Marta Galli lives and works in Milan. For five years she was the Features Editor at MUSE, a quarterly fashion/art magazine. She since left to pursue a freelancing career.
How did you first get interested in contemporary art?
I hated it at the beginning. When I was a little girl my mother used to take me with her to visit art exhibitions, once we went to Palazzo Grassi in Venice and I just remember tons of stairs and little drawings that weren’t appealing to me at all. I didn’t want to get back to a museum for years. My initiation to a contemporary sensibility was pretty obvious and it happened when I was a teenager. I skipped school and found shelter at a Andy Warhol show in a private foundation in Milan. And I felt good. But it was through readings that I really got interested in art in general and in contemporary art. Through Kenneth Clark, Maurizio Calvesi, Ernst Gombrich, even Camille Paglia. Since then, I found myself thinking that there was something exciting about it, but that only upon certain conditions you could feel that excitement.
What has been your favorite art interview in Muse magazine and why?
There are actually three of them on my top list. Hans Ulrich Obrist interviewing Francesco Vezzoli it’s a flamboyant meeting of two flamboyant characters, it’s very fluid and every question or answer randomly leads to another through the fil rouge of shared passions. Maurizio Cattelan’s interview with Dash Snow (it was a year before he passed away) for reasons that I can’t reveal. And the one Bill Powers did with George Condo. It felt very natural, the whole thing; him being a mid-career artist, you and him, and there were funny passages. The right combination of interviewer and interviewee can really make the difference.
You are on vacation in New York from Italy. What has been an art highlight from this trip?
During my stay I’ve fallen in love with two artists: Clifford Owens that I had the chance to meet at MoMA PS1 and Wu Tsang who’s work was on display both at the New Museum and at the Whitney Biennial. For the rest, there are great exhibitions in town; among them I have really appreciated the intimate video-portraits by Tacita Dean at the New Museum, Tom Sachs’ show-off at the Armory and Taryn Simon at MoMA. Taryn’s huge work “A Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters”, from the title to the chapters, is so sharp, elaborated and intense. There is amazing research behind it, she makes you think and she makes you cry. She is extremely sophisticated.
Do you live with any artwork at home?
I just own very young art. In the living room there’s a print by British Polly Morgan. From far away it looks like a bunch of dried flowers firmly kept in a mans hand and when you get closer you see the flowers are actually newborn baby birds, a screaming nest. While I also have a couple of photographs by Kiev based Sasha Kurmaz that convey a completely different mood and spontaneously have the same violent anti-glamour vibe of the fashion photography of the 90s, with a hint of melancholy in it. In a way, differently from the provocative refusal of beauty of 90s poetics, Sasha seems to still be searching for beauty but just in his own way. My current desire is Markus Schinwald.
Artist quote or words to live by?
“Life is nothing if you are not obsessed.” – John Waters.