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News in brief to recount an Italy on the move between economy, lifestyle and culture
“MARISA MERZ, THE SKY IS A GREAT SPACE”
This is the title of the first major retrospective in the United States of the Italian painter, sculptor, and installation artist Marisa Merz - born in Turin in 1926 -, a protagonist of the Arte Povera movement. This avant-garde movement came forward in the 1960s embracing “poor” materials — tree branches, used clothes, dirt, ropes, rocks, industrial detritus — to reject Italy’s postwar material wealth and the sterility of consumer culture, to negate the existing codes and art world limitations and to respond to American Pop and minimalism. Her early work begun as an elaboration of her domesticity, with soft yet sharp-edged tangles of metal sheets that first hung from the ceiling of her kitchen in the mid-1960s, and the group of delicate but powerful objects made from nontraditional materials such as copper wire and knitting needles. In the mid-1970s, Merz began sculpting a series of small heads – Teste -, which have become emblematic of the artist and her more recent work. Today, Merz is still at work, in her home town of Turin, at ninety-one. The exhibition - curated by Connie Butler, Chief Curator from Hammer Museum, and Ian Alteveer, Curator from the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art – on show at the Met Breur, in New York, until May, 24th, showcases five decades of Merz’s work to explore her talent and influence. It features her early experiments with nontraditional art materials and processes, her mid-career installations that balance intimacy with impressive scale, and the portrait heads she created after the mid-1970s.
AN ACADEMY TO HONOR THE ITALIAN “PANINO”
Pizza, pasta with tomato sauce and cappuccino widely represents Italy abroad, but what about the one that Italians consider the most iconic street food? In the sixties and seventies the panino (stuffed bread-roll) was a symbol of freedom to be enjoyed on the go and also a speedy symbol of rebellion to traditional rhythms. Today it is a tasty and healthy option for a quick lunch break in front of the PC, or while going from one appointment to another. As Anna Prandoni, director of Panino Italiano magazine, says “food to be successful must have five characteristics: it must be healthy, tasty, pleasing to the eye, cheap and easy to consume” and the Panino has them all.
These are the grounds on which the cultural foundation Accademia del Panino (stuffed breadroll academy) is working to promote the panino as one of the icons of the Made in Italy. The academy has been conceived by Elena Riva and Antonio Civita - entrepreneurs behind the brand Panino Giusto -, who involved as consultants the panino expert Alessandro Frassica, the baker and wheat scholar Davide Longoni, the starred chef Claudio Sadler and the “gastronaut” Davide Paolini. Based in Milan, the Accademia del Panino is an integrated project which provides a professional cooking school - with courses for enthusiasts and insiders who will become Panino Master, Panino Gourmet and Panino Artist -, a thematic library with about 1,500 titles, and the paper magazine “Panino Italiano”. The academy has also devised a beautiful exhibition and an app to geolocate the best panino searching by location and by ingredients.
NAPLES AFRAGOLA STATION IS ONE 2017’S MOST ANTICIPATED OPENINGS
According to journalist Kate Springer, from CNN “Zaha Hadid Architects’ Napoli-afragola High Speed Train Station is set to redefine rail travel, at least stylistically, with its sculptural white facade that resembles a snake”.
The inauguration is scheduled for June, while for the completion of all the services we will have to wait until the end 2018. Naples Afragola station has been designed by Anglo-iraqi architect Zaha Hadid, who recently passed away, and, thanks to its architecture and innovation, is considered among the most beautiful works of 2017.
The new station will be a bridge over the tracks, in this way the wide passage needed to connect the various platforms is transformed into the main passenger tunnel, nothing less than 350 meters long. The main hall is designed as a large bright atrium with a 5000 square meters stained-glass window that allows the controlled diffusion of direct sunlight. Here passengers will be able to enjoy waiting for their high speed train to Rome.
THE DOMUS AUREA LIKE IT HAS NEVER BEEN SEEN SINCE NERO
It’s now possible to visit Nero’s Domus Aurea and appreciate it as he did in the first century, with its porch, the rich rooms, the garden and the view of the Palatine. A 3D video played on a big screen (19m x 3.3m) allows visitors to go beyond the visit of the monument as it is today and enjoy it with a much fuller experience. It will illustrate the history of the monument, from Nero’s building to the changes wanted by Trajan and, up to more recent times when, during WWII, the tunnels have been used as a shelter for the displaced. After the screening, visitors, led by guides, will tour the construction site of the conservation works and reach the innovative technological installation set up in the gilded dome room. Here each visitor will be able to independently use virtual reality stereoscopic viewers to take a leap in time, moving 360° in a room covered with colored marble and frescoes, flooded with natural light coming from a garden overlooking Rome. The pomp and the wealth of Nero’s palace will be evident and surprising. These technologies applied to such an important archaeological site generates a real journey through time, a cognitive and emotional short circuit. Superintendent of the Colosseum and the central archaeological area of Rome, Francesco Prosperetti commented: “It is a new feature that I really wanted, because the current status of the monument does not give the opportunity to grasp the essence of this place. Now it is possible”.