Bruno Gambone: From the Olnick Spanu Collection
Magazzino Italian Art Foundation is pleased to present Bruno Gambone: From the Olnick Spanu Collection, an exhibition of select ceramics by Italian artist Bruno Gambone on view at the Consulate General of Italy in New York, from February 24 through March 23, 2020.
This special exhibition showcases the work of Italian ceramicist Bruno Gambone, exploring in particular his radical experimentation with shapes and decoration. On view by appointment, Bruno Gambone: From the Olnick Spanu Collection comprises a total of 14 works, focusing on the artist’s practice from the 1970s and 1980s.
A leading figure in the world of ceramics of the 20th and 21st century, Gambone began his training with his father, renowned ceramicist Guido Gambone, who imparted on him a classic education on the geometry of shapes. In the early 1960s, Gambone moved to New York briefly, where he was greatly influenced by the expressive character of Rauschenberg’s materials and Stella’s geometries. It was during this time when Gambone began to first experiment with his approach to a flat spatiality, and to renew the idea of decoration and painting, of modulation and modelling. Gambone began to radically differentiate his work from his father’s style and began to focus on a “perceptive, immaterial geometry.” By the mid-1970s, Gambone annuls the function of the container in his ceramics, bringing his work closer and closer to sculpture, as can be seen through his fantastic animals, whose first version was designed in the ‘70s, and the larger grès vases of the ‘80s.
About Bruno Gambone
Bruno Gambone was born in Vietri sul Mare (Salerno) in 1936. In the early 1950s, when he was a teenager, he dedicated himself to ceramics, gaining experience and following in the footsteps of his father, Guido Gambone, one of the greatest Italian ceramists on the 20th century, at his workshop in Florence. Toward the later part of the 1950s, he went on to work in Andrea d’Arienzo’s ceramic factory in Florence. After working for d’Arienzo, Gambone experimented with fabrics and painting on canvas, going onto present his first solo painting exhibition at Galleria La Strozzina in Pallazo Strozzi in Florence in 1959.
In the early 1960s Bruno Gambone set out for New York where he met artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein, Louise Nevelson and Andy Warhol, while continuing his experience in painting, sculpture, and also in theater and cinema. Eventually, Gambone returned to Italy and settled in Milan. Following his father’s death in 1969, he returned to Florence to keep the ceramic studio running and devoted himself almost entirely to ceramic work.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Gambone went on to experiment with glass in partnership with manufacturers in the Colle Val D’Elsa area, and with other studios in Venice, designing jewelry and furniture works inspired by the same imaginary animals which frequented his ceramic works.
Bruno Gambone is a member of the Italian National Ceramics Council and of the Academy of Geneva. He served as President of CNA's ASNART (Italian Trade Association of Artistic Craftsmen) for ten years and today remains its Honorary President. In 1997 he was appointed Artistic Director of the Italian Ceramic Awards of Vietri sul Mare (Salerno.)
Gambone’s work has been the subject of major solo and international exhibitions including Mostra internazionale dei giovani (Milan, Turin, 1967); Oggi (Milan, 1968); 30 artisti europei (Bochum, 1969); Donne Madonne e Sirene (Salerno, 2001); Corno d’Autore (Naples, 2001); Terra e Fuoco (Brussels, 2003); Metamorfosi di terra (Turin, 2007); Sculture (Florence, 2007). He has also participated in national (International Pottery Competition, Faenza, 1971 – ’72, ’74, ’77 – Venice Biennale, 1972; XV Milan Triennale, 1973; Mediterranean Pottery Competition, Grottaglie, 1979, Gallery, Bologna, 1985; Galleria Piaser, Turin, 1987; Galleria My Home, Albenga, 1988; Galleria L’Angololungo, Rome, 1990; Arte Fiera, Bologna, 1991; Galleria Fallani Best, Florence 1996) and international fairs (Munich fair, 1974; Silverberg Gallery, Malmö, 1975; Art Muddy, Tokyo, 1979; Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1982; Festival of Italian Design, Houston, 1983; III International Ceramic Festival, Mino, Japan, 1992).
The Olnick Spanu Collection
The collection of Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu features seminal works by American Pop artists, international and Italian postwar, conceptual, and contemporary artists, with a strong focus on art from the Arte Povera movement. It also includes a large, curated collection of over 500 hand-blown Murano glass works from the 20th and 21st century. Though Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu began collecting Murano glass and Italian art right after they met, in the late 1980s, they both already had an established, independent passion for art. For Olnick and Spanu, collecting Murano glass was the turning point for the collection, which then opened the way to ceramics, jewelry, design, and Italian art from the second part of the 20th century as well as Italian contemporary art.
Prior to their creation of Magazzino Italian Art in 2017, Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu established The Olnick Spanu Art Program, to bring the work of Italian contemporary artists to the United States. From 2003 through 2015, they annually commissioned a contemporary Italian artist to create a site-specific artwork for their property in Garrison, New York. Previous participants of the program include: Giorgio Vigna, Massimo Bartolini, Mario Airò, Domenico Bianchi, Remo Salvadori, Stefano Arienti, Bruna Esposito, Marco Bagnoli, Francesco Arena and Paolo Canevari.
About the Consulate General of Italy in New York
The Consulate General of Italy in New York protects the interests of, and provides services to, the huge Italian community in the State of New York and Tristate area. The Consular services deal with cross cutting issues, including passports, civil records, registry, social assistance and legal services, in addition to the issuance of visas and dual citizenship for non-Italian people.
The Consulate General of Italy in New York is the point of reference for all New Yorkers who are interested in Italy and it is actively involved in strengthening the cultural, economic and technological ties between Italy and the City of New York, under the guidance of the Embassy of Italy in Washington DC.