Shout Magazine

Mark Kostabi on Ideas for the Home

Bravo to Sperone Westwater Gallery for striking a blow against provincialism in contemporary art! Although we are guaranteed to see much more of the Americans at the show because they are actively being promoted in the states, the gallery has succeeded in integrating Italian modern masters Giulio Turcato and Lucio Fontana with contemporary American painters such as Greg Bogin, Peter Halley, Jonathan Lasker, and Andy Warhol.

Whereas Fontana is internationally famous for his iconic slashed canvasses, Giulio Turcato (1912-1995) is virtually unknown, even among New York artworld insiders. It’s a shame because he is considered Italy’s best abstract artist. Known for his transporting investigation of color and his inspiring sense of design, almost ever artist in Italy has enormous respect for Turcato. He is truly a painter’s painter.

It’s interesting to note that Turcato’s work from the 1940s through the 1980s would look absolutely au courant in any contemporary show of abstract paintings today. His innovative work from the 1950s actual paper currency collaged into paintings, called Composizioni Con Soldi (Compositions with Money)became a gesture which has been echoed by numerous artists decades later.

Giulio Turcato deserves a retrospective at a major New York museum, but for now we at least have an appetizer. Let’s hope the gallery will offer its viewers some of the many books published on the artists’ work.

October 1998