MILAN — The Ermenegildo Zegna Group on Tuesday presented its new ZegnArt project, which aims to strengthen the relation between fashion entrepreneurs and contemporary art.

This story first appeared in the March 7, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Anna Zegna, the firm’s image director and president of Fondazione Zegna, unveiled details of the venture at the company’s sprawling headquarters here, underscoring that ZegnArt is an independent project but complementary to the group’s philanthropic foundation.

ZegnArt focuses on three separate areas, each with a different mission: Public, Special Projects and Art in Global Stores.

Public combines the commission of a public work in collaboration with an international institution in a selected emerging country; a residency will be offered to a local artist, who will be invited to study in Italy. “Public will help the company approach the effervescence of young people, who have an innovative vision, for a mutual collaboration,” said Anna Zegna, noting how the project will help promote new ways to communicate through contemporary art as well as exchange resources and knowledge. The first chosen country is India, with the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Mumbai as a partner.

“This is the only museum in India showcasing contemporary art,” said Tasneem Zakaria Mehta, director of the venue. “And no corporate house has ever before purchased or donated works to a museum in India. This is the first time.”

Public will move to Turkey in 2013 and Brazil in 2014. “These are legs of a journey from Trivero [where the company was founded] into the world and a dialogue between cultures that one must get to know,” said Zegna.

The Special Projects division is made up of ventures in collaboration with cultural institutions. The first, curated by Maria Luisa Frisa, is a commissioned installation by Lucy and Jorge Orta, “Fabulae Romanae,” in partnership with and conceived for the Maxxi, Rome’s National Museum of the 21st Century Arts, designed by Zaha Hadid, and with the support of the Centre for Sustainable Fashion of the London College of Fashion. The work will be previewed in Rome on March 21, and be on display from March 22 to Sept. 23. After that, a part of the installation will be donated by the Zegna group to the Maxxi and become part of the museum’s permanent collection.

For the Art in Global Stores section, Zegna will ask international artists to create works “inspired by the philosophy and spirit of the group,” which will be displayed within the brand’s stores. “The project is in line with the identity of the group, which attributes to art a fundamental role as a necessary tool for research and development, and which allows the international public to get close to a work of art,” said Zegna.

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