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The Mediterranean melting pot of cultures and history has made Sicily a top-notch cultural destination, where historic sites cross paths with stunning restaurants, and beautiful beaches meet cutting-edge contemporary art galleries. Our curated guide to the island’s art scene takes a look at some of the best, most innovative contemporary galleries and art spaces in Sicily, from Palermo to Modica, Catania to Trapani.
Not far from Palermo on the northern coast of the island, the small town of Bagheria is home to Drago artecontemporanea. Both a gallery and a publishing house producing illustrated books, Drago arte has placed a particular emphasis on graphic works and illustration since its opening in 1996. Devoted to the promotion of internationally renowned artists, the gallery has showcased top-tier art such as that of Fortunato Depero and Renato Guttuso. Keeping up with the high standard it has set for itself, the gallery hosts a lively program of exhibitions and events.
Drago Artecontemporanea, Via Prigione 5, Bagheria PA, Italy, +39 339 675 2646
Just a short drive away from Ragusa, Modica is a stunning town which also offers an appealing contemporary art scene. Laveronica Arte Contemporanea is one of its main spaces. Opened in 2007, the gallery has showcased works by a select group of European artists with a strong international profile. A particular focus on multimedia, video, and photographic works characterizes the gallery’s selection, which, over the last few years has brought regular exhibitions of well established artists to Modica, such as Igor Grubic, Johanna Billing, and Uriel Orlow, and young talents like Adelita Husni-Bey.
Also located in Modica, Galleria Lo Magno was founded in 2003, and has since developed its profile on the national scene by bringing some of the best contemporary Sicilian art to ArtVerona – one of the main art fairs in Italy. For the occasion, the director and curators had selected works by a group of artists representative of both the gallery’s identity and the region’s contemporary art: a cross-generational picture including master Piero Guccione alongside emerging talents like brothers Carlo and Fabio Ingrassia and Emanuele Giuffrida.
Galleria Lo Magno, Via Risorgimento 91, Modica (Ragusa), Italy, +39 0932 763165
Any artistic tour of Modica should include a visit to Dir’Arte. The gallery is located in one of the streets that make the historic center of Modica Bassa (Lower Modica), off Corso Umberto Primo. The collection includes a variety of artists from both Sicily and the rest of the country, whose works regularly fill the walls of the gallery’s spacious rooms. Dir’Arte also works as a publishing house producing catalogues for its exhibitions, which in recent years have showcased the works of Piero Zuccaro and Giuseppe Puglisi, Franco Sarnaro and the Sicilian master Piero Guccione.
A regular presence at many European art fairs, Galleria Collicaligreggi represents a selected group of national and international artists. Based in Catania on the eastern coast of Sicily, the gallery is located a short drive away from the city’s cathedral and contemporary art museum (MacS). With regular exhibitions showcasing a multifaceted collection of paintings, installations, and photographic work, the gallery seems to bring together works inspired by a sense of essentiality and attention to daily life in cases reminiscent of arte povera. Such features surface in the work of artists like Nicola Pecoraro, Thomas Kratz, Ute Müller, and Tamás Kaszás, which has been on display as part of the gallery’s program of solo exhibitions.
The exhibition space at Carta Bianca Fine Arts is dedicated to contemporary art and photography. Opened in 1997, the rich list of past events and the collection at the gallery includes huge names like Andy Warhol and Francis Bacon. The gallery often hosts exhibitions by well-established local and national artists like Enzo Rovella, Michele Cacciofera, and Marco Nereo Rotelli, and on occasions expands its horizons to explore the likes of Australian aboriginal art. Accompanied by a strong focus on top-notch photographic art, the gallery’s program of events is completed by exhibitions that range from reportage to conceptual and fashion photography, and include the works of internationally recognized artists like Carmelo Bongiorno and Daniele Dario Perra.
Galleria Carta Bianca, Via Francesco Riso 72, Catania, Italy, +39 336 806701
Leaving Catania and moving south to the town of Noto and down to Capo Passero, stop in Siracusa, where contemporary art enthusiasts will find Galleria Quadrifoglio. Established in 1974, the gallery boasts an interesting and diverse permanent collection, as well as a long history of exhibitions.
This gallery might be a relatively small space, but it has a distinct character. With a diverse program of exhibitions and events, Magazzini dell’Arte Contemporanea creates a vibrant spot for contemporary art on the western coast of Sicily. Born in 2008 out of the aspiration to involve the public in the process of creating art, the gallery has since worked to promote both local and international artists using a format that renders contemporary art more accessible to a wider audience. With its roots strongly fixed into the Sicilian territory and in its multicultural history, the gallery’s aim is to bring together a range of traditions to foster a dialogue between different artistic languages. Its rooms have hosted paintings, installations, and photographic works featuring respected names like Carla Accardi, and, more recently, international artists like Kathrin Loges, and Ela Bialkowska.