By Maya Seibert
My experience curating Federico Di Gesualdo’s first art exhibition, Which Way?, was exhilarating. I am quite picky about contemporary art that I genuinely like – I don’t favor work that tries “too hard,” is quirky to be quirky, or is too derivative of the past. Federico creates art that stems from something pre-existing, as all art does, yet it exudes originally passion, and energy. I felt lucky to work with Federico not only because his art is exciting, but because he is exciting.
I believe that half of the artist truly is his persona. Federico is chaotic: he is a man of many interests, yet with a distinctive style–he is wildly funny and outgoing, yet simultaneously allusive. He holds many roles and titles: scientist, boxer, artist, amateur saxophonist, and so on. My visit to his apartment/studio was the perfect embodiment of all that Federico is. His place was an absolutely glorious mess–nothing short of what I was hoping it would be. The walls were filled with paintings, posters, photographs, postcards, etc–boxing gloves dangled from the kitchen cabinet, a typewriter lay beside the sink, works of art were scattered between bowls of cigar ash, ink, CD’s, books, paintbrushes, and various trinkets. I felt overwhelmed and exalted. In my mind I was dealing with a true artist.
“Wind Cries Mary” 50×50 cm, 2015.
Regardless of his work (which I adore) I believe that a pivotal aspect of being a great artist is that one must be a person that not everyone understands, and live in ways that most people do not. Federico’s personality, and the affirmation of his unique living style, truly made me feel like I was doing something worthwhile. As an art history major I have been jaded and disappointed by much of contemporary art (1989–present). The contemporary world is one in which I (and others) find increasingly difficult to qualify what “worthwhile” art is. This is due to the fact that through globalization the production of art that is to be considered is too vast in quantity and subject matter. In my opinion “worthwhile” art is not only visually appealing, but it creates a feeling, and is created by someone with a magnetic “celebrity” about them like Van Gogh, Pollock, and Warhol. Federico Di Gesualdo has made me believe that this type of artist still exists. Just as I have helped him bring his first art show to life, he has instilled a new life, and appreciation of certain types of art, in me.