Arts & Culture

Circondati d’Arte: Museums, Exhibits, and Exhibitions to visit this Autumn in Milan 

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Autumn has just arrived, bringing with it the first rainy and gloomy days, as well as a new season of exhibitions and cultural events.  Milan will be awash in art, with the most diverse cultural program in Italy, including collaborative exhibits, monographic retrospectives, and unprecedented personal collections embracing all periods and artistic movements in the history of art.  Here’s an attempt to provide an overview of what’s going on in Milan’s artistic and cultural scene in the coming months. 

Thao Nguyen Phan. Reincarnations Of Shadows 

Pirelli HangarBicocca 

14 SEPTEMBER 2023 – 14 JANUARY 2024

Thao Nguyen Phan’s oeuvre encompasses video, installation, drawing and painting through which she retraces historical events related to the turbulent history of her native country, Vietnam. Her artistic language fuses fairy tales and folk traditions to reflect on the consumption and colonization of the landscape. She intervenes in her dreamlike art with literature, philosophy, and daily life, to address environmental and social issues associated to the exploitation of natural resources.  
The show, presented by Pirelli HangarBicocca in cooperation with Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, will be a great opportunity to introduce Thao Nguyen Phan’s work to an Italian and worldwide audience.  The exhibition will give shape to cycles of life both spiritual and natural, revealing the artists’ individual approach to moving images. 

James Lee Byars 

Pirelli HangarBicocca

12 OCTOBER 2023 – 18 FEBRUARY 2024 

Photo: Elio Montanari
Photo: Elio Montanari

From the 1960s to the present, James Lee Byars, one of the most widely recognized American painters, impacted a generation of conceptual and performance artists. Influenced by Japanese culture, Byars combined Eastern motifs and symbols with Western art and philosophy, offering a unique perspective on reality and its physical and spiritual entities. James Lee Byars’s works include installation, sculpture, performance, drawing, and speech, which all aim to create mystical-aesthetic reflections on perfection, cyclicity, and the human figure.  Pirelli HangarBicocca’s retrospective to Byars, in collaboration with Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, presents large-scale works from 1974 to 1997, combining precious materials with minimal and archetypal geometries.  It explores themes such as the search for perfection, doubt, and the finitude of the human being. 

Vincent Van Gogh. Pittore Colto  


21 SEPTEMBER 2023 – 28 JANUARY 2024 

Vincent Van Gogh. Pittore Colto aims to highlight a Van Gogh that is less outsider and less instinctive, but more up to date on the cultural debate of his time than we could expect. It shows the artist’s knowledge and interests through two sections designed to analyze the links between the intellectual dimension and the painter’s artistic production: the first will examine Van Gogh’s passion for books, while the second will tell the story of Van Gogh’s fascination for Japan, through a magnificent collection of prints. Around 40 of the works on display are from the Museum Kröller-Müller of Otterlo, including incredible masterpieces, such as the studies for heads and figures for The Potato Eaters, drawings of sowers and gleaners from the Dutch period, and other masterpieces from the Paris and Arles periods. 

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Rodin e la danza  


25 OCTOBER 2023 – 10 MARCH 2024  

Rodin e la danza describes the fascination and strong creative imprinting that dance had on the artistic genius of Auguste Rodin.  The exhibition presents a studio based on the encounters with famous dancers of the early 20th century – Loïe Fuller, Isadora Duncan, Vaslav Nijinski, and Adorée Villany, present in the exhibition thanks to films and documentaries – but also on the discovery of Cambodian art, and of great fashion in Paris at that time.  Designs and sculptures from the Musée Rodin, including some precious terracotta dancers, will therefore interact with prints, statuettes, musical instruments, and dolls from Southeast Asia, while a selection of videos will show how contemporary choreographers have been inspired by the artist’s work. The constant interaction between Rodin’s sculptures and the multimedia and digital system, as well as the immersive installation, results in a continuous play of visual and symbolic cross-references. 

Una collezione inattesa. Viaggio nel contemporaneo tra pittura e scultura

Gallerie d’Italia  

26 MAY 2023 – 22 OCTOBER 2023 

Una collezione inattesa. Viaggio nel contemporaneo tra pittura e scultura is a temporary exhibition focusing on contemporary Italian and international art. It explores the dialogue between sculptural research of 20th-century exponents and post-World War II painting.  

The exhibition features three great 20th-century artists – Arturo Martini, Marino Marini, and Giacomo Manzù – with seldom exhibited works together, which aim to represent the foundations of Italian sculpture. The first rooms will feature an unprecedented moment with a fictile corpus by Fausto Melotti, while a space fully dedicated to Lucio Fontana will relate to the idea of Spatialism.  The exhibition also includes emblematic artists like Sol LeWitt, Piero Manzoni, Alberto Burri, Robert Ryman, Carla Accardi, Giulio Turcato, Antonio Sanfilippo, and Corrado Cagli. 

Morandi. 1890-1964 

Palazzo Reale 

05 OCTOBER 2023 – 04 FEBRUARY 2024 

Morandi 1890-1964 presents itself as the most comprehensive exhibition dedicated to the Bolognese painter in recent decades. Morandi’s preferred themes – dead nature, landscape, and flowers – will cross the different techniques practiced by him in an exhibition which features 34 sections with 120 works narrating the various phases in the Maestro’s art. It follows a chronological order with targeted and unprecedented comparisons with other artists, documenting Morandi’s stylistic evolution and modus operandi.  

Goya. La Ribellione della ragione 

Palazzo Reale 

31 OCTOBER 2023 – 3 MARCH 2024 

Palazzo Reale will host Francisco Goya’s visionary modern art with the exhibition Goya. La Ribellione della ragione, which will bring to Milan about 70 works of the great Spanish painter.  

Goya’s artistic career developed over a crucial historical period characterized by epochal events as well as political, social, and ideological changes. He lived through the end of the Ancien Régime, Enlightenment, French Revolution, Napoleonic wars, and Absolutist Restoration. His paintings reflected this turbulent era, showcasing a painting revolution entwined with historical complexity. The seven thematic sections of the exhibition will allow to discover how the artist transformed painting into a revolutionary language, breaking off with the established art’s rules. 

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Museo del Design Italiano 

Triennale Milano  


Photo: Agnese Bedini

The Museo del Design Italiano commemorates the 100th anniversary of Triennale Milano’s with a newly curated itinerary that begins from the institution’s foundation in 1923 and continues through the development of technological, material, and social research that changed the identity and aesthetics of Italian design.  The exhibition path explores Italian design history through archival documents, historical photos, graphic projects of prominent authors, and thematic installations that host designs and reproductions of interiors, such as the bathroom of Antonia Campi, the office with the Elea of Ettore Sottsass and the studio of Walter Ballmer. A journey that aims to explore the cultural changes that have involved Milan and Italy in the last century. 

Among the new features is the Design Platform: a space intended to host temporary exhibits with a focus on contemporary design. Starting from October 6th, Tensione e leggerezza, an exhibition dedicated to Alberto Meda, will address his poetry. The exhibit will develop around the constant search for lightness, both visual and constructive, the attention to technology conceived as a source of suggestions and solutions, and the concept of comfort. 

Wes Anderson. Asteroid City: Exhibition  

Fondazione Prada  

23 SEPTEMBER 2023 – 7 JANUARY 2024 

The exhibition Wes Anderson – Asteroid City: Exhibition is organized by Fondazione Prada in partnership with Universal Pictures International Italy on the occasion of the Italian theatrical release of Wes Anderson’s newest film.  

The project will include a selection of authentic sets, props, miniatures, costumes, and artwork featured in this movie. The immersive installations will transport audiences into Anderson’s imaginative realm of his eleventh feature film, which takes place in 1955 in a fictional American desert town. It narrates the story of a convention of young astronomers and space cadets, which brings together students and parents, who will encounter strange occurrences that will change the world.  

CINA – La nuova frontiera dell’Arte 

Fabbrica del Vapore  

24 JUNE 2023 – 08 OCTOBER 2023 

Photo: Luo Zhiyi
Photo: Luo Zhiyi

The unexpected advent of modern Chinese art is probably one of the most intriguing artistic occurrences between the twentieth and twenty-first century. 

The key moment in the rising prominence of Chinese art on the global stage was in the early 1980s, following a protest carried out by young Chinese artists, among whom were artists like Xiao Lu and Song Yon Ping. Following the events of the 1980s, the presence of Chinese art unavoidably increased, and many artists rapidly turned their eyes to the West. Above all, extending a type of Pop Art known as Cynical Realism which emphasizes criticism of the political elite of the time while also irrigating the degradation of behaviors in a growing consumerist society. 

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The exhibition Cina – La nuova frontiera dell’Arte is divided into six sections to chart the growth of Chinese art, and it deeply addresses the current second generation of Chinese pop-artists, such as Ma Han, Xin Haizhou, Zhang Hongmei, and Xu Deqi, and sought-after masters such as Yin Kun and Xing Jun Qin. 


This attempt to summarize what will happen in the artistic-cultural landscape in this Milanese autumn is an invitation for everyone to spend an hour, a day, or a weekend strolling through exhibitions, exhibits, and museums; to get lost in the beauty and to rediscover ourselves through Art and the new season that surrounds us. 

Author profile

Law student. Easily fascinated by faces & places and their own unique stories. A very passionate person who still believes in love, emotions & destiny. Keen on Contemporary Arts and cultural phenomena that shape our everyday life.

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