Red Regatta Preview
The Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations, working in collaboration with Magazzino Italian Art Foundation and artist Melissa McGill, presented an exhibition of related and preparatory works to preview McGill’s latest project Red Regatta ahead of its debut in Venice. During the Venice Biennale, McGill will launch Red Regatta, an unprecedented series of large-scale choreographed regattas of traditional vela al terzo sailboats, hoisted with hand-painted red sails, that will activate Venice’s lagoon and waterways. The project unites Venetians and visitors to celebrate the cultural and maritime history of this iconic city and to call attention to the forces that threaten its future, such as the effects of climate change and sea level rise.
On March 28th at the Permanent Mission of Italy to the UN, Magazzino Italian Art Foundation and McGill delved into her creative process through exploring preparatory artworks made over the last two years, illustrating the conceptualization of this largescale performative artwork. Works on view included sketcbooks, many swatches of different reds hand-mixed by McGill, and multimedia artist renderings that visualize how the regattas will appear in Venice. McGill also shared documentation of her research and process of assigning of individual reds to fit to each vela al terzo’s unique sail and boat shape.
The exhibition coincided with the United Nations General Assembly’s meeting, Climate Protection for All: High-Level Meeting on the Protection of the Global Climate for Present & Future Generations of Humankind in the Context of the Economic, Social and Environmental Dimensions of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which aimed to provide a bridge between past and future summits on climate change and progress the conversation on the implementation of financial, technological and political methods to protect the climate. Red Regatta calls attention to the specific environmental and cultural factors that impact the daily lives of Venetians and illustrates how global climate trends impact individual lives and human history.
Red Regatta is presented in collaboration with Associazione Vela al Terzo Venezia and more than 250 local partners, led by McGill, curator Chiara Spangaro, and project manager Marcella Ferrari, and is co-organized by Magazzino Italian Art Foundation. Unfolding in multiple parts over the duration of the Biennale, artist-led workshops and public programs developed in collaboration with No Longer Empty will explore the project’s themes in relation to the traditions that have shaped Venetian life for a millennium. Red Regatta is the first artwork to be registered as a Clean Regatta, a program of Sailors for the Sea that mobilizes sailors to protect the ocean through education and activism.
Additional details on programs and opportunities to view Red Regatta will be announced. For more information visit www.redregatta.org.
About the Artist
Melissa McGill lived in Venice from 1991-93, and returns regularly for inspiration, for work, and for friendship. Red Regatta was inspired by her observations over more than two decades of the challenges Venice is facing given the impact of climate change and intense tourism. Melissa’s intimate knowledge of Venice and her deep personal and professional relationships in the city have made it possible for her to develop this ambitious project. She is particularly passionate about the collaborative aspect and the fact that Red Regatta will involve many members of the local community. The project has been intentionally designed to welcome the participation and enjoyment of local citizens and to honor their abiding love for their city.
McGill is an interdisciplinary artist based in New York who creates ambitious, large-scale site-specific art projects, and works in a variety of media, including photography, painting, drawing, sculpture, sound, light and immersive installation. Her works connect viewers to overlooked histories and traditions, explores the conversation between the visible and the invisible, and heightens awareness of our surroundings.
Her previous sculptural sound work, The Campi, May 2017, invoked daily life in the Venetian Campo and was presented at Carlo Scarpa’s Casa/Studio Scatturin, Università Iuav di Venezia and Giorgio Mastinu Fine Art in Venice, Italy. Constellation, 2015-2017, installed on an island in the Hudson River, New York, lit each night creating a new constellation transforming Bannerman castle ruin. McGill has been exhibiting her artwork nationally and internationally since 1991, including solo exhibitions at Francesco Pantaleone Arte Contemporanea, Milan; Manitoga: The Russel Wright Design Center, Garrison, New York, White Cube, London; Power House, Memphis; Palazzo Capello, Venice; and CRG Gallery, New York.
Magazzino Italian Art Foundation, Co-Organizer
Magazzino Italian Art Foundation is a museum located in Cold Spring, New York, devoted to Italian Postwar and Contemporary Art. Magazzino, meaning warehouse in Italian, was co-founded by Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu. Designed by Spanish architect Miguel Quismondo, the 20,000 square-foot structure was completed in June 2017. Magazzino serves as a resource for scholars and students and offers an extensive library and archive of Italian Art. In addition, Magazzino has become a cultural hub for the vibrant Hudson Valley community thanks to the joint programs with local organizations. Under the guidance of Director Vittorio Calabrese, his team and its curatorial programs, Magazzino Italian Art bridges collaborations with American and Italian institutions not only to support contemporary Italian artists but also to foster discussions on Italian Postwar and Contemporary Art in the United States.
Admission is free to the public. No reservation required.
About the Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations
On December 14, 1955, Italy joined the United Nations Charter, becoming a member of the Organization. Italy participates in the UN’s activities with growing commitment, contributing to the pursuance of the Charter’s objectives, from maintaining international peace and security, to the promotion of human rights to sustainable development. Over these decades, Italy has contributed with determination to the drafting of the General Assembly and Security Council resolutions that have made major inroads at the level of international law.
Over 60 years after joining the Organization, Italy’s contribution to achieving the objectives set forth in the Charter continues to be unconditional and appreciated. We rank seventh among the contributors to the regular and peacekeeping budgets and we are the top troop contributor among Western Countries to peacekeeping operations. Since 2006, Italy has participated in the UNIFIL mission deployed in Southern Lebanon. We host the third largest UN hub after New York and Geneva: from the Agri-Food hub in Rome –FAO, IFAD and the WFP headquarters – to the UN Global Service Centre in Brindisi, providing technologies and logistics services to all UN Missions, and the hub in Turin, where the UN Staff College, training center for the entire UN System, operates.
Red Regatta (Coppa del Presidente della Repubblica) by artist Melissa McGill (b. 1969) was on view at Magazzino Italian Art Foundation from December 2018 - April 2019. Red Regatta (Rossi Per Red Regatta) and The Campo Box (Ghetto Nuovo) are currently on view in the Research Center of Magazzino.
Q&A with artist Melissa McGill and journalist Julia Felsenthal.
Red Regatta is an independent public art project created by artist Melissa McGill that will activate Venice’s lagoon and canals with large-scale regattas of traditional vela al terzo sailboats hoisted with hand-painted red sails. Unfolding in multiple parts from May through November 2019 over the duration of the 58th Venice Biennale, the Red Regatta convenes more than two hundred and fifty Venetian partners working closely with the artist, ranging from local sailors and artisans to art students, to present an unprecedented spectacle that calls awareness to the central issues that face Venice and its residents today: the displacement of local inhabitants due to the imminent threat of climate change and sea level rise and mass tourism to the region.