“Berluscrotto,” the sculpture exhibit opens amid threats. Controversy rears its broken head in the City of Art.

"Berluscrotto" at the Gestalt Gallery in Pietrasanta
“Berluscrotto” (a fusion of Berlusconi and “rotto” – broken) an exhibit of sculptures – portraits – in various states of decay of Italy’s “Cavaliere,” by the local artist Stefano Pierotti opens at the Gestalt Gallery in Pietrasanta, and runs through December 12th. The show has generated some controversy… it’s being called “the show Italy’s talking about” and has garnered the artist some emphatic words of praise as well as some thinly-veiled threats of physical harm. There are six heads – likenesses of the man who guided Italy for 17 years, … to the brink it finds itself at today – in polished resin; they are in varying states of “decomposition” painted white with red paint dripped and splattered – looking more than a bit like blood. The artist Stefano Pierotti (who was born in Pietrasanta in 1964) says that “although the lines that cross the face of Berlusconi are understood as blood, in reality it’s only red paint. I wanted to pour a whole can of red paint “- continues the artist – “as if communism, a word Berlusconi has filled his mouth with, might swallow him up.” Stefano Pierotti says that he did it to “get it out of his system” … and for fun. He describes his work as more of a social phenomenon rather than a political one. Over the years Berlusconi showed himself in so many guises… as serious business man in double-breasted suits, in designer sweaters, with a bandana, Pierotti is happy to add his version of the man to the iconography. This of course has not sat as well with the many who voted for the Premier, some of which emailed the artist messages like: “Do you have bodyguards?” and “I’d like to have you in my hands for 5 minutes,” and “I’d like to see you looking like that – you and (yes, when the going gets tough in Italy, often Mom gets involved) your mother.” The work is certainly not allegorical in nature, the comment is biting. Timely, desecrating, and irreverent, the heads on exhibit were made before the Cavaliere stepped down last week. They are rumored to be going for between 12 and 15 thousand euros each.

There are more pictures on the PBS Newshour “Art Beat” blog here.
This is the site for Gestalt Gallery.

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