Things to see and do at Milano Art Week 2022

From large-scale outdoor installations to performance art and avant-garde projects, Milano Art Week showcases an impressive array of exhibitions and events.

Elmgreen & Dragset, Watching, 2017. Collection of Lora Reynolds and Quincy Lee, Austin. Courtesy: Perrotin. Brian Fitzsimmons and Andreas Koch

This week is one we’ve been eagerly awaiting. Packed with creative ideas, inspiration, and insights, Milano Art Week 2022 is a celebration of the best in contemporary art. From 28 March to 3 April, an abundance of exhibitions, performances, and events will invade Milan. Our editors picked out the not-to-be-missed features of this year’s edition.

Maurizio Cattelan’s “Lullaby” and “You”

Artist Maurizio Cattelan is donating one of his works to the City of Milan. Titled “Lullaby,” (1994) the gift is one of the two works made of layered sacks filled with rubble from an explosion at the PAC Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea museum in 1993, a Mafia-related terrorist event that killed five people and instigated much public outcry. The work will be on display in the cremation room of the Cimitero Monumentale starting from March 30.

The artist is revealing another project during Milano Art Week. Titled “You,” a new work shows a dummy of Cattelan hanged from the ceiling of the lavish bathroom of Casa Corbellini-Wassermann, the exhibition space of Massimo de Carlo, Cattelan’s gallerist.

Steve McQueen at Pirelli HangarBicocca

Regarded as one of the most important contemporary artists and filmmakers, Steve McQueen is opening a new exhibition in Milan. “Sunshine State” is curated by Vicente Todolí and organized in collaboration with Tate Modern London, where the artist had presented a first version, titled “Steve McQueen,” in 2020. For the Milan foundation, McQueen has conceived a site-specific exhibition project and a new selection of works. Through a non-chronological layout, the exhibition offers a survey of Mr. McQueen’s career in the visual arts, highlighting the evolution of his practice over the last two decades.

Elmgreen & Dragset at Fondazione Prada

The artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset is bringing to Milan one of the most ambitious thematic investigations realized by Fondazione Prada to date. “Useless Bodies?” explores the present condition of the body in the post-industrial age in which it seems that our physical presence is losing its centrality or is even completely superfluous. Following the exhibition path, spanning more than 3,000 square meters, the audience will encounter several immersive installations. The Milan premises of Fondazione Prada are transformed into a series of different universes, each with its distinctive atmosphere, theme, and aesthetics.

Artur Zmijewski at the PAC Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea and Elisa Sighicelli at the GAM Galleria d’Arte Moderna

“When Fear Eats The Soul” is the first solo exhibition in Italy by Artur Zmijewski, one of the most important radical figures on the Polish art scene. His research reflects his concern with wide-ranging social problems and moves between the mechanisms of power and oppression within the existing social order – as well as social conflicts bordering on violence – while exposing the human instinctive inclination towards evil. His works explore the relationship between radical emotions and their physical expressions, the human body and cognitive functioning in extreme cases such as illness or disability, and also mechanisms of memory and collective trauma. A few steps from the Contemporary Art Pavillion, the Modern Art Gallery presents “As Above, So Below,” a solo exhibition of new works by artist Elisa Sighicelli. Curated by Paola Zatti, the exhibition brings to life a new and surprising story of the underground storage of the Milanese museum.

Tadashi Kawamata, Nest, 2022, Cortile della Magnolia, Palazzo di Brera. Photo by Daniele Perani.

Tadashi Kawamata “Nests”

Internationally renowned for his multidisciplinary projects, Tadashi Kawamata will create his famous “nests” for the first time in Milan. The four site-specific projects will be hosted both inside the BUILDING gallery (Via Monte di Pietà 23) and on its facade, and in other venues nearby: Grand Hotel et de Milan (Via Manzoni 29), Centro Congressi Fondazione Cariplo (Via Romagnosi 8), and Cortile della Magnolia of the Palazzo di Brera (Via Brera 28). The artist will be appropriating their facades, internal spaces, balconies, and roofs, with a series of constructions made of wooden planks interwoven to form a complex grid that is both light-weight yet solid, offering a different interpretation of the appearance and meaning of each urban structure.

Yuli Yamagata at Ordet

“Afasta Nefasta” is the first solo show in Italy by Brazilian artist Yuli Yamagata, presenting a group of new works within an exhibition design that alters the configuration of the space. Yamagata’s works move on the border between dream and reality, drawing inspiration from mass culture and pushing the viewers to abandon themselves to the possibilities of her oneiric imagination. An octopus, a snail, a hermit crab, and a snake populate the twisted skeleton of the rooms, all tentacular and soft but bearing signs of their human mutation. Yamagata’s creatures can be comforting and disturbing, as the artist employs easily identifiable patterns along with grotesque and surrealistic details inserting new narratives into the works. Their weirdness comes from something that we’re already familiar with, but that suddenly feels a little different.

C2CMLN shared by Gucci

For Milano Art Week C2C Festival is presenting three special events with the help of Gucci. Photographer Giovanna Silva will be in conversation with choreographer Michele Rizzo – two artists that have worked on the topics of nightlife, dance as a language, and the expression of bodies – at the Triennale (March 31, Viale Emilio Alemagna, 6).

On 31 March, at District 272 (Via Padova, 272), an ex striptease club, four different artists of the international avant-pop scene will be center stage: the perturbing and fascinating sound universe of aya, the futuristic folk of Lyra Pramuk, the psychedelic reggaeton of DJ Python and the alien pop of yeule.

At the Apollo club, on April 1, (Via Giosuè Borsi, 9/2) will be the turn of two great DJs: Daniele Baldelli and Physical Therapy.

ArtLine: Mario Airò, Alfredo Jaar, Kiki Smith

Mario Airò’s “Atrio dello sguardo sul futuro,” Alfredo Jaar’s “Padiglione Rosso” and Kiki Smith’s “Guardiane” are the three new works that will enter the permanent collection of ArtLine, the public art initiative in the CityLife park. The works by Mario Airò, Alfredo Jaar, and Kiki Smith will join the nine site-specific sculptures in the park by artists Riccardo Benassi, Judith Hopf, Maurizio Nannucci, Adrian Paci, Ornaghi & Prestinari, Wilfredo Prieto, Matteo Rubbi, Pascale Marthine Tayou, and Serena Vestrucci.

Photo by Isabelle Wenzel. Creative direction Cabinet Milano.

Performance

A program of performances in public spaces with works by Berlin-based artist Riccardo Benassi and the Italian choreographer Michele Rizzo will open the art weekend on Friday (1 April, 6–9 pm).

Artist Anna Franceschini is presenting a short lesson on movement conducted by choreographers called to investigate how it is possible to transmit the will to perform gestures and movements outside one’s own body, at the Istituto Svizzero (2 April, 3 pm). Christodoulos Panayiotou’s lecture-performance “Dying on Stage,” a meditation on the impossible theatrical representation of death, will debut in Milan as part of Triennale’s FOG Festival (2 April, 6 pm). The same day, Museo del Novecento is presenting a performance by Swiss artist and choreographer Marie-Caroline Hominal, one of the leading figures on the Swiss contemporary scene. (2 April, 7pm).

Triennale

The Triennale in Milan recently inaugurated three new projects: the first solo exhibition held in an Italian cultural institution by German artist Barbara Probst, an exhibit of photographs by Ettore Sottsass from his travels around the world, and Marcello Maloberti’s “MARTELLATE” (Hammerings) that features a series of black marker-written provocative thoughts on white paper. While you’re there, don’t miss the “Saul Steinberg. Milan New York” exhibition and the permanent installation of Ettore Sottsass’s flat from the 1960s “Casa Lana,” faithfully reconstructed inside the museum.

Art Galleries

Berlin-based gallery Peres Projects will open its new Milan space at Palazzo Belgioioso with an exhibition of works by Dylan Solomon Kraus (April 1). The Vistamare gallery has moved and inaugurated its new spaces on Via Spontini with a group show titled “Le Voci della Sera” (open until 21 May). There are lots of exhibitions in galleries opening for Milano Art Week. Be sure to check out Carla Accardi at Galleria Francesca Minini, Monica Bonvicini at Raffaella Cortese, Louise Nevelson and Jorge Pardo at Giò Marconi, Andrea Sala at Galleria Schiavo Zoppelli, and Ettore Spalletti at Lia Rumma.

Leisure

Looking for a break in between exhibitions? There are many bars where you may get a coffee and some cannoncini. Cucchi (Corso Genova, 1) and Camparino (Piazza del Duomo, 21) are great spots to rest in true Milanese flair. For lunch or a quick but chic dinner, head to Zazà Ramen for some delicious Japanese cuisine. The restaurant recently inaugurated an exhibition by Matteo De Nando on one of the walls in the main room. Bar Basso, founded in 1947, is unquestionably the place to go after 7pm, for the aperitivo. Although it is usually busy during these events, it is undoubtedly the most popular spot for artists and art world professionals who mingle with the bar’s loyal customers and fashion aficionados.

Check out our full coverage.

News staff