Laura McLean-Ferris at the reopening of the Pinacoteca Agnelli

I WATCHED as a battered gray car left the Umberto I Bridge and through the air of the hot spring before landing with a horrific crash in the Po River below. Last Saturday in Turin, a large American and Italian team had cordoned off part of the city to film x fastthe tenth and final part of Fast and Furious series, featuring a suite of muscular A-listers including Vin Diesel, Ludacris, Charlize Theron, Cardi B, Brie Larson and Jason Momoa, among others. These are, for readers unfamiliar, lucrative and obviously silly films that celebrate fuel, family and the franchise with technically virtuosic action sequences, hot supercars and fun explosions. To my surprise, I found the stunt utterly delightful, despite the fact that my viewership of the existing nine films is only a year and a half, and like everyone who had gathered by the river to watch filming, I clapped with joy as the car hit the Po. Perhaps it was related to the rudimentary and real nature of the stunt: the day before, I had passed in front of the ramp being built for the shooting, which was made of a few pieces of plywood. About an hour later, as I was leaving the scene, a crane lifted the wrecked stunt vehicle and suspended it above the city like an animal carcass, its bumper hanging poignantly. Simply symbolic for this historic automotive hub, the homeland of FIAT. And yet, as Turinese complain, Turin will double for Rome in the finished film. I guess they will fix it in the mail.

The Publish– Post-industrial theater reached new heights this week, when the Pinacoteca Agnelli, an institution atop the Lingotto Building – a unique FIAT factory and case study of modern 1920s manufacturing – reopened under the direction of Sarah Cosulich. The Pinacoteca was originally built around a donation of twenty-five works by late FIAT boss Giovanni Agnelli, the smooth billionaire colloquially known as the lawyer (the lawyer) – and his wife, Marella Caracciolo, with a star-studded retinue including Picasso, Canaletto, Matisse, Manet and Modigliani, among others. Housed in a crystal-winged museum box called lo scrigno (the jewelry box), which floats above the famous car test track on the roof of the La Pista building, it is the centerpiece of a 2002 renovation by Renzo Piano, the manufacture of cars having ceased at the site in 1982. In place of the production line are the usual offices, a shopping center and a cinema which all feel a bit tired.


The staff of the Pinacoteca Agnelli.  Photo: Andrea Guermani.

Today’s Pinacoteca is something new – a feminist organization run entirely by women and driven by a desire to treat the site as a palimpsest of 20th century themes, including: men in industry, work and the production line, patriarchy, the automobile and broader technology. developments, and the modernist movements represented in the Agnelli collection. The first of the institution’s “Beyond the Collection” initiatives is a collaboration with the Fondation Beyeler which uses a portrait of Picasso, Man leaning on a table, 1915-1916, to refocus Dora Maar as an artist and important interlocutor of Picasso, accompanied in the space of the museum by a long chronology which combined both the works and the biographies of the artists, a selection of photographs by Maar and Picasso, and a handful of magnificent Picasso paintings on loan from the Beyeler. A new space for contemporary exhibitions has also opened its doors, inaugurated by an investigation by Sylvie Fleury – the artist’s piquant and critically glamorous approach to impulses and fetishes being entirely appropriate for this new undertaking – as well as The Pista 500, a new rooftop sculpture park test track, the first of which features Fleury and Valie Export, Mark Leckey, Cally Spooner, Shilpa Gupta and Louise Lawler.

The opening was yet another hot day, and seeing that the museum workers were walking around the bright roof with umbrellas to shade them from the scorching afternoon sun, I first visited the exhibit of Fleury’s “Turn Me On” on the lower level, which opened with a collection of TVs in the entryway playing 80s and 90s exercise videos such as Cher’s Body confidence (1992) and Jane Fonda Easy training (1985), which, in context, seemed to suggest mechanical tune-ups for sexy women, as well as a stack of white boxes from luxury brands of increasing sizes titled monochrome, 2021. (Artist Davide Stucchi pointed out to me that the bottom box was from a pair of The Row shoes, a surprise, since Fleury, who walked head-to-toe Balenciaga—a black tracksuit the day and newsprint dress by night—not known for her pared-back style.) Here and everywhere, Fleury cheerfully imbues art with the spirit of commerce, flattening the gendered relationship between the museum showcase and the display. from the point of sale into the boutique: both exclusive, both expensive, both requiring theatrical supporting props. Nickel-plated Balenciaga Knife pumps and gold Gucci cuffs shine on the plinths. Fleury celebrates saboteur in this exhibition – she walks on the floors of Carl Andre with high heels, scratches and bumps on panels coated with automotive paint, and modifies the yellow stripes of an installation made in Daniel Buren’s signature motif as if the grooves were prison bars that she ripped off, creating an egg-shaped escape hole. His 1999 “First Spaceship on Venus” sculptures are soft plush rockets, here collapsed together in a timely dispatch of the easy machismo of Muskian Mars missions.


The ramp to La Pista 500 with DEAD TIME (Melody's Warm Up) by Cally Spooner, 2022. Photo: Laura McLean-Ferris.

Upstairs at the entrance to La Pista, Gupta’s poem 24:00:01, 2010-2012, displayed on a split-pane screen of a transportation terminal, snapped through researched and elegant text about crossing borders, war and the nation-state riddled with deliberate misspellings, such as if the words were transmitted by a machine. Outside, in the warm early evening air when a crowd had gathered for prosecco, the rooftop took on the atmosphere of a gently haunted island, high above the city. Tall yellow ferns and lilac grasses nodded in the breeze amid a massive gardening project featuring 40,000 plants and 300 native species, and I saw butterflies, bees and birds among them, s ‘raising around the inclined loop of the racecourse. Among the songbirds I could hear was one calling out the names of Donald Judd, Sol Lewitt and Mario Merz, from Lawler’s seminal sound work. Bird calls, 1972/81. Spooner transformed the factory’s huge, multi-story concrete car ramp into a vast resonance machine with his sound piece for “a cello, a building, and everything in between,” titled TIME OUT (Melody warm up)2022. We heard the warm notes of a cellist, playing a Suzuki-style tone exercise around the familiar refrains of Bach Cello Suite No. 1 in G, though the melody itself never arrived, curiously finding its way around the dense concrete cylinder before starting again. A steady ping, reminiscent of a racer’s beep test, kept the pressure on, however, in a resounding echo invoking the efficiency of the production lines between which cars once spun on the ramp. On the banked end of the test track, which reaches an 8% incline, Leckey’s LED video screen followed the bend, playing Beneath my feet begins to crumble, 2022. The video shows dazzling CGI images of the same Piedmontese Alps that we might see around us from the rooftop, but epically ablaze in orange sunlight, or covered in snow in purple skies. Like a sporty Jumbotron, the screen gave us a version that almost looked more convincing than the real mountains, which looked hazy and demure in comparison. The very real peril of distraction. The flexible work of image labor replacing the factory floor. The clubbed stunt car becomes a sleek supercar. Turin will become Rome. But what will become of the real mountains? Can they solve this problem by mail?


View of Beneath My Feet Begins to Crumble by Mark Leckey, 2022. Photo: Andrea Guermani.

Artist Sylvie Fleury.  Photo: Laura McLean-Ferris.

Helicopter with camera support filming Fast X. Photo: Laura McLean-Ferris.

Car stunt during the filming of Fast X. Photo: Laura McLean-Ferris.

Artists Mark Leckey and Cally Spooner.  Photo: Khuroum Bukhari.

View from Shilpa Gupta's 24:00:01, 2010'12.  Photo: Laura McLean-Ferris.

Sarah Cosulich, director of the Pinacoteca Agnelli, in front of Die Doppelgängerin by Valie Export, 2010–22.  Photo: Laura McLean-Ferris.

Karolina Dankow of Karma International, photographer Esther Freund and curator Niels Olsen.  Photo: Laura McLean-Ferris.

Artist Davide Stucchi with Sylvie Fleury's first spacecraft on Venus, 2017. Photo: Khuroum Bukhari.

Seen from

Detail of the installation of

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