My word! How have I let this many days slide by without an update?!
Simply, life has been in the way. A week ago, I was in the midst of exams for the introductory term of school, and when they finished, I collapsed. After the adrenaline rush comes the opposite swing of the pendulum (i.e. lethargy).
The weekend before that, I visited the Fondazione Prada (on Halloween) by myself on a crispy autumn Saturday, to view the new museum’s Rem Koolhaas architecture and both revolving and permanent art collections. The latter are mostly from the private collection of Miuccia Prada and her husband Patrizio Bertelli. Ms. Prada is the chief designer and creative force behind the Prada brand, and her husband Patrizio Bertelli is the CEO.
The museum is associated with Prada in name and financial backing, but otherwise the Prada commercial world makes no appearance at the art and design complex on the outskirts of Milan, which is located across from abandoned rail yards.
The only things to buy are art books.
Getting to the Fondazione isn’t simple, and so only determined tourists and locals find their way to its warehouses, charming Wes Anderson-designed cafe, and thousands of square feet of abstract, conceptual art.
In general, Fondazione Prada is minimal, emphasizes negative space, and requires a bit more open-mindedness (even more than usual for Milan). I, of course, enjoy almost any art, so I liked parts of it but was unmoved by other sections of the complex, which is comprised by seven or eight separate buildings with a central courtyard.
Perhaps the most provocative of the exhibitions was the “haunted house,” a multi-story tower painted lustrous golden, filled with all sorts of strange, sometimes macabre three-dimensional art. Part of the experience is climbing up its five flights of stairs that ring a caged elevator shaft only used for emergencies.
There were many instances of anatomical parts protruding from walls and floors, as if partly enveloped in a separate dimension.
I won’t belabor any sort of analysis, since I am no art expert. See the photos instead! Some comparison could be made to the city’s other attraction created by a fashion house (Armani/Silos), but the purpose of the two are at total odds.
Giorgio Armani’s archival collection is just that—an exploration of his life’s work. Fondazione Prada is purely an art collection, unrelated to clothing, but with the same cool execution one finds in everything touched by the Prada name.
I have just scratched the surface of art and visual education in Milano, as the city is home to everything from The Last Supper to historic homes (Villa Necchi) and lesser-known galleries, points-of-interest, etc. I can’t wait, while taking my time, to experience them all in their vast diversity and style.
To read more about Fondazione Prada, Ms. Prada, and anything else PRADA (forgive me, but it is one of my favorite design labels)…see this fantastic article from the WSJ magazine.