Roman series: the new venue of the Fondazione Prada will open in Milan under the influence of classic sculptures

Nothing has been officially confirmed yet, but rumours say that the opening exhibition of the new Fondazione Prada in Milan, spring 2015, will be dedicated to the classical art, questioning the idea of copies produced during the Roman Empire to accomplish the collector’s recent interests. The show will be called “Roman series”, and it follows the recent fascination collector Miuccia Prada and her husband has been having for antiques and fine arts. This new trend of the Italian art collectors was announced last November by the surprising interview published on Flair, an Italian men’s fashion magazine, that her protégé Francesco Vezzoli gave to Antiono Paolucci, former Italian Ministry of Culture now directing the Musei Vaticani.


Actually it would be hard to say if the collector had been influenced by the artist or vice-versa – the project Vezzoli did with Prada in Paris a few months before that interview, the so called 24h Museum, needs also to be mentioned. But this rediscovery and “conceptualization” of the classics – according to art history a typical side effect of every time’s big crisis – has been setting the trend since 2011, when curator Bice Curiger introduced her exhibition for the Venice Biennial with three canvases by Tintoretto. At that time emerging artist from Cyprus Haris Hepaminonda was thrilling the art scene making collages with ancient Greek art history’s books and mixing them with geometric and mysterious lines. Then another show curated by Bice Curiger came about, the Riotous Baroque: from Cattelan to Zurbaran, at the Guggenheim Bilbao, 2013. The same year, in June, Jeff Koons presented the public a new series of sculptures dedicated to the classical mythology at David Zwirner in New York; in that year we shall remember also the Elmgreen&Dragset’s show titled “Tomorrow” at the V&A, under the direction of Martin Roth. Some lateral events related to this trend have been the “Arte torna arte”, a contemporary art exhibition at the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Florence, where the David by Hans Peter Feldman has been provocatively put on show (2012); or, more recently, the exhibition of Renaissance bronzes of the Hill collection at the Frick and the one of the Ulla and Richard Dreyfuss-Best’s collection at the Guggenheim in Venice (both in 2014).


One may argue that the relation between avant-garde and the art of the past is a constant in art history; however it is a matter of fact that this constant is now more influential than it was at the early beginning of the third millennium. So keep the eyes wide open and don’t miss the Biennale des Antiquaires at the Grand Palais in Paris from 11 to 21 September. It’s very likely you will bump into a lot of contemporary art there.

September 7, 2014