Mysterious New Private Art Space to Showcase Arte Povera Works in Hudson Valley

Meet the Olnick Spanu Collection.

Giorgio Vigna, La Radura (2003–2005). Courtesy of Olnick Spanu.
Giorgio Vigna, La Radura (2003–2005). Courtesy of Olnick Spanu, photo by Marco Anelli © 2016.

Next time you plan a road trip up to Dia: Beacon or the Storm King Art Center in New Windsor, there may be a new Hudson River Valley arts institution to add to your itinerary. Bloomberg reports that husband and wife collectors Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu are in the process of building a 20,000-square-foot art space in nearby Cold Spring, New York, for their 400-piece collection of mid-century and contemporary Italian art.

The forthcoming space is part of a larger art world trend: These days, it seems like any collector worth his or her salt has their own private museum, from Brant Foundation Art Study Center in Greenwich, Connecticut; to Mitchell and Emily Rales’s Glenstone museum in Potomac, Maryland; and the Rubell Family Collection in Miami. (The Olnick Spanu Collection, however, is not a nonprofit.)

Olnick and Spanu’s holdings are especially rich in postwar Arte Povera works. They also own over 500 pieces of Murano glass, a collection that had its own solo show at New York’s Museum of Arts and Design in 2000, when it was still known as the the American Craft Museum.

Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu. Courtesy of Olnick Spanu, photo by Marco Anelli © 2016.

Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu. Courtesy of Olnick Spanu, photo by Marco Anelli © 2016.

Their new art space, which is under construction, had slightly controversial beginnings. In 2012, Spanu and Olnick, who live in nearby Garrison, unveiled plans to build what they described as a private home, with storage space for their collection. Nevertheless, the couple’s proposed structure drew the ire of nearby residents at a public hearing, as reported by the Putnam County News and Highlands Current. Locals characterized the building a “monstrosity” and “a translucent warehouse” that seemed more like an industrial building than a residential home.

Very little is known about what form the Olnick Spanu art space, located just up the road from the original proposed location in Cold Spring, will take, but it will likely showcase works the couple reportedly owns by Alighiero Boetti, Jannis Kounellis, and Giuseppe Penone, among other artists. The new initiative builds on the artist residency program Olnick and Spanu have run at their Hudson Valley property since 2003.

Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu's home in Garrison, New York. Courtesy of Olnick Spanu, photo by Javier Callejas.

Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu’s home in Garrison, New York. Courtesy of Olnick Spanu, photo by Javier Callejas.

“It is our mission to be able to share our experience and education with family, friends, and an interested audience who may not be familiar with the power of Italian art,” wrote Olnick on the collection website.

Arte Povera has seen a resurgence in recent years, with high-profile sales at auction of seminal works from the movement, such as Alberto Burri’s Sacco e Rosso, which shattered the artist’s auction record when it sold for $13.1 million at Sotheby’s London in February.

The Olnick Spanu collection's forthcoming art space, Magazzino, in Cold Spring, New York. Courtesy photographer Marco Anelli/Olnick Spanu.

The Olnick Spanu collection’s forthcoming art space, Magazzino, in Cold Spring, New York. Courtesy photographer Marco Anelli/Olnick Spanu.

UPDATE: Olnick Spanu has announced that the art space will be called Magazzino, or warehouse in Italian, and that it will be free and open to the public by appointment. Spanish architect Miguel Quismondo has expanded the 20,000-square-foot building from an existing structure.

In addition to the aforementioned art collection, Magazzino will be home to a library featuring over 5,000 Italian art publications. There will be temporary exhibitions and public programs, and Vittorio Calabrese, who also heads the Olnick Spanu Art Program for artist residences, will serve as director.

“As residents of the Hudson Valley community for more than 25 years, we knew we wanted to not only open a space to share our beloved works and appreciation for art with others, but to do so here in this vibrant community as an opportunity to give back,” said Olnick in a statement.


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