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Contemporary Echoes: Rediscovering Italian Art from 1950-1980, Artworks from the BFF Collection

An exploration of divergent expressions and common threads


Mario Schifano, TV Landscapes, 1970, Colored photographic transfer on canvas, 29 × 36 1⁄4, Image by Paolo Vandrasch, Collection of BFF Banking Group


BFF Banking Group unveiled its latest endeavor, the art exhibition Contemporary Echoes: Rediscovering Italian Art from 1950-1980, Artworks from the BFF Collection, in partnership with International Arts and Artists. Curated by renowned art historian, critic, and curator, Renato Miracco, and presented in New York City and Washington, DC, the exhibition sheds light on the intrinsic relationships between American and Italian artists between 1950 and 1980, exploring mutual influences and developments during this period.


Piero Dorazio, Untitled, 1964, Watercolor on paper, 19 5/8 x 27 1/2 inches, Image by Paolo Vandrasch, Collection of BFF Banking Group


Inspired by the book Italian and American Art - An Interaction - 1930s – 1980s, the exhibition serves as a captivating exploration linking the artistic journeys of Italian and American artists, drawing inspiration from the bank’s art collection dating back to the late 1980s. Twentieth-century Italian art often remains obscured in terms of its origins and historical context. Curator Renato Miracco expresses, "From this perspective, we must see the attempts on one side, the Italian one, to find a vital and confrontational space, and on the other, the American one, a desire for ancestral roots." The exhibition employs both textual and visual mediums to delve into the ways Italian art embraced the allure of American art and vice versa, fostering mutual knowledge. The exhibition features twenty-four works by ten prominent Italian artists: Valerio Adami, Franco Angeli, Enrico Baj, Alberto Burri, Giuseppe Capogrossi, Mario Ceroli, Piero Dorazio, Gio’ Pomodoro, Mario Schifano, and Emilio Tadini.


Giuseppe Capogrossi, Surface 148, 1957, Tempera on paper, 9 7/8 x 19 3/4 inches, Image by Paolo Vandrasch, Collection of BFF Banking Group


Massimiliano Belingheri, CEO of BFF Banking Group, adds:


“BFF's commitment to the cultural field is the fruit of the group's sense of responsibility towards the community and towards Italy's artistic heritage, and emerges out of the desire to give back to society a part of the value that BFF generates, in line with the group's social and sustainability policies. The richness of these initiatives is a source of inspiration for us. BFF has always recognised art’s capacity to teach everyone all about the importance of imagination, creativity and innovation – crucial tools to be used as part of the effort to foster the growth of individuals, businesses and society as a whole”.


Mario Ceroli, Portrait of Cy Twombly, 1975, Collage of balsa on cardboard, 38 7/8 × 27 1/2 inches, Image by Paolo Vandrasch, Collection of BFF Banking Group


Contemporary Echoes follows the success of the touring exhibition Art Factor – The Pop Legacy in Post War Italian Art, which visited various European cities and will conclude in the museum area of the bank’s new headquarters in Milan set to open this fall.  Casa BFF Museum, in the future Milan headquarters of BFF, is set to officially open in spring 2025.


Alberto Burri, Cretto, (Cracked), 1971, Etching, 26 3/8 x 38 inches, Image by Paolo Vandrasch, Collection of BFF Banking Group


Contemporary Echoes: Rediscovering Italian Art from 1950-1980, Artworks from the BFF Collection is made possible under the patronage of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation as well as the Italian Ministry of Culture. The exhibition is free of charge as part of BFF’s commitment to sharing and promoting art widely. The exhibition, which is currently on view in New York through March 28, 2024 will travel to Washington, DC from April 5 to June 2, 2024.


Franco Angeli, Untitled, 1965, Enamel on paper, 39 3/8 x 55 1/8 inches, Image by Paolo Vandrasch, Collection of BFF Banking Group


Through the lens of encounters between luminaries of the art world, "Contemporary Echoes" illuminates the divergent perspectives on materiality and individualism that defined the era. By uncovering layers of mutual influence and artistic evolution, the exhibition sheds new light into previously obscured narratives in 20th-century Italian art, reaffirming the enduring power of cultural exchange to shape and enrich our understanding of the world.


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Enrico Baj, Seated woman, Mixed media, 1972, 31 1/2 × 24 inches, Image by Paolo Vandrasch, Collection of BFF Banking Group


About the Curator, Renato Miracco


Renato Miracco is an art historian, critic, and curator.  He has been Director “per chiara fama” of the Italian Cultural Institute in New York, Cultural Attaché at the Italian Embassy to the United States and Member of the Board of Guarantors at the Italian Academy at Columbia University.  Miracco has curated over 87 exhibitions worldwide, including: an anthological exhibition on Giorgio Morandi at the Metropolitan Museum, New York; the Burri, Fontana, and Manzoni exhibition at the Tate Modern, London; an anthological exhibition dedicated to Giacomo Balla at the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo (Brazil); and a retrospective of Italian art of the 1950s and 1960s at the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC.  He is currently the Guest Curator at the Phillips Collection (Washington, DC) where he recently curated a monographic exhibition on Giuseppe De Nittis, which was considered among the ten best exhibitions between the U.S. and Europe in 2023.


About International Arts & Artists


International Arts & Artists (IA&A) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing cross-cultural understanding and exposure to the arts internationally through exhibitions, programs and services to artists, arts institutions and the public.


About BFF Banking Group


BFF Banking Group is the largest speciality finance provider in Italy and a leading player in Europe for Factoring and Lending services towards Public Administrations; in Italy, it also provides securities services and corporate payment services. The Group operates in nine countries in Europe.


From L to R: Massimiliano Belingheri, CEO of BFF Banking Group; Fabrizio Di Michele, Consul General of Italy in New York; Renato Miracco, curator and art historian; Greg Houston, President and CEO of International Arts and Artists.


By ML Staff. Images courtesy of BFF Banking Group

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