BY ANGELICA VILLAPlus Icon
Paula Cooper Gallery has announced it will now represent the estate of Luciano Fabro, in collaboration with the postwar Italian artist’s archive. The gallery will stage its first solo show of the artist’s work next year at its soon-to-reopen space on West 21st Street in New York.
“The gallery has a longstanding commitment to artists who push boundaries, and Fabro exemplifies this ethos,” said Steve Henry, senior partner at Paula Cooper, in a statement. “Going forward, we will engage audiences both familiar with and new to Fabro’s extraordinary and radical body of work.”
Closely associated with his home country’s Arte Povera movement of the 1960s and 1970s, Fabro’s work often takes the form of sculptural installations comprising so-called poor materials, like rocks, bed sheets, sealing wax, and leather that he juxtaposed with more traditional sculptural materials like marble, bronze, and steel. (The artist, however, eschewed ties with the movement, once describing himself as “the heretic of the Arte Povera church.”)
Over the course of his career, until his death in 2007, Fabro was included in numerous editions of the Venice Biennale in Italy and Documenta in Kassel, Germany, between the 1970s and 1990s. In 2014, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid mounted the first major posthumous retrospective of his work.
Later this month, Paula Cooper will bring Fabro’s floor sculpture L’Infinito (1989), a work made of industrial steel cable and marble that takes on the shape of an infinity symbol, to the upcoming edition of Art Basel in Switzerland, where it will be presented in the fair’s Unlimited section.
The gallery has quietly been working with the Fabro’s estate over the past year, helping to sell his 1994 sculpture Il giorno mi pesa sulla notte I (1994) to South Florida real estate developer Martin Z. Margulies, who has been listed on the ARTnews Top 200 Collectors list each year since 1990. In October, the work will be exhibited at Margulies’s Miami exhibition space The Warehouse as part of a show devoted to Arte Povera artists in his collection. (The work was last featured in a 2019 exhibition at the Fondazione Prada in Milan, curated by artist Luc Tuymans.)
Margulies recently told ARTnews that the recent acquisition of Fabro’s 1994 piece is part of his decades-long pursuit of works by Arte Povera artists, who were known for embracing everyday materials, since he bought his first work in this mode, a piece by Jannis Kounellis from Ileana Sonnabend, in 1988. Margulies said, “Today these works are very difficult to come by.”