Paolo Ulian and Moreno Ratti have taken the 40cm x 40cm Carrara marble tile – normally used in construction, and have devised innovative ways to turn it into objects of art and design.

“40 x 40″ is the title of the show, and it is on view at the Garage Corsi, until the 3rd of August, 2014.

Visit Paolo Ulian’s website linked here.

Visit Moreno Ratti’s LinkedIn page, linked here.

Visit Carrara Marble Weeks’ website for a list of events, linked here.



Paolo Ulian, & Moreno Ratti
“40 x 40″
Carrara Marble Weeks
Until the 3rd of August, 2014
Garage Corsi
Hours: Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 6pm to midnight.

The photos are from Carrara Marble Weeks’ fb page, linked here.

Previously on Art is Life:

“Marble, between Art and Architecture” a talk by Italian art critic Achille Bonito Oliva ____________ Carrara Marble Weeks, 2014

Sculpture Shock: “Veni, Vidi, WC” a toilet punks Carrara Marble Weeks, 2014

Art, Architecture and Design, in the Tropic of Marble ____________ Carrara Marble Weeks, 2014

Michelangelo’s David: Tattooed – Carrara Marble Weeks 2013 comes to an irreverent, anarchic close

Michelangelo’s David – Tattooed ____________ Carrara Marble Weeks, 2013

Michele Simeoni, the “Artist of Fish,” ____________ Carrara Marble Weeks, 2013

Videomapping: “Movimento Label” – and Julio Hurrego ___________ Carrara Marble Weeks, 2013

Photos from the #ILove MarbleWeeks Photo Stream ____________ Carrara Marble Weeks, 2013

“Carrara, Marble Weeks” The Summer of Art – a photo gallery from La Repubblica daily

“We the Rats: we attack the world to strike at the sick heart of institutionalized art.” Tiny cement rats invade Carrara, punk Marble Weeks

“Terre Silenziose” – Luciano Massari’s sculpture exhibition kicks off Carrara Marble Weeks, 2013

“We the Rats: we attack the world to strike at the sick heart of institutionalized art.” Tiny cement rats invade Carrara, punk Marble Weeks



Figures, interior scenes, still lives, and architectural spaces make up Antonio Nunziante’s “Antologia della Pittura” his one-person exhibition at the Palazzo Panichi, in Pietrasanta.

The exhibition takes into account how paintings are born… and so preparatory drawings, photographs – and objects – are exhibited alongside the paintings. The viewer gets a behind-the-scenes- peek at the artist’s creative process.

Nunziante addresses the problems of figurative art – his works are contemporary yet they are grounded in a knowledge of the old masters. Luca Beatrice, the curator writes about Nunziante’s approach in the press materials: “His painting could appear as an interior projection, nostalgically anchored in a distant past, yet his attitude is that of a man of our times, curious of all technological innovation.”

Visit the artist’s website, linked here.


Antonio Nunziante
“Antologia della Pittura”
Until the 17th of August, 2014
Palazo Panichi
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, from 6:30 to 8:30pm and from 9pm to midnight.



Tensions are running high, as the conflict between the Quarries and the Environmentalists – and in turn their battle against the Tuscany Regional Government who recently passed an Environmental Plan which pleased neither side – intensifies.

A local hiking club’s trail signage was destroyed recently in the valley of Arni, in the Province of Stazzema, in the Apuan Alps – in the contested marble quarrying region in Tuscany.

The Cai of Pietrasanta, (that’s the City of Art’s Chapter of the “Club Alpino Italiano”) had recently laid out and marked a new “sentiero” (pathway) but the group was surprised to find all of the trail signage gone, before a planned Sunday hike.

Arni-Quarry-Wars-Photo-by-Lo-ScarponeIn recent months, in the high part of the town of Arni, altogether different signs have gone up, and these are banners clearly hostile to: the Apuan Alps Natural Park, the Cai, Environmentalists and anyone who might be “against the quarries.” (The banner at left intones: “Let’s Save the Quarries and the Quarry-workers” – the photo is from Lo Scarpone.)

The signs’ removal and presumed destruction certainly impacts the local hiking community, although the hikers themselves have no direct “chip on their shoulder” against the quarries. It’s “more than an act of vandalism” stated Giovanni Trevisiol, the Club’s local chapter, in an open letter which appeared in the Club’s website; “The act shows sheer stupidity on the part of the perpetrators, who lump together hikers and environmentalists as ‘enemies to fight’ all the while making the hiking trails more difficult still,” he continues.

The Apuan Alps’ Natural Park has recently signed an agreement with the Cai for the maintenance of the hiking trails, and this is a job made more difficult each year by acts of vandalism, lack of forest upkeep, and diminishing Park funds.

The valley of Arni is a mix of picturesque sights: the “Isola Santa,” the village sunk to make a lake (here’s a link to an english-language page from Turismo Garfagnana) and breathtaking views of the Apuan Alps, are just some of them. We link you here to a Flickr “photo stream” where you can see more photos of the hiking trails in the region.

Visit the Cai Pietrasanta official website for information about their hikes and related projects, linked here.

Previously on Art is Life:

The Quarry Controversy: Tuscany passes a compromise plan on the management of marble quarries within the Apuan Alps Natural Park – and no one is happy; scheduled for tomorrow Tuesday the 1st of July: a complete shutdown of the industry… and a “March on Florence”

24 hours to “Stop the Destruction of the Apuan Alps”

“In the quarry of Michelangelo, it’s war between environmentalists and quarrymen” The Italian daily ‘La Stampa’ follows the ongoing controversy over the marble quarries in the Apuan Alps

Marble Quarry Closures – The seven mayors of the Versilia stand united against Tuscany

48 marble quarries at risk of being shut down as part of new Tuscany Region environmental plan

“L’economia alternativa nelle Apuane” conference will address alternatives to the ongoing marble quarrying, this Saturday, in Lucca

“Turning Art History into Toothpaste” The issues involving the “ongoing environmental disaster” in Carrara’s marble region are beginning to be noticed

<Reposting: “The destruction of the Apuan Alps; the greatest environmental disaster of Europe”

UPDATE: ____________ “Stop the destruction of the Apuan Alps” – Online petition gathers steam, prompts an official response

“SALVIAMO LE APUANE” Environmentalists and “escursionisti” tag Mount Pania to stop the “destruction of the Apuan Alps”

“The Plundered Alps” Der Spiegel Magazine tells of the devastation of the Apuan Alps

John Singer Sargent’s watercolors of the Marble Quarries in Carrara

“The Apennine in the light of day / Is a mighty mountain dim and gray.” B&W photos of the marble quarries in the Apuan Alps over Carrara

“Out of the Mist – the Rock Art of the Alpi Apuane” at Villa Gori


It’s Friday, and time for another “Aperitivo con l’Artista” – a chance to meet and listen to an artist talk about his journey – in the Chiostro of Sant’Agostino, in Pietrasanta.

This evening at sunset Emanuele Giannelli discusses his approach to art. The art critic Enrico Mattei will moderate.

Giannelli studied in Rome, and got his diploma in sculpture at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Carrara. He has had numerous one-person exhibitions in the area, among which: “Opere Prime,” at the Centro Culturale “L. Russo,” Pietrasanta (1986); “Artisti in piazza,” Seravezza (1986; 1987; 1988); Galleria Studio, Forte dei Marmi (one-man-show, 1989; ’90; ’91; ’92; ’93; ’94); Palazzo Paolina, Viareggio (1989); Ospedale Psichiatrico, Maggiano, LU (1991); Galleria Botti, Pietrasanta (1992); Atelier di Carrara (1993; ’96); “Le forme del mare,” in Marina di Pietrasanta (1994); Galleria Pegaso, Forte dei Marmi (one-man-show, 1995; ’96; ’97; ’98; ’99); “Credit Art,” at the Palazzo Mediceo, Seravezza (1998); “Il disegno degli scultori,” at the Centro Culturale “L. Russo,” Pietrasanta (1988); Galleria Nicola Ricci, Pietrasanta (2004 and a one-man-show in Carrara); “Contemporaneo Versiliese,” Viareggio (2007); Gestalt Studio, Pietrasanta (one-man-show, 2007); Centro Culturale “L. Russo” (one-man-show, 2010).

Visit the artist’s website, linked here.

“Aperitivo con l’Artista”
Emanuele Giannelli and Enrico Mattei
Friday, the 18th of July, 2014,
at 7:30pm
Chiostro di Sant’Agostino

Previously on Art is Life:

“Aperitivo con l’Artista” features the Italian Sculptor Giuseppe bergomi, Tuesday at sunset, at the Chiostro in Pietrasanta

Bergomi in the Piazza – Pietrasanta Sculpture 2012

“Aperitivo con l’Artista” features the Peruvian Sculptor Melitón E. Rivera, and the art critic Costantino Paolicchi, tonight at the Chiostro in Pietrasanta

“Aperitivo con l’Artista” kicks off this Thursday, the 19th with a toast – with artist Alfredo Sasso and moderator Lodovico Gierut


Photographer Luca Palatresi exhibits a series of images of figures emerging from obscurity and the shadows, in “Darkness” at La Bottega, in Marina di Pietrasanta.

The exhibition, curated by Serena del Soldato, is the photographer’s examination of the new forms and volumes that emerge out of darkness; it’s a study of light, or rather of its absence. The photographer has a background in commercial photography; he has won numerous prizes and is the artistic director of the FOFU Phot’Art Festival. He lives and works in Tuscany.

The opening reception is Saturday, the 19th of July, 2014, at 7:30pm.

Visit the photographer’s website, linked here.



Luca Palatresi
From the 19th of July to the 7th of September, 2014
La Bottega – Spazio per la Fotografia
Viale Apua, 188,
marina di Pietrasanta
For information call: (+39) 0584 22502






“Scolpire con la luce: l’arte non scolpita” (Sculpting with Light: Non-sculpted Art) is the title of Fiorenzo Sernacchioli’s series of photographs of marble, which go on exhibit at Pietrasanta’s M.U.S.A., the City of Art’s “virtual art and architecture museum.” Alessandro Romanini, the Director of the Centro Arti Visive, states in a review of the photographer’s work: “Sernacchioli’s relationship with photography, is one based on the expressive values of painting, sculpting time, to cut out its significant fragment, crystallizing it in an atemporal, ideal dimension.”

The opening reception is Saturday, the 19th of July, 2014, at 6pm.

The photographer pursued an education in painting in Rome, and the formation shows in his compositions and exploration of light. He currently lives in Lucca, where he continues work in traditional and digital photography.

Visit the photographer’s website, linked here.



Fiorenzo Sernacchioli
“Scolpire con la luce: l’arte non scolpita”
From the 19th of July, until the 3rd of August, 2014

MuSA – Museo Virtuale della Scultura e dell’Architettura
Via Sant’Agostino 61
Tel. 0583 9765 – e.mail


Ebi de Boer and Lotte Thuenker exhibit “Poesia in Scultura e Pittura”- poetry in sculpture and painting at Intrecciarte Art Gallery in Pietrasanta, starting this Wednesday. They are two German artists who’ve made Pietrasanta the heart of their creative endeavors. Ebi works in marble and bronze, Lotte – who also works in stone – will show a series of new paintings.

The opening reception is this Friday, the 18th of July, 2014, at 7pm.
The closing reception is Thursday, the 31st of July, 2014, at 7pm.

Visit Ebi de Boer’s website, linked here.

Visit Lotte Thuenker’s website, linked here.


Ebi de Boer • Lotte Thuenker
“Poesia in Scultura e Pittura”
From the 17th to the 31st of July, 2014.
Intrecciarte Art Gallery
via Barsanti, 50

For more information: email

Previously on Art is Life:

Ebi de Boer, Pietrasanta based sculptor charts the Multiverse, in Poetry and Stone ____________ Pietrasanta Artists & Sculptors, 2013

Lotte Thuenker, Pietrasanta based sculptor exhibits her graceful marble forms in Bavaria, until March 13, 2012


“Officina no. 4″ is the name of a newly formed artists’ collective, which features work by four women artists – they show their work together at the “Fashion Art Versilia” event, slated for later this week at La Versiliana.

The four artists of “Officina no. 4″ are (and we link to their websites or blogs, wherever possible) Barbara Adamsky, who works in sculpture, Sandra Landi, who will bring vases decorated with fabric, Lucia Pescaglini, who works in jewelry, and Olga Pong, who makes designer hats.

The opening reception/cocktail is Thursday, the 17th of July, 2014 at 7pm.

“Fashion Art Versilia” is a fair dedicated to art and fashion; according to Daniela Del Cima, the event founder it’s dedicated to the unique landscape of Italy, and to one-of-a-kind artworks. The 3-day event happens in the picturesque setting of the Versiliana, in Marina di Pietrasanta, and will be home to dozens of stands showcasing the collections of local and international designers. The central theme of the fair is fashion/art that is “limited edition, customizable, and totally Made in Italy.” The photographer Costanza Mansueti will record the beauties attending the event, and will produce, in the future, an exhibition of the photographs.

The Mayor of Pietrasanta, Domenico Lombardi, along with the Versiliana Foundation President Dianora Poletti, and the Foundation’s Director General Manrico Nicolai, will host an aperitivo, this Thursday, between 7pm and 9pm.

“Fashion Art Versilia”
From Thursday, the 17th to Sunday the 20th of July, 2014
La Versiliana,
Viale Morin,
Marina di Pietrasanta

For more information, email:



It’s 2014, more than a century and a half since Courbet painted his “Origine du Monde” and all the while, because of its Puritan roots, the nude has consistently been a controversial subject in the States. Lord Kenneth Clark, in his 1956 “The Nude: a Study in Ideal Form” makes the often quoted distinction between the naked body and the nude.

Nudity has been intimately linked to art in the modern era. Goya’s 1797“The Nude Maja” is considered the first “nude” and it managed to raise a few eyebrows – and the attention of the Inquisition – when first seen. Gone was the chaste beauty of Goddesses of centuries past: here was a contemporary woman (with exposed pubic hair!) staring unabashedly back at the viewer. Manet’s “Olympia” was a portrait of an actual prostitute – and since, the distinction between the naked and the nude has been blurred. Art critic Frances Borzello, in “The Naked Nude” (2012) offers that contemporary artists purposely eschew the traditions of the past and seek to confront the viewer with all the eros, and discomfort, … and anxiety that the naked body may express. Performance art has peeled the last layer by often presenting real naked bodies as art.

US Attorney General John Ashcroft – who exclusively chose to fly by private jet, in the months preceding 9/11 – famously took time off from his “War on Terror,” in the months following 911, to spend $8000 of taxpayer money to cover up the naked figures of the Caryatids in his Washington offices.

We write this meditation on the Nude because over the past months there’s been a slew of incidents which have made news in the art world… the nude still manages to provoke, even in Paris… even, as you can see below, in the presence of Courbet’s “Origine du Monde.”

We’ve uncovered a few of these incidents, and lay them bare for you, dear reader. We will dutifully mention at this stage that the images we post … well, contain nudity… – and so we use, for American audiences, the acronym “NSFW,” one of the more commonly-used acronyms on the web. NSFW stands for Not Safe For Work… meaning that whatever material, and it’s usually nudity, will get one in trouble if viewed at work, in the company of co-workers. Graphic violence is seldom, if ever labelled NSFW. Facebook has made a few headlines, censoring anything that shows off even so much as the woman’s nipple. And that includes pretty staid art photography from the last century, on the museums’ fb pages.

So we start with the incident pictured above: the artwork under the full-body black veil is Damien Hirst’s “Mother Virgin” a 33-foot tall bronze figure – calling it a nude may not be totally appropriate, as the sculpture depicts a pregnant woman with her skin partially … peeled back to reveal bones, tissue, and the fetus. In the opinion of many – and now apparently in the opinion of the Aby Rosen’s, (the statue’s owner’s) neighbors – it’s really just an eyesore, too awful to be displayed publicly. The neighbors, in the upscale Old-Westbury burg in New York state, have mobilized and involved the City Council, which is debating banning ALL public artwork over 8 feet. These same neighbors first pinned a fig leaf on the poor thing, the owner has since promised to “sink” the statue in a hill, not illuminate it at night, and have evergreen hedges surround the work. The statue is, in the meantime, covered by a figure-length black veil. (The photo is by 1010 WINS, and was printed in the NY Daily Mail). Robert Hughes, in “The Mona Lisa Curse,” one of his last films stated bluntly, when confronted by the piece: “isn’t it a miracle how much money and so little ability can produce?”


Click to enlarge

The Guardian reports on the news of London’s The Society of Women Artists, and their censoring one painting from its annual group show.

The artist is Leena McCall, her portrait of a woman, smoking a pipe, partially undressed, has been deemed pornographic – it appears that it’s the subject’s pubic hair which got the Institution’s “panties all bunched up.”

The work is, by our reckoning, far from vulgar, yet it has apparently been taken down from the exhibition wall, the reason given being that children often frequent the center… the artist is contesting the Institution’s decision; she asks -and we paraphrase – what are we then to do about the thousands of nudes that crowd the halls of the British Museum, or the Tate?

McCall has started a protest campaign on twitter: #eroticcensorshop.

In an UPDATE to the article, the Guardian reports that the Society of Women Artists places the responsibility for the painting’s removal on the Mall Galleries, who did so without seeking the SWA’s approval.


Click to enlarge

In another gallery, the Uffizi, this time, a 25-year old Spanish man recently caused a stir by stripping naked in front of Botticelli’s painting of the Birth of Venus.

The man’s “performance” included his first re-creating the painted Goddess’ stance – modestly placing his hands over his privates, then he knelt in prayer in front of the Renaissance icon, and then he sprinkled rose petals on the floor around him.

A museum visitor snapped a cell-phone picture, and posted it on Facebook; it quickly spread online, accompanied by ironic and bemused comments. Museum staff tried to cover the man with a black cloth, and finally the Carabinieri – Italy’s boldest – arrested him and charged him with “obscene acts in a public place.” The Uffizi director Antonio Natali told the La Repubblica daily that out of a million 900,000 visitors there are bound to be “disturbed, unsettled, passionate” people. He then joked that the nudist must have been hit by “Adam’s Syndrome,” underlining that no damages to the work were sustained and that the custodians intervened quickly and efficiently. In the States public nudity is treated more soberly… even urinating in an alley at night can get one arrested and labelled a “sex offender.”


Click to enlarge

And getting back to the origin… the “Origine du Monde” that is: one Deborah DeRobertis, a Bruxelles-based performance artist “recreated” Courbet’s famous painting, by displaying her vagina in front of the … original. The artist insisted that the performance was not a provocation, (the emphasis is ours) but rather a reclaiming of the piece – a “mirroring” of the famous depiction of the female sex – and that she gave the painting a face, and eyes, that look back at the viewer.

In the name of modesty we won’t embed the video of the performance in this post but rather only link to a youtube video, set to Strauss’ “Ave Maria,” of the … incident. Guess that in 2014, a painted vagina in a gold frame is ok – but the real thing is just not acceptable.

We repeat here that this post is not a provocation, but rather a meditation on the enduring power of the Nude. The subject of nudity in the arts might be controversial, but it generates traffic online and gets “page-views;” the Guardian recently published an article – with an accompanying gallery of works – on the subject of the Nude in photography, and we, in the name of arts education, link to that here.

Previously on Art is Life:

“Sculpture Shock” Michelangelo’s David is too naked for Shimane Prefecture

“Sculpture Shock” Redux Michelangelo’s “other” David gets pixel bikini on Chinese television

Not Safe For American Eyes – Facebook censors French Museum page over 1940 art nude

“The Naked Truth and More Besides. Nude Photography around 1900″

“Sculpture Shock” … (a dollar-bill-bikini-solution for the nude) Statue in the Piazza

(Art)Pop will eat itself, con’t: Lady Gaga shills for Marina Abramovic Institute “Kickstarter” Fundraiser – … in the nude


Another week, another “Aperitivo con l’Artista” in Pietrasanta. This Tuesday, it’s the Brescia-based Giuseppe Bergomi who shares his story. There is no art-critic to mediate this aperitivo, rather Bergomi will speak directly about his journey as artist and approach to sculpture.

The sculptor won the Premio Camera dei Deputati in 1997; in the same year the Principato di Monaco acquires two of his monumental sculptures, in 2011 he participates in the 54th edition of the Venice Biennale, curated by the potty-mouthed Italian art critic Vittorio Sgarbi, and in 2012 he was the star of Pietrasanta’s Summer art season with a major exhibition of his work.

The sculptor lives with his wife Alma, in the Province of Brescia, but spends long periods in Pietrasanta where many of his sculptures are “born.” Pictured above is the artist (on the right) with Domenico Lombardi, Pietrasanta’s Mayor, during the ceremony for the donation of one of the artist’s plaster models to Pietrasanta, at the Museo dei Bozzetti.

Visit the Museo dei Bozzetti’s website, for more information on the artist, linked here.

The event is FREE and open to the public, the aperitivo is provided by Serendipity.

“Aperitivo con l’Artista”
Giuseppe Bergomi
Tuesday, the 15th of July, 2014,
at 7:30pm
Chiostro di Sant’Agostino

Previously on Art is Life:

Bergomi in the Piazza – Pietrasanta Sculpture 2012

“Aperitivo con l’Artista” features the Peruvian Sculptor Melitón E. Rivera, and the art critic Costantino Paolicchi, tonight at the Chiostro in Pietrasanta

“Aperitivo con l’Artista” kicks off this Thursday, the 19th with a toast – with artist Alfredo Sasso and moderator Lodovico Gierut



You can purchase the album for 6 euros, on the bandcamp page, linked,here.

(via A Closer Listen)


The works of David Lynch, Bill Viola and others are featured this weekend in films shown at Pietrasanta’s M.U.S.A., as part of “Scolpire il Tempo” exhibition, curated by Alessandro Romanini, of the Fondazione Centro Arti Visive, all as part of this year’s Homo Faber exhibition.


Friday, the 11th of July, at 6:30pm: The American filmmaker David Lynch is known for his dark – and oddly unsettling films, such as Elephant Man, Dune, Blue Velvet, Savage Heart and Mulholland Drive. Less known are Lynch’s print-work - which he has produced since his earliest days. And these lithographs are the subject of the short films shown tonight.

There is an exhibition planned for August, at the Palazzo Panichi, in Pietrasanta, titled “A Dark Optimism” which will feature the prints themselves along with some film shorts. More on that as we get closer.

Friday, the 11th of July, at 8:30pm: Fashion gets featured as harmonic encounter between creativity, “artigianato”-and industry, with the projection of the documentary “Yves Saint Laurent: L’Amour Fou.” Also featured is “About Face: Dietro il volto di una top model” by the photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders.


Saturday, the 12th of July, 2014: an evening dedicated to the video artist Bill Viola, with screenings of some films: at 7pm: “Bill Viola: The Experience of the Infinite” by Jean Paul Fargier. At 9pm: Bill Viola’s “Four Songs,” and at 10pm: Bill Viola’s “The Passing.”


Sunday, the 13th of July, 2014, from 6:30 to 11:30: “Immagini che suonano bene” features the projection of recent Italian music videos.

“Scolpire il Tempo” exhibition is produced by: The Comune di Pietrasanta, Artigianart, The Camera di Commercio of Lucca, and Lucca InTec, Garfagnana Innovazione, the Lucca Film Festival, and SPAMI.

Visit the M.U.S.A. website’s complete listing of this year’s events, linked here.

MuSA – Museo Virtuale della Scultura e dell’Architettura
Via Sant’Agostino 61
Tel. 0583 9765 – e.mail

All of the screenings this weekend are FREE and open to the public.


This is the last weekend to see the works of American students who partecipated in “Digital Stone, 2014″ in Garfagnana. The students produced digital models of the pieces and then latest state-of-the-art technology… robots, produced the works. The students then spent a few weeks refinishing the works. For more information on the project (with the names of the students, links to the organizing parties, see the links below.)

The project is a co-production of Garfagnana Innovazione and “Digital Stone” in Trenton, NJ.

“Rock Stars”
MuSA – Museo Virtuale della Scultura e dell’Architettura
Via Sant’Agostino 61
Tel. 0583 9765 – e.mail

Hours: Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 6:30pm to 11:30pm.

Previously on Art is Life:

“Rock Stars” exhibition at Pietrasanta’s M.U.S.A. features works by American students who worked with the latest robotic technology, … in Garfagnana

#DigitalStoneProject 2014 – here’s a photo of the sculptors participating

20 American students visit the Garfagnana region for “Digital Stone Project”

Meliton-Rivera-SculptorAnother “Aperitivo con l’Artista” takes place in the cool shade of the Chiostro di Sant’Agostino, tonight at 7:30pm.

The Peruvian sculptor Melitón Rivera, meets the art critic Costantino Paolicchi. The subject is art, sculpture and “la dolce vita” … the aperitivo is offered by Serendipity.

Melitón has worked in the area for over thirty years, he first visited Pietrasanta and Carrara in 1979. He lived – and worked – in an old mill, in the village of Azzano. He works in sculpture, painting, and the graphic arts. He has had exhibitions in Perù, Brasil, Germany, Switzerland, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, and in numerous Italian cities. He currently lives in Seravezza.

Visit the artist’s website, linked here.

“Aperitivo con l’Artista”
Melitón E. Rivera and Costantino Paolicchi
Friday, the 11th of July, 2014,
at 7:30pm
Chiostro di Sant’Agostino





A mysterious artwork appeared last Saturday in Piazza del Duomo, in Carrara. Installed in a circle of marble pebbles, like the official “Three Vases” sculpture by J Landi, which graces the city’s main square as part of Carrara Marble Weeks, 2014.

The toilet was placed, by hands unknown, at 3pm, Friday, and lasted 12 hours, before the Municipal Police removed the “provocazione.”

On a wooden stand was the title of the work: “Veni, Vidi, WC,” which is a play on words (in Italian the three words begin with a “V” sound). It’s roughly translated as “I came, I saw, I toilet.”

Carrara Marble Weeks, takes place every year in Carrara, Tuscany. The 2014 edition continues until August 3rd, 2014. Visit the official website for a program listing of all the events scheduled, linked here.

For more information about Carrara Marble Weeks visit a page with all out posts on the yearly marble fair, linked here.

Previously on Art is Life:

“We the Rats: we attack the world to strike at the sick heart of institutionalized art.” Tiny cement rats invade Carrara, punk Marble Weeks

(via Il Marmo sui Quotidiani)





We post about an event that is happening TONIGHT in Carrara: Edoardo Ratti, the founfer of Archeolink will talk about “The Role of the Shaman in Prehistoric clans” as part of “Le notti dell’Archeologia,” a series of evening talks on archeology, both local and global…

The talk takes place at the Centro Arti Plastiche in Carrara tonight from 9pm to midnight.

Visit the Centro Arti Plastiche’s website, linked here.

Edoardo Ratti
“Il Ruolo dello Sciamano nei Clan Preistorici”
Centro Arti Plastiche
Via Canal Del Rio
Carrara (MS)
Telephone: +39 0585 779681

The picture is from a cave in Pech Merle from Simona’s Maggiorelli’s website, linked here.


“The European Dream” is Alessandro Penso’s photographic project on immigration in Italy, and Europe. The exhibition was “installed” in a “Tir” – a a cargo truck, and it travelled from Bari, in southern Italy, to Bruxelles.

“The European Dream” is a meditation on the delicate theme of immigration and the immigrant’s dangerous journey. It arrived in Bruxelles, the seat of the European parlament, on July 4th.

The exhibition sought to inform and educate a European public to the complicated stories of immigrants. It featured photographs, and video interviews with a group of young migrants trapped in Greece, because of European Immigration Laws.

Visit the photographer’s website, linked here.





“Through the View” is Veronica Gaido’s one-person photography exhibition on show in Forte dei Marmi.

The exhibition features 10 photographs of well-known sights in Forte dei Marmi… on the occasion of the city’s 100-year anniversary. The artist, whose compelling and design-y work echoes Italy’s Futurists, used a drone to take the photographs, which gave her a unique perspective on some of the more iconic places in the area, like the Pier, the Fortino, and the city’s Piazzas.

Visit the photographer’s website, linked here.

The show was produced by the Stylist Massimo Rebecchi, in support of the Andrea Bocelli Foundation.

Veronica Gaido
“Through the View”
Until the 30th of August, 2014
Spazio Palazzo Quartieri
Forte dei Marmi

For more info call: (+39) 02 84560801 or email:



We repost “The Medici, Makers of Modern Art,” Andrew Graham-Dixon’s compelling exposé of the Medici family and its interests in banking and art, which led, according do Graham-Dixon, to the creation of the “biggest, baddest currency of all, the currency of art.”

Watch it soon, because – as you can read in the youtube poster’s comments, under the film (on the youtube page) – it appears that someone aggressively enforces claims to own the rights of publicly-funded BBC programming, and so this video won’t be up long.

Should you find that the video above has been taken down, despair not, dear reader, you can always see the documentary in the “chopped-up” 4-part youtube version, linked here.

Visit Andrew Graham-Dixon’s website, linked here.



We post a detail of Benozzo Gozzoli’s opulent cycle of paintings executed in 1459-61 for Cosimo de Medici’s private chapel. You can read more about Benozzo Gozzoli’s “Magi Chapel,” on the Wikipedia article, linked here.

The image above is a screengrab from Andrew Graham-Dixon’s “The Medici, Makers of Modern Art” … in the previous post.


The American sculptor Ron Mehlman is awarded the XXIV “Pietrasanta e la Versilia nel mondo” Prize.The prize is given to sculptors whose achievements, both personal and artistic, deserve celebration, and whose art has shined a light on Pietrasanta, and its standing, as one of the premiere centers of sculpture in the world.

Mehlman was feted las Sunday, in a ceremony that saw him awarded the “Cavalletto” – or artisan work-bench, in the Chiostro di Sant’Agostino. The artist was toasted, in a crowded room, by Domenico Lombardi, the Mayor of Pietrasanta, Salvatore Settis, noted art critic, his wife, Janice Mehlman, and many friends and colleagues.

Ron Mehlman arrived in Pietrasanta in 1980. He spends a part of each year working in his studio and in Pietrasanta’s laboratories. The New York-born artist’s illustrious carreer spans 50-years – he was Nathaniel Kaz’s assistant in the late 50s, in 1962 he takes his first trip to Europe; in 1963 he obtains his “Master of Arts” at New York University.

Visit the artist’s website, linked here.

The “Pietrasanta e la Versilia nel mondo” Prize is given out by the Fratelli Rosselli Foundation, together with the Comune di Pietrasanta. Since 1991, the prize has been given to artists who, through their art, have promoted Pietrasanta and its centuries-long artistic traditions to the world.

We direct you to the Fratelli Rosselli website, for more information, linked here.

The photo above is by Henryk Hetflaisz, whose website is linked here.

Previously on Art is Life:

Dashi Namdakov, Siberian sculptor wins the XXIII International “Pietrasanta e la Versilia nel mondo” Prize

Girolamo Ciulla is awarded the 2012 “Pietrasanta e la Versilia nel Mondo” Prize

“Pietrasanta e la Versilia nel Mondo Prize” celebrates twenty years with an original art book on the “poetry of sculpture,” this Thursday, May the 31st

Hanneke Beaumont is awarded the 2011 “Pietrasanta e la Versilia nel Mondo” Prize


It’s the occasion of the awarding of the prestigious “Pietrasanta e la Versilia nel Mondo” Prize that brings us to write these words on the subject of “Women in Art.”.

We could call this an “open letter, to whom it may concern” – or more accurately an open post; we could call these words a simple comment to the Mayor of Pietrasanta, although he is not the committee that awards the yearly prize, … (We’ve generally come to expect few, or no answers to tricky questions, open or otherwise, in a country where ignoring “problems” is often the preferred strategy in dealing with issues large or small.)

We want to say that Ron Mehlman – this year’s winner – is a very talented sculptor, and a truly nice person, who, for 30 years has made Pietrasanta the home of his creative endeavors – our heartfelt congratulations go out to Ron and his wife Janice  … who is herself a talented artist!

Pietrasanta, you may have heard us on the topic., is a lively arts community in the northwest part of Tuscany - the city is famous, the world over, for its marble laboratories and bronze foundries. For decades world-class artists have come and worked along the “artigiani” – the talented folk who make the art “happen.”

We write this today because we’ve repeatedly heard from artists – and received letters, on the subject of women artists in Pietrasanta. We have been wondering about the issue of gender because by all accounts Pietrasanta is a progressive and forward-thinking city, that prides itself in having a diverse group of folks represented in art exhibitions in its Piazzas and exhibition spaces.

We have been wondering, specifically, because the ratio of female to male artists who’ve won the “Pietrasanta e la Versilia nel Mondo Prize” … and the ratio of female to male artists who’ve been granted the opportunity to exhibit works in the city’s major Summer exhibitions, … is very … un-evenly skewed, to put it politely.

This year marks the twenty-fourth awarding of the “Pietrasanta e la Versilia nel Mondo” Prize – it’s a prize dedicated to sculptors who’ve helped promote Pietrasanta in the global arts community. You can contact directly the “Fratelli Rosselli Foundation,” the people who put on the prize, on a webpage, linked here. (And we direct you to a page with some of our previous posts on the prestigious Prize, linked here.) The list of winners is impressive. It is a testament to Pietrasanta, and to its enduring power as center for art and sculpture.

Buuut, of the twenty-six winners (one year the prize was shared between two sculptors) only two of the winners were women. (We put the “two” in bold – as we find it a bit … well, incredible, that this can be true.)

We mention flatly that there are countless amazing female artists and sculptors that live and work in Pietrasanta, some are local, some come from every corner of the world - we cannot overstate the incredible range of approaches, and their true mastery of the medium of sculpture.

We have a chance to mingle and chat – sometimes informally – with artists and sculptors from all over the world, sometimes over an aperitivo in Piazza, and sometimes also privately. The subject of the talk sometimes turns to the space afforded women artists in the “City of Art.” Sometimes it’s a conversation that ends with a quizzical “wtf” expression, and a puzzled shrug of the shoulders, often there’s a tangible sense of bewilderment and dread that stills the chit chat.

The city, in fact, does promote female sculptors through their curatorial decisions: one is the annual “Donna Scultura” exhibition, which, for years, has showcased the work of women sculptors. You can get a sense of the range and talent by seeing some of the artists’ often wonderful work. (We direct you to a page with some of our previous posts about “Donna Scultura,” linked here.)

That said, we feel compelled to join the chorus of people who question the city’s commitment to women in art.

“Donna Scultura,” which is held in the city’s premiere exhibition hall, the truly beautiful Church of Sant’Agostino, usually features the work of 4 female sculptors. (2012 saw FORTY women sculptors celebrated…!! ) Our question here, is: why relegate the exhibition to February… a Winter month known for its rainstorms and generally low attendance to art shows?

This year’s exhibition was rich and reflected the very differing approaches of four very unique individuals, but why was it so poorly curated? The show was mounted in a seemingly hap-hazard manner, the works sometimes fought one-another, the bases of the works distracted from the overall exhibition…

We don’t write longer pieces anymore, to the understandable relief of many, – we did, when we didn’t try to cover all the shows in the area… We certainly don’t habitually write long polemic speeches just to stoke controversy on difficult issues facing Pietrasanta. But, we feel compelled to “wonder out loud” about this, to start a conversation on the issue, … and so we’ve rambled on…

We don’t expect any official “answer” from local institutions, policy-makers, or from individual sculptors, … but we wholeheartedly welcome your thoughts on the subject.

Write to us at, if you have something to say. (We won’t publish any letter you prefer kept confidential) we want to hear from you, dear reader, on this – and any other art-related topic.




Previously on Art is Life:

“Italy. Blowing up a Mountain. Explosion of 20 tons of dynamite releases 40,000 tons of marble.” (British Pathé, 1932, Short Newsreel)


Five artists’ works are featured at “Espressioni dell’anima – l’Arte in tutte le sue forme,” a one-month-long art exhibition/event, in Pietrasanta. Some of the names are familiar – they belong to some of the artists who, in a way, help make the city, “City of Art.” Some of the names are less well-known as they belong to some fine up-and-coming talent.

The five artists featured are, and we link to their respective websites, or fb pages: Jattiamance, Maria Gamundi, Giovanni Balderi, Shanti Ranchetti, and Emanuele Giannelli.

The opening reception is this Saturday, the 12th of June, 2014, at 6:30pm.

The show, curated by Simona Pesseti, features sculpture, painting and photography.

“Espressioni dell’anima – l’Arte in tutte le sue forme”
From the 12th of July, to the 10th of August, 2014.
Via I Maggio, 8
For more information, call: (+39) 329 6705340

Hours:everyday from 10:30am to 1pm and from 6pm to midnight.



We post the Pilot – the vey first episode – of David Chase’s “The Sopranos” – the Pilot is the film the producers showed to HBO, the US Cable Channel, to “show what they could do,” in order to secure funding for one season’s worth of episodes. It contains all the seeds to what the 6 and a half year seasons’ worth of shows became.

Tony, the mobster, Dr. Melfi, his shrink (!) his wife Carmela, his sociopath Mamma…  It’s an incredible Italian story… or rather an awesome Italian-American epic, a stunning, devastating portrait of third-generation Italy abroad… though many (even some characters in the series) protested its depiction of Italian culture, as cliché mob hits, cummàs, and mafia ties…

It’s benchmark television done superbly.

We link to the Pilot episode on google docs… which means you can watch it there until a certain number of views… then it offers you the option of downloading the episode, which we, in principle, DON’T recommend.

We do recommend you watch it as soon as you can… for so many reasons. (and we also recommend seeing the whole series on DVD, one episode at a time. For its depiction of Italians abroad… for its acting, and directing… it’s riveting television…. we know, we know… that’s all-too-rarely a sentence at all.

“Te Sopranos, Pilot” David Gray, 1999, Full episode, linked here.

The photo above is Annie Liebovitz’ “Last Suppper.”


“Marmo fra arte e architettura” is the title of a talk which the Italian art critic Achille Bonito Oliva will give today, Friday, July 4th at 6pm at the Sala di Rappresentanza in Carrara as part of Carrara Marble Weeks, 2014. Marco Casamonti will moderate.

Visit the Carrara marble Weeks website, for more info, linked here.






20 sculptures produced as part of this year’s “Digital Stone Project” go on view at Pietrasanta’s M.U.S.A., the city’s virtual art and architecture museum. “Rock Stars” is the name of the show, and it features the work of the American students: James Carl, Matthew Cornelius, Kathryn Cook, Miles Driscoll, Lauren Ewing, Jon Isherwood, Evan Waldo Jespersen, Matt Jezyk, Helene Lukasova, Jolee Mickesh, Mary Neubauer, Daniel Nguyen, Michael Rees, Mary Ellen Scherl, Gregory Simoncic, Robert Michael Smith, Xinggang Wang, Michael Walsh, and Pat Wasserboehr.

The opening reception is this Saturday, the 5th of July, 2014, from 6pm to 9pm.

“Digital Stone Project” is a digital sculpture workshop born a year-and-a-half ago as a joint venture of Garfagnana Innovazione and Digital Stone, in trenton, NJ. The project, this year, involves the 20 American students who come from 9 universities in the States.

It’s a rather interesting idea: the students produce digital models of their sculptures during the school year and then they send the digital files to the state-of-the-art laboratories of Garfagnana Innovazione, and their robots do the roughing out of the sculptures in marble. The students then come for the summer – aaah, la Dolce Vita – and do the finishing work.

The American universities involved are: the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Bennington College, Yale University, New York Institute of Technology, Arizona State University, Bowling Green State University, Masaryk University, University of Guelph, and William Paterson University.

Visit the Digital Stone Project website, for more information, linked here.

The project is a joint production of: Garfagnana ambiente e sviluppo, the Comune di Minucciano, the Unione dei comuni della Garfagnana, the Provincia di Lucca, the American Consulate of Florence, the Fondazione Banca del Monte di Lucca and the Fondazione Kennedy Italia, with the support of the Camere di Commercio of Lucca, the Centro Arti Visive of Pietrasanta and M.U.S.A. (Museo virtuale della scultura e dell’architettura) of Pietrasanta.

Digital Stone Project
“Rock Stars”
From the 5th to the 15th of July, 2014,
M.U.S.A. Pietrasanta
Via Sant’Agostino 16,

Hours: from 6:30pm to 11:30pm, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Previously on Art is Life:

#DigitalStoneProject 2014 – here’s a photo of the sculptors participating

20 American students visit the Garfagnana region for “Digital Stone Project”




This year’s “Anteprime” festival of books returns with a change of venue: instead of filling to capacity with avid book-lovers Pietrasanta’s main square, the 3-day event happens at La Versiliana, in Marina di Pietrasanta.

Friday the 4th… today, starting at 6:30pm there’s lots to see and hear: at the Arena, Oliviero Beha entertains the young ones, Patrizio Olive is at the Fabbrica dei Pinoli, David Grossman is at the Spazio Caffé.

Then a change of stages… at 8pm Federica Bosco entertains at the Arena, the great Italian cartoonist Vauro is at the Theater, and Maurizio de Giovanni is at the Spazio Caffé.

There’s lots more; many other authors and events are planned for the weekend. See the full program below.

For children aged 4 to 10, starting at 5:30, and at 6:30pm there’s workshops led by Silvia Bonanni.

The “Anteprime” event is sponsored by the Comune di Pietrasanta, the Fondazione La Versiliana, and the Mondadori Publishing Group: Einaudi, Electa, Frassinelli, Piemme, Sperling & Kupfer.

All events are FREE and open to the public; the city is providing shuttle-bus service from Via Leopardi.

Visit the event website, for more info, linked here.

The complete programma after the “jump:”

Previously on Art is Life:

Dan Brown opens “Anteprime 2013″ Pietrasanta’s smash Festival of Books

“Anteprime 2012″ the opening of the book festival is greeted by cheering multitudes

Pietrasanta opens up “Anteprime 2012″ book festival – 52 distinguished authors bring their new books to the Piazza, with 45 presentations over the 3-day event… it’s a page-turner, and it’s all starting next Friday, June 8th

Pietrasanta, City of Art, hosts Ken Follett the … bluesman (?!) to close Anteprime, festival of books

“For those of you who believe that the baby Jesus is a young Santa Claus,” we post the opening to “Seven Beauties” Lina Wertmuller’s sprawling epic film (with english subtitles)

Read the rest of this entry »


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