30 September 2011

n.d.p. in piemonte: capella di sol lewitt, la morra

One advantage of traveling through wine regions with people who are totally uninterested in wine is that sometimes in bored desperation they will propose visiting obscure local landmarks that turn out, in the end, to be very cool indeed.

Such was the case with J's architect wife C, who on our way back from a desultory Sunday traipse through the mediocre churches of Alba at baking midday proposed visiting something called the Capella di Sol Lewitt, located on a ridge overlooking the famed Brunate vineyard between Barolo and La Morra. We weren't sure what to expect of a chapel painted by the pioneering conceptualist creator of such presumably non-devotional works as Inverted Six Towers and Isometric Projection #13.

In the end it looked for all the world like amid the strict rows of cascading cru vineyard, someone had installed a really cheery taqueria.

As ever, this gloriously pointless vineyard installation was financed by a big modern winemaking operation, Ceretto. In 1997 someone from Ceretto met British artist and wine afficionado David Tremlett, and Tremlett, who wound up painting the Capella's interior, proposed the exterior be painted by his friend Sol Lewitt. It was completed in 1999.

Whenever I hear about this sort of decorative sop to already-famous artists I immediately think of the conversations that were probably had back home in America or England.
"Next month I'm painting a chapel in Italy."  
"I adore Italy. Where in Italy?" 
"Piedmont. You must visit sometime. Very good wines. And truffles..." 
"I'm a red wine drinker."
Anyway. I'm no great fan of Ceretto's wines, but will attest to having had a hell of a time cavorting in and out of the empty echoey Capella singing a capella and making Gregorian chant noises.

Related Links:

N.D.P. in Piemonte: Osteria La Salita, Monforte d'Alba
N.D.P. in Piemonte: Solativo Vinosteria, Ivrea
N.D.P. in Piemonte: Luigi Ferrando, Ivrea

N.D.P. en Suisse: Chateau de Villa, Sierre

A trip to Rome, April 2011:
N.D.P. in Roma: Obikà
N.D.P. in Roma: Da Enzo
N.D.P. in Roma: Freni e Frizioni
N.D.P. in Roma: Roscioli Restaurant
N.D.P. in Roma: Roscioli Bakery
N.D.P. in Roma: The Jerry Thomas Project
N.D.P. in Roma: Maccheroni

A piece on the Capella di Sol Lewitt @ ArtsBlog.It
Sol Lewitt's obituary @ NYTimes
Sol Lewitt's famous 1967 essay "Paragraphs On Conceptual Art" @ DDOOSS

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