Galleria Emi Fontana Shifting Time Zone: From Milan to Los Angeles
GALLERIA EMI FONTANA SHIFTING TIME ZONE:
FROM MILAN TO LOS ANGELES
EMI FONTANA CONTINUES EXHIBITION ACTIVITY AS
WEST OF ROME, LOS ANGELES
EMI FONTANA CONTINUES EXHIBITION ACTIVITY AS WEST OF ROME, LOS ANGELES
After 17 years of programming, Galleria Emi Fontana the historic Milan-based art venue has closed its doors with a final exhibition that brings the gallery’s history full circle: a solo show by installation artist Liliana Moro, one of the first artists that the gallery represented and exhibited in its first year of 1992.
Emi Fontana now continues her exhibition activities in Los Angeles with two organizations: West of Rome, Inc.—which continues to operate within the primary market—and non-profit sister organization West of Rome Public Art.
As an alternative to museum and gallery programs, West of Rome explores a diversity of urban spaces. Each exhibition, installation, or event takes place in a different venue depending on the nature of each artist’s project—sometimes off the beaten track, sometimes in the middle of a highly trafficked street.
Although exhibition activities have moved to Los Angeles, Milan continues to serve as an operative venue with an office that represents, promotes, and sells works by the artists thus far represented. West of Rome’s business activities are based in an office in Pasadena, California.
GALLERIA EMI FONTANA, A BRIEF HISTORY:
Despite the art market’s decline in 1992—in a climate not unlike today’s—Galleria Emi Fontana took off in what was then one of the most challenging cities for contemporary art in Europe. Since then, Fontana’s influence has had a profoundly positive effect on Milan’s cultural vitality.
At the beginning of the ’90s, the gallery program reflected a global focus on identity politics and relational aesthetics. These topics were introduced to Italy through the work of artists such as Rirkrit Tiravanija, Renée Green, Liam Gillick, and Adrian Piper. Post-feminism was another major discourse that informed the gallery’s identity. In its first year, the gallery showed only women artists, including Nancy Dwyer, Renée Green, Cosima von Bonin, and Liliana Moro.
In 1993 the gallery’s first “male show” was dedicated to Los Angeles-based artist Jeffrey Valance. The following year was crucial in defining the program: Mark Dion, Renée Green, and Luca Vitone—plus legendary Italian artist Ketty La Rocca (d. 1976; Galleria Emi Fontana represents the artist’s estate)—all had their first solo shows at the gallery, initiating long-standing and still thriving relationships. In 1995 the gallery featured Liam Gillick, followed in 1996 by Monica Bonvicini, whose career has been strongly supported by Emi Fontana. Today, Vitone, Moro, and Bonvicini are among the leading Italian artists of their generation.
Many international artists have had their Italian solo debut at Galleria Emi Fontana: Mark Dion (1994), Olafur Eliasson (1996), Alex Bag (1996), Rirkrit Tiravanija (1996), John Waters (1997), Adrian Piper (1997), Diana Thater (2000), Mike Kelley (2000), Sam Durant (2001), Michael Smith (2002), and more recently Sterling Ruby (2006).
Other notable moments include: Robert Smithson’s first posthumous exhibition in Italy since Asphalt Rundown in 1968 when the artist was still living. Realized in 1996 in collaboration with the estate, the exhibition featured a number of seminal works, including The Monuments of Passaic and the Spiral Jetty film; Mike Kelley’s exhibition “Extracurricular Activity, Projective Reconstruction #1” in 2000, which marked the first step of his multi-chapter masterpiece Day is Done, as well as Fontana’s first involvement in the production of such complex, large-scale works; and, in 2003, the gallery’s only painting show: “Adrian Piper Over the Edge,” the first complete survey of Piper’s LSD paintings and drawings (1965–67).
Emi Fontana is proud to bring this rich history with her to Los Angeles, where she looks forward to years of innovative activity.
West of Rome, Inc.
380 South Lake Avenue, Suite 210
Pasadena, CA 91101
626 793 1504
Galleria Emi Fontana (Office)
Viale Bligny 42 20136 Milano
39 02 58 322237