- ExhibitionsCurrent ExhibitionsPast Exhibitions
- Wild Carrot
- Raqs Media Collective: The Great Bare Mat & Constellation
- Luisa Lambri: Portrait
- Magic Moments: The Screen and the Eye–9 Artists 9 Projections
- (TAPESTRY) RADIO ON: New Work by Victoria Morton at the Gardner
- Points of View: 20 Years Artists-in-Residence at the Gardner
- Taro Shinoda: Lunar Reflections
- Su-Mei Tse: Floating Memories
- Luisa Rabbia: Travels with Isabella, Travel Scrapbooks 1883/2008
- Cliff Evans: Empyrean
- Stefano Arienti: The Asian Shore
- Sculpture and Memory: Works from the Gardner and by Luigi Ontani
- Henrik Håkansson: Cyanopsitta spixii Case Study #001
- A Pagan Feast
- Variations On a Theme by Sol Lewitt and Paula Robison
- Danijel Zezelj: Stray Dogs
- Maurizio Cannavacciuolo: TV Dinner
- Artist, Curator, Collector
- Episodes: Bus Park & Forevermore
- Manfred Bischoff
- Laura Owens
- New Works by Denise Marika
- Artists By 2001
Alessandro Baricco (b. 1958 Italy) began his writing career in the field of musicology; publishing essays on the subject, working as a musical critic for La Repubblica and La Stampa, and staring in television programs about opera and literature. Baricco debuted as a novelist with Castelli di rabbia (Lands of Glass) in 1991 and since has published nine books including: Seta (Silk), 1996, which has been translated into twenty-seven languages, Oceano Mare (Ocean Sea), 1999; City (City), 2002; Senza sangue (Without Blood), 2002 and Emmaus (Emmaus), 2009. His novels have won numerous literary awards, including the Prix Mèdicis in France and the Selezione Campiello, Viareggio, and Palazzo del Bosco Prizes in Italy. In addition, several of Baricco’s works have been adapted for the screen. His monologue, Novecento, was made into a film by Oscar Winner, Giuseppe Tornatore, entitled The Legend of 1900. In 2007 Silk was released staring Michael Pitt and Keira Knightley and In 2008 Baricco wrote and directed Lezione 2, a film based staring Noah Taylor, John Hurt and Clive Russell.
In 1993 Alassandro Baricco co-founded a creative writing school in Turin, naming it Scuola Holden after J. D. Salinger's Holden Caulfield. The Scuola Holden hosts a variety of courses on narrative techniques including screenwriting, journalism, videogames, novels and short stories. He received degrees in Philosophy and piano from the University of Turin. He currently lives in works in Rome.
While in residency at the Gardner Museum in 2001, Alessandro Baricco spent time writing, talking with the museum Staff, traveling around the city, and immersing himself in the American Sports Culture. One afternoon he held an impromptu reading in the Tapestry Room from City, the manuscript he was working on, in Italian and in English. Baricco wrote a “letter” about his experience at the museum for the Fall 2002 A Season at the Gardner Newsletter. He returned that October to give a special presentation of his recently published book City at an Eye of the Beholder lecture. Later in the acknowledgements at the back of his novella Senza sangue (WithoutBlood), Baricco thanked the museum for giving him "the gift of silence, without which a story cannot begin."
A Letter From Alessandro Baricco
A Season at the Gardner, Fall 2002
Red brick houses, along the river, and a blade of skyscraper thrust into the blue butter of sky – this is what I remember about Boston, I stretched out on a meadow, my bicycle (for lack of something better) stretched out by my side, and that view – later it would become a memory – Boston. I lay there, stretched out, because I was thinking, and I then went back home and wrote down what I was thinking about, in the white and wood world of that little New England apartment they had given me for three weeks, right in the Museum garden, up a flight of stairs, a few id-cards fanned out to gain entry, a door opened, and closed behind me. Inside it’s very comfortable, indeed a white and wood world, like one prepared by some solicitous godmother whose only concern is your peace of mind, every thing else becoming secondary – your peace of mind. Peaceful I am not, and so it was a bit like undergoing a cure, if I may put it this way, undergoing a cure, in fact, with that New England liniment where, having returned from the meadow and on my bicycle, I wrote what I had thought about during the preceding hours, that is a few phrases, rather short ones, but which would become the beginning of my new book, a book that in fact is about to be published, and so it has become something real, while at that time, there in Boston, it was still only a presentiment, an attempt, a hypothesis.
Now and then, at night, they took me around the Museum itself – after closing time – with darkness outside, and in, and I with a flashlight in hand, free to illuminate whatever I wanted, walking among paintings worth millions of dollars – a bizarre pilgrimage, if you know what I mean – hovering uncertainly between imagining myself the protagonist of a bloody thriller, playing this novel game, which was to paint, with the flashlight, MY OWN light on the paintings, blurring the original – a small act of violence that was going really well until I reached the Rembrandt (self-portrait) and there I had to surrender to the observation that it resisted any alternative light, having its own, and having it in a manner so ontological and definitive (if I can put it this way) that it rendered futile any attempt to steal it away, modify it, extinguish it, shift it – futile.
Then I returned to my white and wood world.
In Boston it is also lovely to eat lobsters and walk around the baseball stadium without going in.
At the Museum, instead, the nicest thing, according to me, is to get up close to a Paolo Uccello (a very little one, a woman in profile, pearls at her neck) and flirt with him, approaching ever so much closer, and discovering what one sees from there.
Another very lovely thing was a waitress at the Museum bar, but that was one place I couldn’t get up close.
It being understood that Boston is a very strange America, for us Europeans, because it is very European and old and controlled, namely precisely three things that we don’t expect of America, which we want to be American, young and exaggerated, because, wishing the opposite, we have what we want at home. So in practice, I would never get used to it, unless of course some crazy Museum were to invite me to live there for three weeks, or a month, but a month already would be a bit too much.
In any case the Sargents were magnificent.
As was Isabella – the primary reason for that museum and thus also, by extension, for my being there, with my bicycle, lobsters and all – I don’t believe that I would have been one of her friends because I can’t bear dinners that go on for over an hour, but surely I would have wanted to know her, because I like people who produce life, instead of sowing death, and it matters little that they then make a mistake in style or cause trouble or end up outside the norm, they produce life, and that’s enough for me – and she, if I’ve understood correctly, she did that, she produced life. She had money, okay. However she also had the desire. This already makes her likeable. In fact I’m taking the occasion to thank her, wherever she is, for those three weeks that I owe her, if there is a way to send her my book let me know, I would be delighted by the idea that she might read it. And in any case, I hope that you’re in good company, baby.
If I were an artist, I think I would have had a show, there in the museum. But I write books. What could I do there? I don’t know. Write a book, maybe. Done.
And then the afternoon, going to the playing field, in the center of town, sitting and watching the children play baseball, with fathers and mothers outside, behind the fence, shouting. The noise of the ball on the bat. The gestures of the umpire. The face of a very fat child on first base. Wonderful.