Blair Thurman: Nell’Acqua Azzurra at Garage Italia, Milano, Milan, Italy.
On view April 17 through May 17, 2018.
There has to be something nominally personal, autobiographical . . . I try to put a little soul into my work, which is, I guess, a very old-fashioned idea, like preferring a used car to this year’s model.
Garage Italia and Gagosian are pleased to present Blair Thurman: Nell’Acqua Azzurra, the American artist’s first solo exhibition in Milan. This unique collaboration between Garage Italia and Gagosian is part of a long tradition of exchange between fine art and the automobile industry, from the Italian Futurist movement at the beginning of the twentieth century to the work of modern and contemporary artists including Alexander Calder, John Chamberlain, Roy Lichtenstein, and Andy Warhol.
Thurman’s influences range from Pop art and Minimalism to relics from childhood, popular music, and 1970s cinema. His standardized forms, pulled from slot-car racetracks, architectural frameworks, and found shapes from daily life take on a nostalgic register, the fascinations of boyhood working to render abstract geometries more idiosyncratic and accessible. Thurman transposes the formal details of these everyday objects into the subliminal realm of abstraction.
Lapo Elkann opened Garage Italia in Milan in November 2017 in the iconic former petrol station Agip Supercortemaggiore, restored by Michele De Lucchi. Creativity, design, and Italian excellence gather together in the headquarters of this creative hub, which also houses a café and a restaurant by Michelin Star Chef Carlo Cracco. Garage Italia conceives of and develops automotive and tailor-made projects, products, and unique experiences for brands, businesses and private customers, serving as a creative platform for the intersection of motion, art, and style.
Blair Thurman was born in 1961 in New Orleans, Louisiana, and currently lives and works in New York. He received his BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Canada, and his MFA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. His work is featured in the collections of the Centre national des arts plastiques, Paris; Fonds régional d’art contemporain, France; and the Syz Collection, Switzerland. Recent solo exhibitions include Le Magasin—Centre National d’Art Contemporain, France (2014); and Honeybadgers, Oklahoma City Museum of Art (2015). Thurman’s work was included in the 46th Biennale di Venezia in 1995.