Villa Panza: Varese, Italy

One of my favorite artists is James Turrell. Ever since I saw one of his light installations at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art a couple years ago he has been one that I always look forward to seeing. His Roden Center crater is at the top of my list of art installations to see.

I was very excited to hear that currently there is a Turrell installation on view at Villa Panza in Varese, Italy.

The first time I came to Villa Panza was four years ago while visiting Erica and Claudio on a previous weekend trip. The Panza family acquired this beautiful villa in Varese in the 1930s. Giuseppe Panza was a world celebrated art collector and used the villa to show his vast collection of American Contemporary Art. The Panza Collection includes permanent works from Phil Sims, Max Cole, Dan Flavin, Robert Irwin, James Turrell and many more. The presentation is just different than any other, you’ll be walking through velvet covered sofas with crystal chandeliers hanging above and there will be a Phil Sims hanging in the room too. The juxtaposition of the contemporary art to the 18th century Italian décor is what really makes this collection different.

(The permanent collection by Dan Flavin at Villa Penza is 100% worth seeing as well…the most extensive Flavin collection I’ve ever seen)

Yesterday was a warm 60 degrees and the perfect day to roam the collection plus the breathtaking gardens of the villa.

On special exhibitions now and extended until May is Naturas Naturans featuring Roxy Paine and Meg Webster. Two artists that I’ve never had the chance of knowing or seeing until now. What an excellent exhibit, different from what I’ve seen before. Both installations show the constant cycles of growth and decay in nature. Check out some of the pictures below. (Cover photo is artwork by Meg Webster)

Roxy Paine
Meg Webster
Meg Webster

Back to Turrell, I was lucky to see another one of his great light installations, Sight Unseen,2013, Ganzfeld. After signing my life away saying that I understood no photography and confirming that I didn’t have epilepsy, I followed the guide into the installation where I was instructed to take off my shoes and follow her into the room. Now to give you and idea of what this artwork looks like, do you remember the music video for Drake’s Headlines? Well, when he’s doing his dance moves throughout the video the backdrop are all James Turrell’s work. Seeing the Drake video and what I’m telling you now does not do justice to how surreal his work and this exhibit are. The way that Turrell makes you aware/unaware of light, space, and time is amazing. If there is ever a Turrell being shown anywhere near you, GO!

Sky Space, James Turrell
Signing away


I HIGHLY recommend that if you are visiting the Milan area that you go take the trip to Varese and see everything that Villa Panza has to offer.


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