work by two artists that we just can’t get enough of: Olivia Erlanger and Andrew Norman Wilson.
Gloria Maria Gallery really smashed it with its programme of shows from 2009 to 2013, with a lean towards artists exploring digital technologies. Formerly located on Via Watt, it now exists solely at www.gloriamariagallery.com - which is fine by us as it means we get to see things like Paul Flannery’s Fun Autobahn (24 January - 3 April, 2014) - the gallery’s first online exhibition - and reams of Brenna Murphy’s mystical labyrinths (4 April - 23 May, 2014) without moving from the sofa.
Based within established gallery Fonderia Battaglia, Peep-Hole is a contemporary art centre that aims to strengthen connections between artist and viewer with its exhibitions, publications, lectures and talks. Having ended 2013 with an exhibition by the ever-intriguing Trisha Baga, it is currently showcasing two exhibitions: Fartchitectures by Andra Ursuta and Level by Giorgio Andreotta Calò (until 8 March, 2014). One of many ongoing projects up their sleeves is a collaboration with DRY on Via Solferino, where cocktails and pizza can be consumed alongside video work from young Italian artists.
The same Giorgio Andreotta Calò is represented by Zero, one of the best commercial galleries for young artists in Milan. Based on Via Tadino in the city’s north-east, Zero has produced a string of noteworthy experimental shows and is set to be a longstanding contributor to the Milanese young art scene, having opened back in early 2009.
Non-profit art space Gasconade specialises in 1980s-born, Milan-based artists and their international peers. Since opening in 2011 in a space shared with the equally great VAVA, it has gathered an impressive timeline of shows by some of the most promising artists at the forefront of Milan’s art scene, including Andrea Romano with his memorable exhibition of malformed tigers, Claque & Shill. When not putting on brilliant exhibitions, Gasconade is busy orchestrating live music events and off-site projects internationally. Current show Che Cattiva, Katie Fox! by Beatrice Marchi closes this Saturday, 15 February.
Among the more high-profile of Milan’s new-art enterprises, Brand New Gallery is a platform for artists known internationally but making their debut in Italy with site-specific projects. Shakti (until 8 March, 2014) is a positive eye-fest, bringing together 25 artists including Amanda Ross-Ho, Kate Steciw and Letha Wilson. Represented artists include Joshua Abelow and Egan Frantz.
Young owners Federica Zambon and Simona Citarella founded WOKstore in 2007 and it has since gone from strength to strength, presenting in-store art and fashion exhibitions alongside its products, with a very international scope. The pair often collaborate with London’s like-minded JaguarShoes, letting Will Sweeney and Matt Furie loose to create sprawling artwork across the walls and windows of the shop, which sits in the central Navigli area. Last month saw the shop transformed once more with live painting by Parisian graphic artist 2SHY. Alongside the frequently changing artwork, some pretty nice clothes by the likes of Shallowww, Reebok and Julian Zigerli are on offer in their temporary showroom, WOKroom, which last year hosted Japanproxy, a platform for promoting the work of young Japanese fashion designers.
VIR is a non-profit residency programme which offers artists, critics and curators a chance to spend a period of research and work in Milan, finishing with an ‘Open Atelier’ exhibition. At its site in the north of the city there are four apartments for residents to stay in, each consisting of a kitchen and study/sleep room, in which artists can experiment, collaborate and share ideas. The programme is open to all nationalities and ages.
Energetic artist-led space MARS has been running since 2008, powered by a vast number of young Italian artists keen to nurture and promote home-grown talent. The sheer quantity of exhibitions they have put on in admirable, but the sustained quality of the shows sets it apart from other enterprises of this kind and its latest exhibition, Arend Roelink’s The Stones In The Sky Never Worry, is no exception.