“Readings” is an evolution, in the form of podcasts, of the editorial activity of Fondazione Prada, a sound anthology composed of critical essays and narrative texts commissioned by the foundation as part of its multidisciplinary projects.
“Readings” brings together a wide selection of excerpts from books published from 2012 to date. The first collection, destined to grow, includes more than 50 podcasts by historians, philosophers, curators and writers such as Nicolas Bourriaud, Massimo Cacciari, Germano Celant, Christoph Cox, Emilio Gentile, Alison Gingeras, Boris Groys, Udo Kittelmann, Rachel Kuschner, Christy Lange, Roxana Marcoci, Julia Robinson, Dieter Roelstraete, Jeffrey Schnapp, Salvatore Settis, Ali Smith, Lynn Spigel, and many others.
Podcasts are both in English and Italian.
The publications of Fondazione Prada are available in our online bookshop
1. Boris Groys
Art Topology: The Reproduction of Aura
The essay is part of the catalogue dedicated to the exhibition “When Attitudes Become Form: Bern 1969/Venice 2013“, curated by Germano Celant in dialogue with Thomas Demand and Rem Koolhaas. Presented in 2013 in Fondazione Prada’s Venice venue, the project reconstructed “Live in Your Head. When Attitudes Become Form”, the exhibition conceived by Harald Szeemann at the Kunsthalle in Bern in 1969 and and remembered for the curator’s radical approach to exhibition practice.
2.Lynn B. Spigel
Talk TV and the video countercultures
The essay is included in the publication accompanying the exhibition “TV 70: Francesco Vezzoli guarda la Rai“. Presented in Milan in 2017 by Fondazione Prada in collaboration with Rai, the project is a personal interpretation of the TV production of the 70s in the form of an intense visual journey. Italian public television is considered by Vezzoli as an engine of cultural, social and political change in a country in transition from the radicalism of the 60s to the hedonism of the 80s. The project analysed in particular the relations between media production and art, politics, women’s emancipation and entertainment.
The essay is included in the book that accompanied the exhibition “Post Zang Tumb Tuuum. Art Life Politics: Italia 1918-1943”. Conceived by Germano Celant in 2018, the project installed in all the exhibition spaces of Fondazione Prada’s Milan venue explored the system of art and culture in Italy between the two world wars. The study of thousands of historical documents and photographs revealed the spatial, social and political context in which the artworks were created, staged, experienced and interpreted by the public over 25 crucial years of Italian history. The survey led to the selection of over 600 works, including paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, posters, furnishings, architectural projects and models, created by more than 100 authors including artists Giacomo Balla, Carlo Carrà, Felice Casorati, Giorgio de Chirico, Fortunato Depero, Filippo de Pisis, Arturo Martini, Fausto Melotti, Giorgio Morandi, Gino Severini, Mario Sironi, and Adolfo Wildt and the architects and designers Giovanni Muzio, Marcello Piacentini, Piero Portaluppi and Giuseppe Terragni.
4. Elvira Dyangani Ose
Betye Saar: Uneasy Dancer
“Uneasy Dancer” is an expression Betye Saar has used to define both herself and her work. Several key elements lie at the center of her artistic practice: an interest in the metaphysical, the representation of feminine memory, and African-American identity which, in her work, takes on evocative and unusual forms. Through her confident usage of found objects, personal memorabilia and derogatory images that evoke denied or distorted narratives, Saar developed a powerful social critique that challenges racial and sexist stereotypes deeply rooted in American culture. The essay is part of the publication accompanying the exhibition “Uneasy Dancer” a comprehensive survey of work by Betye Saar (born in Los Angeles in 1926), held at the Fondazione Prada in Milan in 2016, curated by Elvira Dyangani Ose. This was the first exhibition of the American artist in Italy, and brought together over 80 works including installations, assemblages, collages and sculptures produced between 1966 and 2016.
5. Roxana Marcoci
Movies, Sculptural Theaters, and Roller Coasters
The essay is part of the publication accompanying the exhibition “Lizzie Fitch and Ryan Trecartin: Whether Line”. Presented at Fondazione Prada in Milan in 2019, the exhibition was the first output of a creative process begun in late 2016, investigating the perpetual promise of “new” terrain and the inherent instability of territorial appropriation.
Taking the idealized rurality endemic to back-to-the-land ideologies as a conceptual starting point, the project represents both a return and an escape. Relocating their studio operations to the countryside of Ohio for this work, Fitch and Trecartin conceived the framework for a new movie as a haunted map: a location with its own will and a constellation of permanent built. The artists contort these sites through dislocations of time and memory to explore the notion of borders and boundaries—existential, psychosocial, and physical.
6. Jeffrey Schnapp
The Spectacle factory
The essay is part of the publication accompanying the exhibition “Post Zang Tumb Tuuum. Art Life Politics: Italia 1918–1943” conceived and curated by Germano Celant. Presented at Fondazione Prada in Milan in 2018, the project explored the world of art and culture in Italy in the interwar years. Based on documentary and photographic evidence of the time, it reconstructed the spatial, temporal, social and political contexts in which the works of art were created and exhibited, and the way in which they were interpreted and received by the public of the time.
7. Salvatore Settis
Supremely original: classical art as serial, iterative, portable
This text is an excerpt of the essay published in 2015 and titled “Serial / Portable Classic. The Greek Canon and its Mutations”. The volume accompanied two exhibitions. “Serial Classic“, co-curated by Salvatore Settis and Anna Anguissola in Milan, focused on classical sculpture and explored the ambivalent relationship between originality and imitation in Roman culture and its insistence on the circulation of multiples as an homage to Greek art. “Portable Classic”, co-curated by Salvatore Settis and Davide Gasparotto in Venice, explored the origins and functions of miniature reproductions of classical sculptures.
8. Christoph Cox
Seeing is not Hearing: Synaesthesia, Anaesthesia and the Audio-Visual
The essay is part of the publication accompanying the exhibition “Art or Sound”, curated by Germano Celant. Presented at Fondazione Prada in Venice in 2014, the projects explored the relationship between art and sound and the way it has developed from the 16th century to the present day. “Art or Sound” examined the iconic aspects of musical instruments, the role of the artist-musician, and the areas in which the visual arts and music have intermixed.
9. Alison Gingeras
CPLY: Story of a Bad Boy
The essay is part of the publication accompanying the exhibition “William N. Copley”. Presented at Fondazione Prada in Milan in 2016 and 2017, the show was organized in collaboration with The Menil Collection, Houston, and curated by Germano Celant. The project retraced the entire career of the American artist, collector, publisher, dealer and art patron – started in Los Angeles in the 1940s, developed in Paris and subsequently spanned across Europe and the United States.
10. Shumon Basar
The Eternal Return of the Primitive Hut
The essay is part of the publication accompanying the group exhibition “Machines à penser”, curated by Dieter Roelstraete. The project, presented in Venice in the 18th century spaces of Ca’ Corner della Regina in 2018, analyzed themes such as exile, escape and retreat, taking inspiration from the biography and the works of three major philosophers of the 20th century: Theodor Adorno, Martin Heidegger and Ludwig Wittgenstein. According to the curator, the physical or mental places where they spent their imposed or chosen isolation period, influenced and favored their intellectual production. Over the years, these three models of “machines for thinking” have become the object of interest and research for the contemporary artists taking part to the show, such as Leonor Antunes, Anselm Kiefer, Goshka Macuga, Mark Manders, Giulio Paolini, Susan Philipsz, and Gerhard Richter.
11. Germano Celant
Edward and Nancy Kienholz: the beauty of corruption
The essay is part of the publication accompanying the exhibition “Kienholz: Five Car Stud” presented in Milan by Fondazione Prada in 2016 and curated by Germano Celant. The exhibition brought together a selection of artworks realized between 1959 to 1994 by Edward Kienholz and Nancy Reddin Kienholz, including the well-known installation that gave the show its title. Five Car Stud was created by Edward Kienholz from 1969 to 1972, and first exhibited at documenta 5 in Kassel, curated by Harald Szeemann. A life-sized reproduction of a scene of racial violence, Five Car Stud is considered one of the American artist’s most significant works. The exhibition also presented 24 artworks including sculpture, assemblages and tableaux realized by the Kienholzes from 1959 to 1994, as well as documentation material on the history and making of Five Car Stud.
12. Rachel Kushner
The Mutiny on the Bounty
This text is part of the publication accompanying the exhibition “The Boat is Leaking. The Captain Lied,” a transmedia project originated from an ongoing, in-depth exchange between writer and filmmaker Alexander Kluge, artist Thomas Demand, stage and costume designer Anna Viebrock and curator Udo Kittelmann. The show, organised by Fondazione Prada in Ca’ Corner della Regina, Venice, unfolded on three storeys of the 18th century palazzo – the ground floor and the two main ones – and include photographic and film works, as well as spatial settings and loans from private and public collections.
The exhibition aimed to provide comprehensive insight into the respective production of Alexander Kluge, Thomas Demand and Anna Viebrock, whose artistic endeavours have always extended beyond the aesthetic and imaginative, and were conceived with political and historical intentions. All three artists revealed themselves as pathfinders and clue seekers, witnesses and chroniclers of times past and present.
13. Nicolas Bourriaud
Art, Cable and the Net: the Post-TV Situation
The essay is part of the publication accompanying the exhibition “TV 70: Francesco Vezzoli guarda la Rai”. Presented at Fondazione Prada in Milan in 2017 in collaboration with Rai, Italy’s national broadcasting company, the project is a personal interpretation of the television production in the 1970s in the form of an intense visual journey. The Italian public TV is considered by Vezzoli as a driving force for cultural, social and political change in a country in transition from the radicalness of the 1960s to the hedonism of the 1980s. In particular, the project analyzed the relationships between media production, women’s emancipation, art, politics and entertainment.