Italian artist Michelangelo Pistoletto is having a New York City moment. He was included in a recent Arte Povera survey at Hauser & Wirth and in a current exhibition of silkscreens on mirrors at Luhring Augustine. The public highlight, though, was his performance of Scultura da Passeggio (Walking Sculpture) in Cold Spring, New York this past weekend.
Sponsored by the new postwar and contemporary Italian art museum Magazzino in Cold Spring, the Saturday performance replicated an earlier run in Turin, Italy. In 1967, Pistoletto rolled a large ball or Sfere di Giornali (newspaper sphere) covered with newspaper clippings that highlighted Italy’s turmoil during the 1960s, a literal rendition of the news cycle. In the Arte Povera tradition, it used common cheap materials and attempted to move outside the gallery walls and into the city, having viewers “reflect on an all-encompassing expression of circulation, a manipulation of the passing of time.” Oh for the days of the 1960s and art that actively engaged with the public!
This weekend’s Scultura da Passeggio had a new version of the ball arrive in Cold Spring on a red FIAT roadster, just as it had fifty years ago. After a few brief comments by Pistoletto and the creators of Magazzino, Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu, the ball was rolled though the streets of the small Hudson River village by an enthusiastic group of participants to celebrate the joy of art when it engages with the city rather than lectures from the gallery walls. Magazzino is a jewel of a small museum and is less than 60 miles from New York City.