At first blush, the crumpled 55-gallon oil drum spilling its contents onto the gallery floor gives the impression that Frost Art Museum's new show might be a knock on the high price of gas or an ironic ode to car culture. "Gran Torino," however, is not a stab at America's love affair with the muscle car or a nod to the Clint Eastwood flick of the same name. Instead, it offers a revved up look at the work of artists hailing from Turin, Italy, that nation's version of Detroit and headquarters to automakers Lancia, Ferrari, Fiat, and Alfa Romeo. "Most people know us best as the home of the Shroud of Turin," says Paolo Facelli, who along with Francesco Poli curated the didactic sprawling group show. "But we're an international center of the contemporary arts and one of the birthplaces of arte povera." Their high-horsepower exhibit boasts 30 works by 30 artists created using a broad arsenal of materials and styles. It features artists that emerged during the '60s, '70s, and '80s, along with a newer generation that has surfaced over the past 15 years. The show culled from private international galleries and collections, as well as from the collections of participant artists themselves was more than a year in the making, and there are plans to take it across the U.S. and Europe after it leaves Frost. The show consists of paintings, sculpture, photography, video, and mixed-media installations. It includes big-name artists such as Michelangelo Pistoletto, Mario Merz, Nicola Bolla, Luigi Mainolfi, Filippo di Sambuy, Botto and Bruno, and Fabio Vaile. Those artists were influential in the development of arte povera (poor art)-style and contributed to an evolution of the Italian avant-garde over the past four decades.
Tuesdays-Sundays, 10 a.m. Starts: Feb. 9. Continues through April 17, 2011