Milan Prada Foundation Opens

A Gold Bread Silo


Just a few days after the Universal Exposition of Milan was inaugurated, the outskirts of the northern Italian city saw the opening of the Fondazione Prada, an institution sure to outlast the Expo pavilions. It will last longer because of the quality of its architecture, but also because of the quality of the art collection to be housed within, owned by Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli, which includes names like Maurizio Cattelan, Lucio Fontana, Bruce Nauman, Robert Rauschenberg, Louise Bourgeois, and of course the inevitable Damien Hirst. The permanent collection will be complemented by temporary exhibitions, the first of which, with Salvatore Settis as curator, takes a look at the serializaton of works of art during classical Antiquity. The choice of serialization as the theme of the foundation’s inaugural show is no coincidence, considering the keen interest in cloning and the generic of the building’s author, the Dutch master Rem Koolhaas, who has acted on the old distillery building with much intelligence and sensitivity, and produced what is one of the finest works in the of late rather uneven output of his office. With its total floor area of 19,000 square meters, the intervention clearly distances itself from the scheme and the aesthetic of the typical modern museum white box, and instead adopts the form of a collage of buildings and languages where there are no clear hierarchies and the modern is on a level with the old. All this in the unforeseen golden shadow of a silo clad with gold leaf.

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