Italian Police Make Francesco Vezzoli Return Church Bound for MoMA PS1

The pieces of southern Italy's Madonna del Carmine church back home in Montegiordano, six months after police blocked Francesco Vezzoli from exported them to America for an exhibition at PS1 MoMa (March 28, 2014). Photo: Alfonso di Vincenzo, courtesy AFP PHOTO.
The pieces of southern Italy's Madonna del Carmine church back home in Montegiordano, six months after police blocked Francesco Vezzoli from exported them to America for an exhibition at PS1 MoMa (March 28, 2014). Photo: Alfonso di Vincenzo, courtesy AFP PHOTO.

The small southern-Italian church of Madonna del Carmine was all packed up, ready to be transported to the US for its debut at MoMA PS1, when police seized the shipment from a hangar at the Port of Gioia Tauro in October 2013. Now the stone structure, dismantled by Italian artist Francesco Vezzoli with the intention of reassembling it in PS1’s courtyard, is being returned to its original site in Calabria’s Montegiordano commune, the AFP reports.

Southern Italy's Madonna del Carmine church before it was deconstructed. Photo: courtesy AFP PHOTO.

Southern Italy’s Madonna del Carmine church before it was deconstructed.
Photo: AFP PHOTO.

Vezzoli planned to reconstruct the church and project video on it at PS1 as part of his “Trinity” project, a three-part exhibition slated to also go on view at MAXXI in Rome and Los Angeles’s Museum of Contemporary Art. The artist claims to have purchased the desecrated late-19th-century building on the Internet and to have had the proper permits in order. Nonetheless, locals were unhappy at the loss of what they see as a part of their national heritage, and police contend Vezzoli did not have export authorization from the Italian Archaeological Superintendency.


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