Modern Art in Florence

A contemporary world behind a Renaissance façade.

Perhaps Florence isn’t the first city that comes to mind when considering contemporary art. Yet despite the Tuscan capital’s medieval and Renaissance splendors, this city maintains a surprising reputation for innovation, though on a smaller scale.
Behind its Renaissance façade, the city vaunts art galleries and contemporary spaces that merge Florence’s past with its forward-thinking present. 

Of course, places like Palazzo Strozzi and Forte di Belvedere often host more prestigious contemporary art exhibits, while museums like the Galleria dell’ Accademia and Palazzo Vecchio are known for integrating modern creations into their historic collections. Besides the larger exhibits around the city, you’ll find a number of spaces dedicated to promoting and exposing Florence’s contemporary art world

Palazzo Strozzi

The Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi is a a dynamic cultural center hosting an extensive exhibition program. Until August 29th, it presents American Art 1961-2001, a major exhibition taking a new perspective on the history of contemporary art in the United States. The exhibition brings together an extensive selection of over 80 works by 53 artists, including Andy Warhol, Mark Rothko, Roy Lichtenstein, Bruce Nauman, Cindy Sherman.

Here are a few contemporary spaces to check out:

Art galleries not to miss

Galleria Frittelli is one of Florence’s largest contemporary art spaces.
Its founders, Carlo and Simone Frittelli, opted for a Brooklyn mentality, setting up shop in the more suburban Novoli district (think closed-down warehouses).
Today, this gallery hosts temporary exhibitions featuring national and international artists and aims to showcase Italian art from the 1950s to today.
Galleria Frittelli collaborates with a large array of museums, art foundations, public institutions, artists, curators, critics, art historians and collectors. Here, you’ll find Italian abstract art from the post-war era, analytical paintings, visual poetry and works by emerging artists. The gallery is also home to archives containing works by Pino Pascali, Gianni Bertini and Vinicio Berti

Back in the center of Florence, Eduardo Secci Contemporary, founded in 2013, links Florence’s ancient and modern worlds in a series of innovative and cutting-edge exhibitions.
Besides showcasing both emerging and established contemporary artists, the gallery focuses on artists that employ numerous mediums for their work.
Its bright rooms are located a few steps away from the Arno – a perfect space to add to your evening stroll through Florence.

Along these lines, if you’re looking for something a bit out of the norm, head to Street Levels Gallery, a creative hub and gallery dedicated to exploring the relationship between street art and the public. A meeting point for young creative talents, the gallery brings this underrepresented art form to the mainstream gallery world, creating a fascinating and stimulating dialogue between alternative art and Florence’s age-old history

Outdoor Art

Lower your gaze from the city’s sky-high monuments to enjoy another Florentine treasure: the open-air museums.
From Piazza della Signoria to Clet’s funky signs adorning the streets, Florence is home to a wide range of places with art in the open air. If you’re looking for some greenery and modern art, you can opt for places like the Terzo Giardino, a strategically overgrown garden area that boasts striking modern sculptures and a unique view of Florence from below.

More up the hill, near the famed Piazzale Michelangelo, Florence’s beautiful Rose Garden offers visitors a special treat: ten bronze sculptures by Belgian artist Jean-Michel Folon, an interesting pairing to the idyllic 19th-century garden.
Here, you’ll also find a beautiful Japanese Shorai oasis, a gift from Florence’s sister city, Kyoto, which gives your European art tour a splash of East Asian flair.

Another spot not to miss is Le Murate Progetti Arte Contemporanea, a former men’s prison now home to one of Florence’s coolest bars. The space hosts temporary art shows, site-specific installations and artist residences, not to mention conferences, workshops and an array of outdoor concerts. If you’re looking for an outdoor spot filled with art and contemporary happenings, Le Murate is the place to go.

Hidden by a lush garden in the heart of Florence is another contemporary indoor/outdoor treasure: Aria Art Gallery. This trendy space moved to Florence in 2009 from its original Pietrasanta location. Wander through a historic tropical garden (from 1534) to enter a vibrant exhibition space. Here, besides contemporary exhibitions, art fairs, events and performances, you’ll find works by masters of the past and present, including Andy Warhol, Amedeo Modigliani and Carole A. Feuerman. Contemporary Florence is unique in its blending of the past and present; this gallery successfully transmits the best of Florence’s rich history with its blossoming contemporary art world

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Credits photo: 

Street Levels Gallery, artista Leonardo Borri

Galleria Frittelli Arte Contemporanea 

Aria Art Gallery

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