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Chelsea Art Museum. The First Terna Prize Honors Contemporary Italian Artists

(June 24, 2009)
Terna, Italy’s major Energy Transmission Operator, and the Chelsea Art Museum announced an exhibition of artwork by Italian artists that were awarded the first Terna Prize for Contemporary Art. "Transmitting Energy: A Contemporary Metaphor - Winners of the Terna Prize for Contemporary Art" on display at the Chelsea Art Museum 6/25–7/12

Terna, Italy’s major Energy Transmission Operator and primary owner of the Italian National High-Voltage Electricity Transmission Grid, and the Chelsea Art Museum announced an exhibition of artwork by Italian artists that were awarded the first Terna Prize for Contemporary Art.  Transmitting Energy: A Contemporary Metaphor - Winners of the Terna Prize for Contemporary Art, on display at the Chelsea Art Museum June 25th – July 12th, 2009, features the 16 winning works united in the Prize’s theme of connectivity but diverse in subject and media.  

The goal of the Terna Prize is to open new avenues of discourse between culture and commerce, and to provide artists with a platform from which to be recognized by the global arts community.  The Prize winners include artists of all ages, some internationally renowned and others relatively still unknown.  The works, including nine photographs, three paintings and four mixed media works, were first exhibited at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome’s largest interdisciplinary exhibition venue, in November 2008.

In establishing the Prize, Terna worked closely with independent curator and contemporary art critic Gianluca Marziani and contemporary art advisor and curator Francesco Cascino.  “The Terna Prize is not only a contest, but a cultural project that encourages dialogue and serves as a catalyst for the transmission of values among generations,” said Terna Prize Curator Gianluca Marziani.  “Exhibiting these works in New York enables us to begin to internationalize the Prize and to share with new audiences the many ways in which this award connects artists through their energy and experiences.”

"Terna has created a unique platform through which a highly talented generation of contemporary Italian artists can be appreciated on an international scale,” said Sam Bardaouil, Chelsea Art Museum curator. “The quality and diversity is fascinating and we are delighted to play a role in introducing these artists to the New York arts community."
“The first Terna Prize winners reveal a fascinating range of work being produced in Italy today,” said Julián Zugazagoitia, Terna Prize jury member and Director of El Museo del Barrio in New York.  “The exhibition is a wonderful opportunity to see these artists in the U.S., many for the first time.”
The Terna Prize for Contemporary Art was awarded in three categories: Terawatt, for established

artists invited to participate, and Gigawatt and Megawatt, for emerging artists under and over the age of 35, respectively.  One artist was selected as the first prize winner in each category; six additional artists were recognized and received monetary awards in the Gigawatt and Megawatt categories. The winning artists were selected by a jury of art professionals and chosen from a shortlist of 124 nominations from a total of more than 3,000 entries.  The Terawatt winner received €100,000 Euros (approximately $130,000 U.S.) and, in a joint agreement with Terna, the full prize will be donated in the artist’s name to the MAXXI, the future Italian Museum of the Arts of the 21st Century.  (When the MAXXI opens in Rome in November 2009, it will be the largest contemporary art museum in Europe, dedicated to collecting, preserving, studying and presenting important examples of 21st century art and architecture.) Also, one Online Award winner was chosen by the public from the entire pool of entries via the Terna Prize website and received a monetary award.  All winning artworks in the Gigawatt, Megawatt and Online Award categories will be purchased by Terna and will become part of the Company’s contemporary art collection. 

Highlights of Transmitting Energy include Terawatt Award winner Luigi Ontani (b. 1943) for Electricthrone, a large lenticular print comically depicting the artist being shocked by an electric chair; Gigawatt Award winner Francesco Arena (b. 1978) for Split Panel with Nietzsche’s Head, a sheetrock panel containing a bust of Nietzsche peering out from within; and Megawatt Award winner Andrea Chiesi (b. 1966) for Kali Yuga 57, a graphic, oil-on-linen rendering of a derelict steel plant.  Other artists on view include Riccardo Albanese (b. 1977), Elena Baldelli (b. 1983), Gabriele Bonato (b. 1980), Gabriele Giugni (b. 1980), Giovanni Ozzola (b. 1982), Davide Eron Salvadei (b. 1973), Giovanni Albanese (b. 1955), Davide Bertocchi (b. 1969), Laura Cantrarella (b. 1972), Rocco Dubbini (b. 1969), Raffaela Mariniello (b. 1961), Antonio Riello (b. 1958), and Hôtel de la Lune (Gian Maria Tosatti, b. 1980 and Elisabetta Mancini, b. 1980), winner of the online-voted People’s Choice Award.

The Terna Prize Honorary Committee was chaired by the Italian Minister for Cultural Heritage and Activities, Sandro Bondi, and included Domenico De Masi, President of the Ravello Foundation; Massimiliano Fuksas, architect; Emma Marcegaglia, President of Confindustria, the Italian confederation of industries; and Fernanda Pivano, contemporary Italian art writer

and essayist. The competing works were evaluated by a jury headed by Luigi Roth, Chairman, and Flavio Cattaneo, CEO of Terna, and including prominent representatives from the art and economic worlds: Julián Zugazagoitia, Director of El Museo del Barrio in New York; Alberto Alessi, of Alessi Design; Davide Blei, Director of Contemporanea-Associazione Collezionisti Milano; Silvia Evangelisti, Art Director of the Bologna Fair; Giovanni Giuliani, President of Macro Amici; Gianfranco Maraniello, Director of the MAMBO Museum in Bologna; Cristiana Perrella, Curator of the Contemporary Arts Programme of the British School in Rome; Thaddaeus Ropac, owner of art galleries in Paris and Salzburg; Paolo Sorrentino, movie director; and Beatrice Trussardi, President of the Nicola Trussardi Foundation.

A full color, bilingual catalogue is available at the Chelsea Art Museum and from Silvana Editoriale.

The first Terna Prize for Contemporary Art was launched in July 2008 in Rome at the building site of the MAXXI, the future Italian Museum of the Arts of the 21st Century, a symbol of the need for innovation and of the new role that contemporary art has in Italian society. The competition was open to Italian artists and to artists of other nationalities working in Italy. In October 2008, Terna signed a three-year Memorandum of Understanding with the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities aimed at promoting and enhancing Italian contemporary art; it is the first agreement between a private company and the Ministry on contemporary art to create permanent value for all of Italian society. Terna’s main goal is to support contemporary art and artists and to establish a new relationship among companies, the art world and the government by interconnecting culture, economics, public and private entities.

The second annual Terna Prize will be launched in Rome on May 26th, 2009 when the jury for the prize and other details about the next competition are announced.  To broaden the international scope of the award, the second competition will include a new, fourth category, which will be open to all artists of any nationality working in New York City. The Terawatt, Gigawatt and Megawatt categories will remain open to all artists of any nationality working in Italy. Terna plans to award two three-month residencies in New York for the Megawatt and Gigawatt First Prize winners and the sole winner in the New York category will receive a three-month residency at the American Academy in Rome.

Terna is Italy’s major Energy Transmission Operator and primary owner of the Italian National High-Voltage Electricity Transmission Grid.  The publicly held company operates more than 98 percent of the country’s electricity infrastructures, for a total of about 58 thousand kilometers of

grid.  Terna is also responsible for the transmission and dispatching of energy throughout the entire country, and ensures the safe management and supply of power year-round.

Founded in 2002, the Chelsea Art Museum (CAM) seeks to present important, but relatively unexplored dimensions of 20th and 21st century art, showcasing primarily the work of artists that have been less exposed in the United States rather than in their home countries.  CAM is home to the Jean Miotte Foundation, which is dedicated to archiving, preserving, presenting and making available for exhibitions the work of abstract expressionist painter Jean Miotte (b. 1926) and to providing new scholarship and research on L’Informel (Informal Art). Through his painting, Miotte strove to build a bridge between cultures and transcend national boundaries to form a truly international artistic language. In keeping with this spirit, the museum’s exhibitions and public programs seek to reflect contemporary human experience across a broad spectrum of cultural, social, environmental and geographical contexts and demonstrate a commitment to creativity, community and cultural exchange. Rotating selections of Miotte’s work are shown on a regular basis, as are selections from the Museum’s permanent collection which includes rare holdings of works by artists such as Pol Bury, Mimmo Rotella, and J.P. Riopelle. Located in the heart of Chelsea’s gallery district and alongside the Hudson River Park, the Chelsea Art Museum is housed in a historic 19th-century warehouse that has been restored to incorporate contemporary style while preserving its original architecture.

The Chelsea Art Museum
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Phone: 212.255.0719 
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