Damien Hirst, Purple Lagoon, 2016. Household gloss on canvas, 51 x 81 inches (1295 x 2057 mm) (100mm dot). Private Collection.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: As Italy gradually eases restrictions aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 and museums reopen, Rome’s Galleria Borghese is mounting an exhibition dedicated to British artist Damien Hirst — a Miuccia Prada favorite.

The Italian luxury company helmed by Prada and her husband and co-chief executive officer Patrizio Bertelli are supporting the show titled “Damien Hirst Archaeology Now,” a retrospective gathering some 80 artworks that retrace the artist’s career. Hirst works are also part of Fondazione Prada’s permanent collection in Milan, such as the installation “Waiting for Inspiration (Red and Blue)” from 1994, a giant glass and steel structure with flies — some alive, some dead — and maggots.

Known for his provocative art charged with social commentary which blends mediums, Hirst’s art pieces will dot the Galleria Borghese venue and will be flanked by the museum’s permanent collection, which boasts Roman sculptures from the likes of Canova and Bernini and Italian paintings from the Renaissance and the 17th century.

Damien Hirst, The Severed Head of Medusa, 2008. Malachite, 15 x 19.5 x 20.5 inches (380 x 496 x 520 mm). Edition of 3 with 2 artist’s proofs. Private Collector.

Damien Hirst, “The Severed Head of Medusa,” 2008. Malachite, 15 x 19.5 x 20.5 inches (380 x 496 x 520 mm). Edition of 3 with 2 artist’s proofs. Private Collector.  Courtesy of Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd ©Damien Hirst and Science Ltd.

Starting June 8 and stretching until early November, the showcase — curated by Anna Coliva and Mario Codognato — aims to shed a light on Hirst’s multimedia approach. For instance, “The Severed Head of Medusa,” a 2008 medium-scale sculpture, is carved in malachite, while the life-size “Children of a Dead King” masterpiece is crafted from bronze.

Other sculptures on show — made of silver and gold, Carrara marble, coral and semiprecious stones — are all part of the “Treasures From the Wreck of the Unbelievable” series that was first exhibited in 2017 at Venice’s Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana, the exhibition space owned by luxury titan François Pinault. The Rome showcase will also feature a group of paintings from Hirst’s 2016 series “Colour Space” based on the Bristol, England-born artist’s renowned spot paintings.

Separately on Monday, Giorgio Armani revealed his Milan’s exhibition space Armani/Silos is reopening for business from Wednesday. The company will mark the occasion by extending the photo exhibit dedicated to Peter Lindbergh that was first unveiled in February 2020, ahead of the pandemic.

Armani

Alessandra Carlsson, Beri Smither, Harue Miyamoto for Emporio Armani lensed by Peter Lindbergh.  Peter Lindbergh/Courtesy of Giorgio Armani.

“In the arts, men and women express their qualities in the highest form: fantasy, invention, creativity; the hard work that lies behind the realization of an idea,” said Armani. “Beauty inspires, nourishes, soothes. The reopening of Armani/Silos is a beacon for recovery and optimism: there can be no future without culture and without beauty,” he added.

Titled “Heimat. A Sense of Belonging,” the exhibition displays both published and unpublished works by the prolific photographer, organized over three thematic sections: “The Naked Truth,” followed by “Heimat,” which in German means “home” or “homeland,” positioned in the main room, and “The Modern Heroine.”

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