Much to the chagrin of my bosses, my personal tradition is to start the year planning my next holidays. It’s not just that I have my eye on making the best of every long weekend, but there’s always a lot going on in and around Florence, and lots of good shows to see in the rest of Italy, plus we’re so well located in Europe that it’s a shame not to occasionally fly somewhere else!
Unfortunately, Italy doesn’t have the tradition of announcing temporary exhibitions well in advance, so every January I publish the best list I can of shows in Florence and Tuscany, hoping it’s at least useful to my readers and return visitors to the Tuscan capital. Here’s what I’ve been able to find so far. Is there something you are really looking forward to on the list?
Exhibitions in Florence
Keith Haring, the real origin of Street Art
Until Feb 6, 2018
This (sadly too short) show is dedicated to Keith Haring and Paolo Buggiani in the background of an incendiary New York in the early Eighties. The connection to Florence is through Paolo Buggiani, a Tuscan artist born in 1933, who contributed to the street art movement in New York in the end of the 70s.
Textiles and Wealth in 14th-Century Florence. Wool, Silk, Painting
Until March 28
The show intends to demonstrate the importance of textiles as an art form in Florence in the 1300s, viewed from both an economic perspective and an artistic production of society’s clothing at the time. This is when the concept of luxury arose for the first time, and Florence’s expensive wool and silk was at the center of European fashion trends. A good one to see in the low season, when there shouldn’t be too much of a line to see the David!
Norden: Man and Nature
January 18-February 18
The show “Norden: Man and Nature from Scandinavia and the Baltic Countries in the Photography of Luca Berti” shows 60 photographs of people and landscapes in Scandinavian and Baltic Countries taken during trips in 2011 and 2017 by a young(ish) Florentine artist, Berti (born 1978), who has been living in Denmark for the past 10 years.
1927 The Return to Italy
Until May 2, 2018
Museo Ferragamo, Palazzo Spini Ferroni (via Tornabuoni), Florence
Salvatore Ferragamo returned to Italy in 1927 after twelve years in the United States, settling in Florence due to the city’s modern tendencies. Developed in chapters like a coming-of-age story, the exhibition focuses on the theme of “return”, not only of the great shoemaker but of traditions and skills in this city, showcasing futurist sculptures and paintings alongside shoes.
From Pinocchio to Harry Potter
February 12-June 3
The show’s full name is “From Pinocchio to Harry Potter, 155 years of Italian illustration from the Salani Archive since 1862”, which refer to a historic Florentine publisher (Salani). There will be 300 documents from the period 1964-2012, providing an overview of the history of illustration in Italy at this time.
Birth of a Nation: Italian Art from the Postwar to 1968
March 16-July 22, 2018
Curator Luca Massimo Barbero takes us on a mesmerising journey through art, politics and society in the shape of work by such artists as Renato Guttuso, Lucio Fontana, Alberto Burri, Mario Schifano, Mario Merz and Michelangelo Pistoletto, providing a glimpse into the later golden age of Italy.
Steve McCurry, Icons
June 13 – September ?, 2018
The world’s most famous travel photographer’s traveling exhibition will present 100 works in Florence; if you haven’t seen it elsewhere (Palermo or Sansepolcro of late), here’s your chance!
Fanfare e Silenzi. Viaggio nella Pittura di Primo Conti attraverso il Novecento’
September 21 to January 20, 2018
A major retrospective exhibition devoted to the work of Marina Abramović, one of the most celebrated and controversial personalities in the world of contemporary art, best-known for using her own body as a means of expression.
Marie Antoniette, i costumi di una regina da Oscar
Feb 11 – May 27, 2018
Museo del Tessuto
This much anticipated exhibition will showcase the costumes made for the Sophia Coppola film about Marie Antoniette, for which Milena Canonero won the Oscar for best costume in 2007. It runs contingent to the museum’s current rotating exhibit in their historical section, which is dedicated to the 18th century, and provides an interesting comparison between historical pieces and their popular, contemporary interpretation.
Legati da una cintola
September 8 2017 – Feb 25 2018
Museo di Palazzo Pretorio, Piazza del Comune, Prato
Prato’s big show in 2017, extended into 2018, celebrates the city’s most important relic, the sacred girdle of the Virgin Mary, which brought a lot of wealth and decoration to its Cathedral. The feat in this exhibition has been to reunite elements of an altarpiece by Bernardo Daddi showing the Assumption of Mary. There’s a good review by my colleague Samantha at The Florentine so I won’t write more here!
Ambrogio Lorenzetti a Siena
Until April 8, Santa Maria della Scala
Lorenzetti may be the most famous artist in Siena due to his frescoes in that city’s Palazzo Pubblico, but he’s still not a household name in most cases. With loans from the Louvre, National Gallery and others, this rich exhibit brings many of the panel paintings back to their original home of Siena – most were made, originally, for its churches.