Teasers: Selected works from the Pizzuti Collection by Women Artists
The Pizzuti Companies are building a boutique hotel in the Short North. There’s going to be office space, retail space, and a parking garage too. This isn’t exactly news. The project has been winding its way through commissions and boards for years. It’s all part of what might charitably be referred to as “the approval process”. It’s a process that’s generated opinions on aesthetics, urban planning, and everything in between. What often gets lost in these debates regarding how tall, how modern, what material and what color is something called the Pizzuti Collection; the non-profit entity established to exhibit contemporary art and highlight works from Ron Pizzuti’s private collection.
You see, in addition to being a builder of boutique hotels (among other things), Ron Pizzuti is also a collector of contemporary art. Over the last thirty years, through careful buying and diligent research, Mr. Pizzuti has amassed what’s become a world-class art collection (he’s a regular fixture in the ARTnews annual list of top 200 collectors). Thanks to this passion for art, the Short North hotel plans also include a dedicated gallery space. For art lovers then, the big news is this: later this year the Pizzuti Collection is expected to open its permanent home in the former United Commercial Travelers building at 632 North Park Street. Central Ohio’s premier arts district is about to get a lot more arty.
As a run-up to the official Park Street opening, the Pizzuti Collection is currently exhibiting Teasers: Selected works from the Pizzuti Collection by Women Artists. This is an exhibition that stands on its own thematically, while also serving to demonstrate the impressive breadth and range of Mr. Pizzuti’s collection. When I say world-class, I mean it. Artists in this current exhibition are literally from around the globe, representing a fantastic range of styles, backgrounds, and perspectives.
What ties the show together thematically is the sense of connection apparent in so many of the works. These are artists who are interested not only in finding a place for the individual but also in connecting the individual to something greater, whether that something greater is history (Mie Olise Kjaergaard’s Niels Bohr’s Institute), geography (Sandra Ramos’ The Rapunzel Syndrome), or cultural identity (Moyna Flannigan’s Bunny No. 5 and Bunny No. 11).
We’ve become so accustomed to the artist as heroic outsider, iconoclast, and lone wolf that seeing art so earnest in it’s desire to build bridges and establish relationships is somewhat jarring – if only for a second. After that, it’s really pretty refreshing. (Honestly, I can’t be the only one bored with shock for shock’s sake and slick for slick’s sake, can I?) This isn’t to suggest all of the work in Teasers is about peace, love, and understanding. Far from it. There are plenty of hard subjects tackled here (see Kara Walker’s Testimony). But even in those instances the individual is always presented in the context of something larger. John Donne famously observed, “No man is an island”. Apparently no woman is either.
In a nutshell, these relationships and bonds are the strength of the show. Though women artists are featured, the exhibit is first and foremost one that offers individual experiences and expressions filtered through the lens of larger connections, whether it’s Shirin Neshat responding to the history of her native Iran or Margarita Cabrera channeling the craft traditions of her native Mexico. What Teasers presents is a kaleidoscope of relationships that reveal the world – the whole world – in a way only art can.
If this is even a hint of what we can expect from future exhibitions in the Pizzuti Collection’s new home, we’re in for a real treat.
Teasers: Selected works from the Pizzuti Collection by Women Artists is currently on view in the Gallery at Two Miranova Place (Two Miranova Place, Suite 150 Columbus, Ohio 43215). Gallery Hours are Wednesdays noon to 6 and by appointment. Call 614-280-4079 for more information.
Moyna Flannigan, Bunny No. 11 2010 Ink and gouache on Fabriano
Shirin Neshat, Summer 1953, series #1 2008 Silver gelatin print
Kjærgaard, Mie Olise – Niels Bohr’s Institute 2011 Acrylic on canvas (diptych)