MILANPhotography

CONVERSATIONS. PHOTOGRAPHY FROM BANK OF AMERICA MERRILL LYNCH COLLECTION – MUSEO DEL NOVECENTO | MILAN

Emma Baudey, Arts and Culture Manager and curator for Bank of America, press conference, Septeber 29th, 2011, Museo del Novecento, Milan
Emma Baudey, Arts and Culture Manager and curator from Bank of America Merrill Lynch Collection, press conference, Septeber 29th, 2011, Museo del Novecento, Milan

CONVERSATIONS
Photography from the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Collection
Museo del Novecento, Milan
30 September 30, 2011 – January 15, 2012

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The Museo del Novecento in Milan is building on its commitment to showcase the 20th century’s myriad art forms and to embrace international cultural exchange by hosting Conversations: an important selection of photographs from the Bank of America Merrill Lynch collection.
This exhibition, which was originally displayed at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, treats photography as a unique and authoritative means of expression that has earned its rightful place in the arts spectrum.
It complements the Novecento’s existing displays, instigating a meaningful dialogue between late nineteenth and twentieth century photographic works and offers visitors the opportunity to admire pieces by some of international photography’s finest masters.
Conversations marks the first time that the Museo del Novecento has partnered with the City of Milan’s
Photographic Archive, thanks to the efforts of Silvia Paoli, the Archive’s chief curator. The Archive, which is dedicated to the conservation and appreciation of photography and is part of the Municipal Museums, comprises approximately 850,000 photographs, with examples of many different photographic techniques dating from the beginnings of the medium in the nineteenth century through to the present day. It has a well established, national reputation as a centre for the study of photography and has undertaken projects with many international institutions. In this particular case it offered its scientific expertise to the Museo del Novecento, thereby pooling resources and consequently ensuring an outstanding result, realised in the form of this exhibition.

Claudio Salsi – Director of the Museum Sector City of Milan

Claudio Salsi
Claudio Salsi

Continuing our long tradition of support for the arts, Bank of America Merrill Lynch is pleased to partner with the Museo del Novecento on the presentation of Conversations. This exhibition, drawn from the Bank of America Merrill Lynch art collection, is part of the Art in our Communities® programme, which was launched in 2009. Through it we have lent more than 50 exhibitions, free of charge, to museums around the world.

Conversations
was first presented to the public at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and will travel to the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, in February 2012. Featuring a mix of photographs from both well known and lesser known artists, the exhibition aims to create ‘conversations’ between the works, covering a wide range of themes including portraits, landscapes, street photography and abstraction. Together, these images have all helped to shape the history of the medium. Their unusual juxtaposition helps to spark a visual dialogue, creating a unique exhibition that a wide audience will enjoy.

We are pleased to work with the Museo del Novecento on this project, having undertaken a special partnership with this new museum through both our sponsorship and the offer of free admission for its opening months. In these economically-challenged times, the need for private funding for arts support becomes ever more apparent. As a company that has done business in Italy for more than 50 years, we are honoured to play a part in the continuation of Italy’s unmatched cultural contributions to the world.

Conversations presents a selection of photographs from the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Collection, which is considered one of the most diverse corporate collections in the world. As the company has grown, this prestigious collection has been continually enriched with art from a number of legacy banks. Each has brought a particular emphasis – regional, thematic, contemporary or historical. Today, it comprises paintings, works on paper, textiles, sculptures, historical documents and includes many images by some of the world’s finest international photographers.

Displayed in the Novecento’s ground floor galleries, this show aims to highlight a selection of photographs from the bank’s collection by
placing them in “conversation” with one another, following various theme-based, historic and formal combinations. The juxtaposed categories range from ‘Looking at Art’ to the ‘Power of the Portrait’, to ‘Abstraction and Experimentation’ and ‘Surrealism’, amongst many others.

The display traces the history of photography and its evolution. The works shown are by past and present masters, such as Julia Margaret Cameron, Eugène Atget, Alfred Stieglitz, László Moholy-Nagy, Man Ray, Edward Weston, Walker Evans, Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander, Garry Winogrand, William Eggleston, Cindy Sherman, Ed Ruscha, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Candida Hofer, Thomas Ruff and Thomas Struth.

The essence and character of the Bank of America Merrill Lynch photography collection are owed to the curatorial efforts of Beaumont Newhall, a renowned scholar. Newhall was founder and director of the Photography Department at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA),

New York, between 1940 and 1947. Later, in 1967, he and his wife Nancy, who was a knowledgeable photography historian, were asked to create a photography collection for a legacy Bank of America Merrill Lynch company. Over the ensuing three years they purchased approximately 350 works that were both contemporary and international in scope, building the foundation of today’s collection with impeccable vision. The quality of the collection set a standard of expertise and excellence, as espoused by future generations of the company’s curators and valued by museums to the present day. The photographs
in Conversations were collected by subsequent curators, all of whom based their choices on the very same principles established by Beaumont and Nancy Newhall.

What few people know is that Newhall held regular correspondence with the Italian art and photography historian, collector and scholar, Lamberto Vitali, who had been active in Milan since the 1930s. Between 1959 and 1970, Vitali often turned to Newhall for direction, drawing on his expertise, to organise exhibitions and projects in Milan. This was particularly true for his exhibition showcasing Helmut Gernsheim’s photography collection at the XI Triennale of 1957, and for Milan’s 1959 The Family of Man exhibition (curated by Newhall’s successor at MoMA, Edward Steichen.)

Conversations offers the opportunity to see a selection of masterworks displayed in new juxtapositions, while celebrating and strengthening a history of collaboration linking Italy and America.

Silvia PaoliCurator of Conversations at the Museo del Novecento

Silvia Paoli
Silvia Paoli

CONVERSATIONS
Fotografie della Bank of America Merrill Lynch Collection
Museo del Novecento, Milano 30 settembre 2011 – 15 gennaio 2012

Il Museo del Novecento prosegue la sua attività espositiva presso lo Spazio Mostre al piano terra con una mostra dedicata alla fotografia dal titolo Conversations.
Come racconta Marina Pugliese, direttore del Museo del Novecento “la mostra, pensata per Milano in virtù della collaborazione tra Bank of America Merrill Lynch e il Museo, porta in città una straordinaria collezione di fotografia che annovera le opere di grandi autori integrando idealmente e a livello internazionale il percorso espositivo del museo”.

Per la prima volta saranno a Milano 80 fotografie provenienti da una delle più prestigiose collezioni bancarie al mondo, la Bank of America Merryll Lynch Collection, nell’ambito del programma Art in our Communities®, un progetto di mostre itineranti lanciato nel 2009 attraverso cui le opere d’arte della collezione sono state prestate ai musei di tutto il mondo ed esposte in oltre 50 esposizioni internazionali.
Conversations, che è stata inaugurata al pubblico per la prima volta al Museum of Fine Arts di Boston e sarà all’Irish Museum of Modern Art di Dublino a febbraio 2012, viene presentata al Museo del Novecento nell’edizione italiana a cura di Silvia Paoli, conservatore del Civico Archivio Fotografico ai Musei del Castello Sforzesco di Milano.

Garry Winogrand World¹s Fair, New York City, 1964 Gelatin silver print © 1984 The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco
Garry Winogrand World¹s Fair, New York City, 1964 Gelatin silver print © 1984 The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

Il percorso espositivo, a partire dalle linee indicate nella edizione americana, valorizza alcuni dei capolavori della collezione ponendoli in “conversazione” tra loro, attraverso accostamenti tematici (nelle sezioni: Ritratto, Paesaggio, Uno sguardo sull’arte, Astrazione/Sperimentazione, Viaggi/Monumenti, Società/Testimonianze, Astrazione/Paesaggio industriale, Surrealismo, Astrazione/Natura morta), ma anche storici e formali, ripercorrendo in modo diacronico la storia del medium fotografico.
Nello stesso spazio espositivo, immagini del XIX secolo dialogano con scatti del XX secolo, primi piani con foto panoramiche, ritratti con foto documentarie, still life con opere astratte, in un gioco dialettico che coinvolge lo spettatore.

Le immagini urbane ad esempio (di Robert Frank, Harry Callahan, Helen Levitt o William Klein) che costituiscono un cospicuo nucleo della collezione, sono specchio della formazione della complessa società americana. Un tema che, in mostra, viene amplificato e ulteriormente articolato proprio nelle ricercate giustapposizioni delle fotografie, realizzate spesso con soluzioni formali molto diverse o in momenti storici distanti.
Similmente il ritratto (Edward Weston, Man Ray, Jeanne Dunning) e la natura morta (Irving Penn, William Eggleston, Lee Friedlander) che con la sperimentazione del mezzo si caricano di connotazioni psicologiche e di valori simbolici – fino alle provocazioni ironiche di Cindy Sherman – vengono presentati in mostra in eloquenti contrappunti visivi: a volte affiancati a scatti di paesaggio, in un dialogo di intensità emotiva, a volte tra di loro in un confronto metalinguistico (uso della prospettiva, dei colori, astrazione…) che ne enfatizza il messaggio.

Robert Frank Trolley Car, New Orleans, Louisiana, 1955 Gelatin silver print © Robert Frank, from The Americans
Robert Frank Trolley Car, New Orleans, Louisiana, 1955 Gelatin silver print © Robert Frank, from The Americans

Tra i molti artisti rappresentati compaiono i nomi di alcuni dei maestri indiscussi della fotografia internazionale: Gustave Le Gray, Julia Margaret Cameron, Eugène Atget, Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand, László Moholy-Nagy, Man Ray, Walker Evans, Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander, Cindy Sherman, Bernd e Hilla Becher, Thomas Struth, solo per citarne alcuni.

Commentando la nuova mostra, Rena De Sisto, Global Arts and Culture Executive di Bank of America Merrill Lynch, ha affermato: “Siamo orgogliosi di sponsorizzare il Museo del Novecento. Questo museo rappresenta una destinazione d’elezione per gli amanti dell’arte italiani e stranieri. Nata per celebrare l’arte contemporanea, questa istituzione è il luogo ideale per ospitare delle fotografie, quintessenza dell’arte del XX secolo. Operiamo a Milano da oltre 50 anni e siamo consapevoli che, nel clima economico attuale, il nostro ruolo di sostenitori all’industria dell’arte è più importante che mai. Siamo onorati di aver potuto dimostrare, attraverso questa mostra molto speciale, il nostro impegno e la nostra vicinanza all’Italia.”

La Bank of America Merrill Lynch Photography Collection. All’origine della Collezione di fotografie di Bank of America Merrill Lynch sta l’operato di Beaumont Newhall, all’epoca tra i più affermati studiosi di fotografia, e di sua moglie Nancy che, incaricati nel 1967, crearono in tre anni il primo fondamentale nucleo della collezione con circa 350 esemplari. Newhall fu fondatore e direttore del Dipartimento di fotografia del MOMA a New York. Qui, nel 1937, con la mostra Photography 1839 – 1937, Newhall costituì la collezione che fu poi il nucleo centrale alla base del Dipartimento del MOMA. Il catalogo dell’esposizione scritto da Newhall, inoltre, fu la base del più importante testo storico sulla fotografia, dal dopoguerra fino ai giorni nostri, stampato in numerose edizioni e traduzioni.

Thomas Struth Audience 4 (Galleria Dell'Accademia), Florenz, 2004 C-print mounted on UV Plexiglas 185.1 x 341.6 x 6.3 cm © Thomas Struth. Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York / Paris
Thomas Struth Audience 4 (Galleria Dell'Accademia), Florenz, 2004 C-print mounted on UV Plexiglas 185.1 x 341.6 x 6.3 cm © Thomas Struth. Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York / Paris

SCHEDA TECNICA
Sede | Via Marconi 1, Milano
Promosso da | Comune di Milano
Orari | Lunedì 14.30 – 19.30 Martedì, Mercoledì, venerdì e domenica 9.30 – 19.30 Giovedì e sabato: 9.30 – 22.30
Ingresso | Ingresso intero 5 euro Ingresso ridotto 3 euro (studenti universitari, over 65, dipendenti comunali)
Info | 02.884.44061 – 02.0202 www.museodelnovecento.org
Visite guidate | Info e prenotazioni 02.43353522 museodelnovecento@civita.it
Main Sponsor | Bank of America Merril Lynch
Ufficio stampa:
Comune di Milano Elena Conenna 02.884. 53314 – elenamaria.conenna@comune.milano.it
Tel. 02.884.50150 Electa Ilaria Maggi 02.21563.250 imaggi@mondadori.it

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