When American troops disembarked in Sicily (1943), some soldiers stationed in Palermo had their portrait done by local painter Benedetto Zangara. They also brought their military-ration powdered milk and hard biscuits for his baby son. Then the war ended and the baby grew with the stories that he owed his life to those biscuits and those soldiers. He also grew up to be an artist and today is one of the pillars of the international MADI movement.
Piergiorgio Zangara and Reale Franco Frangi will have a two-person exhibition at the Museum of MADI and Geometric Art in Dallas. Curated by me, it will be attended by the daughter and nephew of one of those soldiers. The exhibition Two Italian Masters, with works by artists Piergiorgio Zangara and Reale Franco Frangi, will open tonight, October 26, at 6PM, at the Museum of Geometric and MADI Art in Dallas, TX.
MADI is an artistic movement originating in Latin America in the 1940s as a reaction to the post-war rethinking of the social and aesthetic values. The name comes from ma(terialist) di(alectic), through which art is understood as non-representational, non-expressive and non-symbolic. Created under these auspices, art is “off the wall and out of the frame”, geometric and non-organic and especially non-emotional or cultural reflection. Its Latin American founder Uruguayan Carmelo Arden Quin moved to Europe and this allowed the movement to spread to Italy. It blended very well with the geometric abstraction that Italian artists were exploring at the time, with the movement Movimento Arte Concreta around the MIlanese gallery Arte Struktura.
This artistic movement has nothing to do with photography, since it is adamantly non-representational, however, in a way the mechanical production and reproduction of reality is still a common point of contact between MADI and photography. As a curator, I didn’t approach it as an extension of my own art, but as an opportunity to get personal with an important branch of contemporary art that will certainly teach me something.
If you are in Dallas, hope you can see the exhibition. It will be on display until January 20 2019.