Gianfranco Gorgoni

- Selected Works
- Biography

Born in Rome (1941) originally from Abruzzo, Gianfranco moved to Milan and after a trip to London in 1965, he devoted himself entirely to photography. After a year as an assistant, he opened a studio in Porta Ticinese, Milan. On October 28, 1968, attracted by the beauty of America, he embarked on a freighter ship in exchange for a photo essay of life on board. After 14 days at sea, he landed in New York and started photographing the representations of the Open and the Living Theatre. It was with these pictures, he began his collaboration with the Italian weekly, L’Espresso.

In 1969 in an old Pontiac bought for $99.00 (US), he traveled across America coast-to-coast photographing Hippy communes. On the way back he decided to pass by Woodstock to attend what would become the world’s most famous rock concert in history. Reflecting on achievements now, Photographing the massive event and ultimately reaching the stage where, at dawn, Jimi Hendrix would play the American anthem, are still vivid memories. Recovered, and back in New York, the photos sold to Twen, a German monthly magazine, as well as to L’Espresso, which commissioned him another photostory on New York art’s scene. With the hopes that the legendary art dealer, Leo Castelli would put him in contact with all the artists of his gallery. Just where Gianfranco needed to be. Among them, some of the first greats, Andy Warhol, Rauschenberg, Johns, Lichtenstein, Oldenburg, Rosenquist and Chamberlain. As his luck continued, one evening at Max’s Kansas City, an American bar frequented by many young artists and intellectuals, he had a chance encounter with Serra, Smithson, Flavin, Morris and Carl Andre. With the support of Leo Castelli, Gianfranco began his project on the New Avantgarde, which would bring him into the American desert to photograph massive works of Land Art. The book was published in 1972 and Castelli Gallery organized his first exhibition in New York.

He soon returned to Italy, only after a short stay, he left again for South America. His adventures brought him to Chile, where he photographed the events that led to the fall of the government of Salvador Allende. Understanding the importance of this event, he did not hesitate to send the material to Time Magazine, that would later publish them.

Ready for the big leagues, Gianfranco along with other photographers, joined the Contact Agency in 1976 and began his career as an international photo-journalist. He traveled and worked for heavy weights, Times, Life, Newsweek and New York Times making Cover stories on the areas most at risk: Iran, Iraq, Nicaragua, Lebanon, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Faulkland Islands, Japan and China.

Visiting Mexico, he decided to fly to Cuba for the celebration of May 1st, in 1980. A love at first sight that led him to return to this land many times over the years. This ‘forbidden love affair’ with the country and its People, would come together in a published book titled, “Cuba Mi Amor”, 1985 with a preface written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and text by Fidel Castro.

In 2000 he returned to Bomba, the small Italian town of his family, where he decided to buy an old 18th century farmhouse. This project of restoration and love for community and family tradition is his drive to perfect his work of Art. It is here that he has established the headquarters of his foundation. He currently divides his time between Harlem, New York and Bomba, Abruzzo.

He dies 11 September 2019.

Official biobraphy

- Exhibitions
  • 2020

    Gianfranco Gorgoni: Land Art Photographs - John Hawley Olds Lagatta Gallery, Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, NV

  • 2015

    Gianfranco Gorgoni - Through The Lens - Contini Art UK, London

  • 2010

    Photology, Milano
    La polifonia del mondo Photographs 1964 - 2010 - De Primi Fine Art, Lugano

  • 2005

    Museum of Outdoor Arts, Colorado

  • 2000

    Ace Gallery, New York, NY
    Spiral Jetty. Fotografías de Gianfranco Gorgoni - Museo Tamayo, Mexico City
    Framed, Silvermine Guild Galleries, New Canaan, Connecticut

  • 1999

    The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo, Norvegia
    Arken Museum of Modern Art, Ishøj, Danimarca
    Moderna Museet, Stoccolma, Svezia

  • 1998

    Ace Gallery, New York, NY

  • 1997

    Ace Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles, CA
    Akira Ikeda Gallery, Tokyo, Japan

  • 1996

    Comune di Milano, Palazzo Reale, Milano
    Comune di Asolo, Palazzo Comunale, Asolo

  • 1995

    Fundacion Patricio, Buenos Aires, Argentina

  • 1993

    Biennale di Venezia, Venezia

  • 1989

    Penson Gallery (catalogo), New York, NY
    Galleria Civica di Modena (catalogo), Modena

  • 1988

    Fototeca de Cuba, L'Avana, Cuba
    Altered Images, Penson Gallery, New York, NY

  • 1987

    Mole Vanvitelliana (catalogo), Ancona
    Les Rencontres D'Arles, Museo di Arles, Arles, France
    Nassau County Museum of Fine Arts, Roslyn, NY

  • 1986

    Palladium, New York, NY

  • 1985

    Palazzo Comunale, Bomba
    Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, NY

  • 1984

    Fondo de Bienes Culturales, L'Avana, Cuba

  • 1982

    Casa de Las Americas (catalogo), L'Avana, Cuba

  • 1978

    Oolp, Torino

  • 1978

    San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
    Laguna Gloria Art Museum, Austin, TX
    The Clocktower, New York, NY

  • 1977

    Galleria il Cortile, Roma

  • 1976

    Galleria Trisorio, Napoli
    Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, NY
    Photowork Gallery, Fine Arts Building, New York, NY

  • 1975

    Galleria Area, Firenze

  • 1972

    Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, NY

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