Milan has stealthily transformed itself. “In the past it was attractive for design, architecture and fashion – now art is drawing visitors to the city,” says Miart fair artistic director Alessandro Rabottini. Kicking off the week before Salone del Mobile, when the metropolis becomes a mecca for the design world, the Miart show (running from April 5 to 7) during Milan Art Week (April 1 to 7) is attracting the attention of the international art world – partly due to the success of major institutions in the city, such as the awe-inspiring Fondazione Prada and the cavernous Pirelli HangarBicocca. Several heavyweight galleries, including Hauser & Wirth and Marian Goodman, are debuting at this year’s fair. Goodman, for example, will present Nan Goldin photography ($18,000-$45,000), alongside works by Italian artist Giuseppe Penone ($300,000-$400,000). Meanwhile, Gladstone Gallery and Massimo De Carlo make a welcome return. Here are six inspiring highlights.
Rhys Coren at GaleriePCP
Paris’s discrete GaleriePCP is showing for the first time in Miart’s innovative Emergent section. It will present an installation featuring a site-specific wall-covering and a new series of silhouettes and landscapes (from €3,500) by Royal Academy graduate Rhys Coren. Expect vibrant graphic colours and Ettore Sottsass-influenced shapes and forms in a refreshing new take on painting.
Adrian Ghenie at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac
Making its debut at the show, Ropac will promote lauded painter Adrian Ghenie’s exhibition at Fondazione Giorgio Cini in Venice (running from April 19 to November 18). “We have long-standing relationships with collectors and institutions in Italy, and Miart is a great occasion for us to connect with them,” Ropac says. The gallery will also spotlight the work of Lee Bul and Georg Baselitz, alongside some of Ghenie’s new smaller collages (€40,000-€50,000) – a little more affordable than his large paintings, which can command seven-figure sums at auction.
Elisa Ossino at Officine Saffi
Milan local Officine Saffi is among 12 international galleries focusing on limited edition and experimental design objects. It will present a solo show of Italian architect Elisa Ossino’s ceramic furniture in the Object section of the fair – its booth transformed into an abstract living space crafted entirely from ceramic. The innovative pieces (€2,500-€12,000) push ideas of material and form.
Paul McCarthy at Hauser & Wirth
Hauser & Wirth is hosting a solo show by one of its biggest artists, Paul McCarthy. The focus is on McCarthy’s Propo series of photographic works from the 1990s, alongside recent sculptures and drawings ($45,000-$650,000). The Propo works document the masks, bottles, pans, uniforms, dolls and stuffed animals McCarthy used in his visceral performances between 1972 and 1983, which were later photographed and exhibited as sculpture. Expect some attractive mess.
Paolo Buffa at Eredi Marelli
Visitors can discover a solo retrospective of midcentury designer Paolo Buffa, which includes a walnut two-seater sofa, an armchair, a low table with a sleek brass frame, two entrance chairs and two rare books dating from 1947, when he exhibited at Milan’s Triennale. This booth recontextualises Buffa as a forgotten icon in postwar Italian design. His works (from €5,600) are well worth investing in now.
Matt Connors at Herald St + Piero Dorazio at Tega
Miart’s Alessandro Rabottini describes the Generation section of the fair as “its epicentre – both conceptually and spatially”. Here, the concept of “unexpected dialogues” is brought to life by a duet of curators, in conjunction with the galleries. A perfect example is Matt Connors, fresh from his current show at Herald St, who will exhibit his colourful canvases alongside works by the late Italian abstract painter Piero Dorazio.