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At Magazzino, Social Distancing Devices Vibrate. So Does the Art.

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COLD SPRING, N.Y. — I’ve been dishonest, and it’s probably you’ve got been too: Six ft aside is quite a bit farther away than most individuals appear to hope it’s.

I do know this as a result of on the current reopening of Magazzino Italian Art, the museum of postwar and modern work right here within the Hudson Valley, I wore a chunk of social-distancing {hardware} known as an EGOpro Active Tag. It was connected to a lanyard round my neck.

The tag is required for all guests, and it’s programmed to vibrate for a couple of seconds each time the wearer is nearer than six ft to a tag worn by one other particular person.

Mine buzzed quite a bit.

I misjudged my spacing fairly a couple of occasions, and the incessant buzzing was annoying. But that’s the purpose, after all. It made me retreat, and shortly.

“The technology makes a lot of sense to me,” stated Harry Wilks of Plattekill, N.Y., one of many guests I encountered. “It would make even more sense on the weekend, when it’s more crowded.”

My interviews weren’t precisely serving to the state of affairs. Mr. Wilks added, “Mine didn’t go off until you came up to me to talk.”

Magazzino, based in 2017 by the collectors Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu, is the primary museum within the United States to make use of the expertise.

That Magazzino takes pandemic security severely is obvious from the start of a go to there. Temperature checks are actually required for all guests, administered in a bit tent exterior the doorway. “Nobody’s fussing about it so far,” stated Jay Nicholas, a customer companies assistant, who took mine. Masks are required, too.

The museum, which was closed for 4 months, is admitting 10 folks per half-hour through advance reservation, and it assumes a 90-minute go to. It may have extra guests, based on state and county pointers, however they determined to begin cautiously.

“We wanted to find a way to have a new normal,” stated Vittorio Calabrese, Magazzino’s director. “Art does not stop.”

It was roomy and really quiet contained in the high-ceilinged white galleries, organized in a hoop; the 20,000-square-foot constructing was designed by the Spanish architect Miguel Quismondo. In galleries 4 and 5, of eight, there are a number of artworks that incorporate neon, and I may distinctly hear the neon buzzing.

Highlights from the gathering assembled by Ms. Olnick and Mr. Spanu fill many of the galleries, a part of an ongoing exhibition known as “Arte Povera,” devoted to the Italian motion of the identical title from the 1960s and ’70s, when pioneering Italian artists voiced their dissent concerning the path of society.

Works by the motion’s best names are on show, together with Alighiero Boetti, Giuseppe Penone, Jannis Kounellis, Luciano Fabro, Mario Merz, Marisa Merz and Michelangelo Pistoletto.

The assortment reveals how Arte Povera encompassed many various media and types, with a conceptual method that often addresses nationality, immigration and geography; among the practitioners labored till very lately, or are nonetheless at it.

The present choice begins within the foyer, with Mr. Pistoletto’s reinterpretation of the Italian tricolor flag, made with rags, “Stracci italiani” (2007). Inside the galleries, his cheeky “Adamo ed Eva” (1962-87) is a portrait of a unadorned couple on polished chrome steel, in order that the viewer can’t assist however enter the image when standing in entrance of it. At 87, he’s nonetheless working.

Mr. Boetti (1940-1994) is represented by a number of works, together with “Mappa” (1983), an embroidered work that he commissioned Afghan artisans to assist him make, and “Pannello luminoso” (1966), a Color Field-style pink rectangle.

Scattered all through are works by Mr. Kounellis, who died in 2017, on the theme of journey and on the journey of reminiscences. He will get his personal devoted gallery, too. It has a 1960 untitled portray combined with a number of later sculptures in metal and iron (certainly one of them incorporates espresso, which you’ll be able to scent earlier than you get to it).

Ms. Merz — the one distinguished lady within the group, who died final 12 months — is represented by a number of items together with “Senza titolo (Untitled),” a 2009 small, upward-facing head on a pedestal. Made of uncooked clay, it virtually seems to cry and retains traces of the artist’s contact across the eyes, nostril and mouth.

Now, there’s additionally a particular present, “Homemade,” within the final gallery, that includes work made by eight Italian artists quarantined in New York in the course of the pandemic. It started as an internet and Instagram invitational, and morphed into an actual exhibition.

“Magazzino wanted to support artists making new work during this time,” Mr. Calabrese stated.

He added, “Some of these artists had to deal with a lot of anxiety and stress. And the common sentiment was that this kept them going. We called our regular video meetings ‘Zoom apperitvi.’”

One of the artists in “Homemade,” Alessandro Teoldi, was on web site once I visited. To preserve our buzzers calm, we circled one another at a take away as we chatted.

Mr. Teoldi, who hails from Milan and lives in Brooklyn, talked about his 2020 piece “Untitled (Delta, Norwegian, COPA, Lufthansa, Thomas Cook Airlines, Hawaiian and Iberia),” which is an summary assemblage of stretched airline blankets that appears from afar like a portray. He made it simply earlier than the pandemic hit.

“I buy them on eBay or I steal them when I travel — or when I used to travel,” Mr. Teoldi stated. I feel his phrasing made us each a bit wistful.

His commissioned works, a collection of 4 reliefs known as “Untitled (hug),” will get at a necessary characteristic of the pandemic — the shortage of bodily intimacy. The 4 panels, solid in cement after beginning out as a paper collage, all present folks hugging.

The materials, Mr. Teoldi stated, helps underline “being home but not being able to move, stuck in a building made of cement.”

Having a fee to work on “was a great experience for me,” Mr. Teoldi stated. “Quarantine was such a scary time.”

The different artists in “Homemade” are Andrea Mastrovito, Beatrice Scaccia, Danilo Correale, Davide Balliano, Francesco Simeti, Luisa Rabbia and Maria D. Rapicavoli.

The EGOpro Active Tag that was making my viewing of their works extra-safe is an adaptation of expertise that has been round for some time, utilizing ultra-wideband radio waves.

The tags had been developed by the Italian firm Advanced Microwave Engineering, which then partnered with the American firm Advanced Industrial Marketing, properly mirroring the married union of the Sardinia-born Mr. Spanu and Ms. Olnick, who’s from New York City.

The expertise is presently in use on the Duomo in Florence, Italy, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

“Proximity detection was developed to keep people away from machines, for safety,” Rob Hruskoci, the founding father of Advanced Industrial Marketing in Indianapolis, advised me. “Until March, no one cared about keeping people away from other people.”

Mr. Hruskoci stated that two different U.S. museums had bought the system.

José Pazos, a New York City-based artist who had come up for the day, stated that the system labored nicely for him.

“This is by far the most responsible approach I’ve seen,” Mr. Pazos stated. “This is the standard until we have a vaccine. As citizens of New York, we have to protect each other.”

Mr. Spanu and Ms. Olnick had been readily available for the reopening — they dwell about 5 minutes away in Garrison — and had been sitting in Magazzino’s huge, open courtyard, round which the galleries circle.

I puzzled concerning the high-tech method and whether or not it was by some means misplaced, provided that Arte Povera — actually “impoverished art” — had commonplace supplies as certainly one of its core tenets.

Ms. Olnick had a considerate reply.

“Arte Povera artists were expressing their times — the big transitions they all lived through, the freedom and idealism,” she stated. “Their motto was, ‘Art is life.’ And this” — she gestured at a small, distanced circle of individuals all sporting masks and connected to buzzers — “is life now.”


Magazzino Italian Art

2700 Route 9, Cold Spring, N.Y.; 845-666 7202, magazzino.artwork. Entry is free, however reservations are required.



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