‘American Art 1961-2001’ at Palazzo Strozzi

An installation by Robert Longo at the “American Art 1991 – 2001” show

May 28 – August 29:  AMERICAN ART 1961 – 2001.  Palazzo Strozzi, piazza Strozzi.  Open Monday to Friday 2 – 9 pm, Saturday, Sunday and holidays 10 am – 9 pm.   Admission: €15.

Over the course of 2021, Palazzo Strozzi will host two shows, both encompassing modern and contemporary U.S. artists.  The first, “American Art from 1961-2001,” surveys the evolution of art in the United States in relation to the political and societal events that took place in the given time period.  Starting with the presidency of John F. Kennedy and ending in 2001, the year of 9/11, the retrospective will include paintings, sculpture, photography, and videos by artists from Popsuch as Mark Rothko, Louise Nevelson, Roy Lichtenstein, Richard Serra, Claes Oldenburg, Bruce Nauman, Barbara Kruger, Robert Mapplethorpe, Cindy Sherman and Matthew Barney.  The second event of the year will also be dedicated to American art.  “Shine,” focusing on contemporary work by Jeff Koons, will be inaugurated on October 2, 2021.

A detail of “Sixteen Jackies” (Jacqueline Kennedy) by Andy Warhol at Palazzo Strozzi

Though “American Art 1961-2001” spotlights some of the pioneers of modern art like Warhol and Rauchenberg, the exhibition will also include the early work of now established, living artists such as Kara Walker and Kerry James Marshall. Both Walker and Marshall are known for depicting subject matter surrounding Black history and racism in America. Galansino mentions how bringing such subjects to light in Italy is incredibly important. “We [Italians] live in a more traditional kind of society. But, in the last decades, we also have to face similar issues. Italy is becoming increasingly international – more diverse and more open in terms of civil rights and attitudes. We want to create an awareness not only about art, but also about what’s going on in the world.”

All of the displays will be on loan from the Minneapolis Walker Art Center, one of America’s first modern art museums, one that features works that dates back to as early as 1940. “We’ve been really fortunate to collaborate with them and present the top selection of their collection in our space,” says Galansino.  But why take such a deep dive into American history? Strozzi has put on two major American art displays in the past: one on 19th century artists in Florence, and one focused on the Solomon and Peggy Guggenheim Collection. American Art 1961-2001 would be the third, which, historically speaking, picks up right where the Peggy Guggenheim Collection show ended. “This is a very ambitious exhibition full of masterpieces of modern art, which are very rarely seen in our country,” Galansino notes, “from Minimalism to Pop Art and beyond.”