Making exhibitions that involve all of Italy

Making exhibitions that involve all of Italy
Making exhibitions that involve all of Italy

Classis Ravenna. City and Territory Museum. Photo credits Tommaso Raffoni – RavennAntica Foundation

It is not simply a question of reiterating, once again, the great aesthetic, artistic, environmental and cultural value of our country. It is rather about organize Italy as a major exhibition: a management and curatorial project of national importance, which designs new routes in our peninsula, enriching so-called minor territories with meaning, and which tells our country as never before.
The reflection, after all, starts from simple premises: each exhibition presents its own cultural itineraries, and often these itineraries are organized by areas (thematic, chronological, etc.). Obviously, in almost all cases, itineraries and areas are included within the same building: a visitor buys a ticket, enters and visits the exhibition, stopping, sometimes in the cafeteria, more rarely at the restaurant, and buying a gadget on the way out. I remember. During the visit, the visitor is often offered a narrative and diachronic cultural experience: a theme is chosen and works of art that are able to represent that theme under different points of view are collected within the same curatorial path. view or, as often happens, its evolution over time. To try to reach the highest number of visitors, often the exhibitions also focus on brands: artists whose name alone is able to attract additional visitor flows compared to those that would be obtained in their absence. This type of cultural product has its own internal logic and it is no coincidence that it is the most widespread format. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be the only one.

We need to restore a sense of belonging to our territories”.

If we look at the contemporary representation we give to our art history, the image we provide through this type of format is a concentration of superstars, surrounded by authors of more or less lesser importance. But we all know that this representation reflects only a partial truth: the artistic currents extended territorially, following the itineraries of the artists who were commissioned to work in different national territories. Artists, even those who are considered minors today, intervened in specific territories, adapting their style to the new taste, and this today allows you to find works, some of which are truly valuable, in many peripheral museums, to which the great circuit of exhibitions lends little attention, and which are not sufficiently valued even in the narration of the territory addressed to citizens.


Thinking of an exhibition that involves, in a concrete way, the whole national territory would reflect that richness of our territory, which is always a source of pride, but which few, however, really know. Integrating, in a single exhibition itinerary, different cities and regions, with a single catalog, with a ticket valid in all exhibition venues, with an important communication project, would allow tell our country in a different way, also helping small territorial realities to understand what role the works exhibited in their museum have played within a broader perspective.
Create an exhibition, providing for the display of the works in their original location, investing the resources deriving from lower transport and insurance costs in enhancement. Find local sponsors, who participate in association with institutional sponsors.
Define connections between museums, both relational and functional (ticket office, bookshop, etc.). Because art is not completely superimposable to other sectors: of course, the brand works and will always work. But there is not only that. The brand is used for some types of cultural products. For others it serves to restore a broader sense of the simple binge of famous paintings in a major museum. We need to restore a sense of belonging to our territories.

Stefano Monti

Article published in Grandi Mostre # 25

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