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It's Beautiful Here, Isn't it...


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Luigi Ghirri was a much admired Italian photographer, writer, curator, and mentor. Born in Scandiano (Reggio Emilia), Italy, he later studied and worked in Modena. He exhibited widely in Italy and throughout Europe, with solo shows in Geneva, Amsterdam, Arles, and Cologne, as well as at the Light Gallery, New York. His work is in numerous collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris; and Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal. His approximately twenty-year career was so rich and so varied that it seems like a lesson in the contemporary history of the medium. He was uncannily prescient at times: a brilliant colorist with a marvelous sense of humor, irony, and poetry, he explored many areas important to photographers working today. In particular, he shared the sensibility of what later became known as "The New Color" and "The New Topographics" movements before they had even been named. And, although it wasn't until later that he came to know the work of William Eggleston (one of the photographers he most admired, along with Lee Friedlander and Walker Evans), they were sharing common ground as early as 1971. Ghirri sought a language for seeing and describing the everyday landscape freshly and unromantically, without cliche. Like his counterparts in Italian cinema (Michelangelo Antonioni, Federico Fellini, Roberto Rossellini, and Vittorio de Sica), he believed that the local and the universal were inseparable, and that life's intrinsic polarities-love and hate, present and past-were equally compelling. Ghirri's interests encompassed all the arts. He worked, for example, in Giorgio Morandi's studio and with the architect Aldo Rossi, while influencing a younger generation of photographers, including Olivo Barbieri, Martin Parr, and many others. Germano Celant is the author of more than one hundred publications, and has curated exhibitions at preeminent museums and institutions around the world. He holds numerous curatorial posts, including Senior Curator of Contemporary Art at New York's Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; Artistic Director of Milan's Fondazione Prada; and Director of Milan's Fondazione Aldo Rossi. In 1997 he was named curator of the 47th Venice Biennale; he has also served as artistic director of the Biennale di Firenze (in 1996) and of GeNova2004, European Capital of Culture (in 2004). Celant's many curatorial projects over the past four decades include: Identite italienne (Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 1981); The European Iceberg (Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, 1984, which included work by Ghirri); The Italian Metamorphosis 1943-1968 (Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1994); New York, New York: Cinquante ans d'Art, Architecture, Cinema, Performance, Photographie et Video (Grimaldi Forum, Monaco, 2006). Celant has written monographs and curated exhibitions on Joseph Beuys, Piero Manzoni, Robert Mapplethorpe, Mariko Mori, Ugo Mulas, Andy Warhol, Joel-Peter Witkin, and many other artists. His writings and theories on arte povera since the 1980s were instrumental in defining the genre for the art world. Celant is a contributing editor to Artforum and Interview magazines, and a regular columnist for the Italian magazines L'Espresso and Interni. Paola Borgonzoni Ghirri, originally from Ferrara, studied commercial graphic design with a focus on publishing at the Istituto Statale d'Arte in Urbino. In 1973 she moved to Modena and began working at two advertising agencies. It was at one of these, in the spring of 1974, that she met her husband Luigi Ghirri, with whom she would work until his death. Since February1992 she occupied herself exclusively with the dissemination and promotion of her late husband's work, overseeing some fifty solo exhibitions and sixteen monographic books of his photography to date. William Eggleston has produced a copious body of color photographs that together provide an eccentric, aggregate portrait of Memphis, Tennessee, and the Mississippi Delta. In 1976 Eggleston was the subject of the first exhibition of color photography at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, William Eggleston's Guide; that show is credited by many as legitimizing color work for the world of photography. Eggleston has exhibited widely, with solo shows at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2002); the Fondation Cartier, Paris (2001); the Hasselblad Center, Goeteborg, Sweden (1999); the Louisiana Museum, Copenhagen (1992); the Corcoran Gallery, Washington, D.C. (1990), and elsewhere. His work is represented in many American and international collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago; the National Gallery, Washington, D.C.; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the J. Paul Getty Museum, Santa Monica; the Bibliotheque Nationale de France, Paris; and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Eggleston's work has been published in numerous monographs, among them William Eggleston's Guide (1976), The Democratic Forest (1989), Ancient and Modern (1992), 2 1/4(1999), Los Alamos (2003) and 5x7 (2006). He had a major retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2008.

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