The Best Free Contemporary Art this Fall

As the galleries reopen their doors after a tranquil August, the most exciting period of the art world begins. Galleries across the world are preparing for the busy Autumn schedule, filled with biennales, art fairs and exhibitions. Follow this guide to explore the best of Rome’s free contemporary art exhibitions.

Locarn O’Neill

Betty Woodman
October – November 2017
Vicolo Dei Catinari, 3 (Campo de’Fiori)
Opening hours: Tues – Sat, 11am – 7 pm

Locarn Oneill

Locarn O’Neill Gallery will be showing the world renowned American artist Betty Woodman. Woodman began her professional career in the 1950s and has since reached international acclaim as a contemporary ceramic artists. Woodman uses clay to create elaborately decorated sculptures, which are undecidedly functional and ornamental. The wide range of colours and patterns reflect the artists extensive traveling and inspiration from different cultures. Woodman has no reservations about combing artistic styles; “I can mix the motifs of a classic Greek vase on one side of a triptych with the details of a Japanese print on the other, all conveyed with a palette based in the hues of a recollected Hindu temple”. Woodman has previously exhibited at L’Orcan O’Neil, alongside lifetime friend and artist Kiki Smith, she has also been shown in the American Academy in Rome, and in a number of Italian cities, including Florence, Faenza and Milan.


Davide Balula, Iron Levels
21 September – 18 November
Via Francesco Crispi, 16 (Piazza Barberini)
Opening hours: Mon – Fri 10am – 7pm


Conceptual artist Davide Balula has created site specific pieces for his first solo show at Gagosian’s gallery in Rome. This tremendously exciting exhibition will take the visitor on a sensory experience that is both intellectually aware and critically engaged with some of the most complex issues of our era. Upon entering the gallery, visitors must pass through a sculptural metal detector. A symbol of intrusion and verification, this work represents the suspicion or potential threat imposed on everyday metal objects. Balula explores the relationship between items such as cell phones, coins and keys, with the human body, which dualistically compares the outside world with the inner gallery space. In the oval-shape of the main exhibition space, Balula has curated his Burnt Paintings series. These pieces have been juxtaposed to create a positive and negative relationship, much like photography or printing making.


Franco Guerzoni, Per un buon uso dello rovine
Opening 14 September, 7-9 pm
Via Sforza Cesarini, 43 (Corso Vittorio Emanuele)
Opening hours: Tues – Sat, 1pm – 7pm,

Franco Guerzoni

Franco Guerzoni is a well known Italian artist, who lived and worked in Modena, alongside renowned artists such as Claudio Parmiggiani. His most recent works explore the archaeological world, both figuratively and literally investigating layers. Guerzoni’s technique of superimposing and mixing different materials on a large surface, is a response to his fascination of the loss seen in antiques and resisting the temptation to reconstruct them. The result is beautifully destroyed works, that are aesthetic and visually tranquil. This exhibition will be interesting, as it will showcase a blue chip artist in a small private gallery space. Guerzoni had a personal hall at the Venice Biennale in 1990 and has been been commissioned by numerous institutions, including the Institute of Francese in Bologna.


Bedwyr Williams, Huuuuuuge Thanks!
16 September – 11 November
Via dei Salumi, 53 (Trastevere)
Opening hours: Mon – Fri, 1pm – 7pm

Bedwyr Williams

World renowned artist Bedwyr Williams is having his first solo show at Frutta gallery in Rome. Williams is a multimedia, performance and text artist, who explores the friction between the mundane and the deadly serious aspects of everyday life. His work is often satirical and questionably comical, taking his audience on an almost surreal visual journey. Williams has international acclaim, having been showcased all over the world. He was the artist in residence at the 2005 Venice Bienniale and has since been commissioned by the Welsh Government and Saatchi in London. The title of his show at Frutta is Huuuuuge Thanks!, which, as his artistic sense of humor has prevailed, will leave the curators with a challenge.

Z2O Sara Zanin Gallery

Group show, Silently close are some particles
20 September – 11 November
Via della Vetrina, 21 (Piazza Navona)
Opening hours: Mon – Fri, 1pm – 7pm

Sara Zanin Gallery

Curated by the Italian art critic Marinella Paderni, this exhibition explores the mysterious and inexplicable changes that occur amongst humans and nature. Silvia Camporesi is a renowned Italian photographer, her most famous series entitled “Atlas Italia”, focused on photographing decaying cities and villages across Italy. This solo show opened in Luxembourg in 2015, and consequently traveled to India and Italy. Camporesi has shown at z2o before, however, this show will explore a different photographic style. The title for her photograph for this exhibition is called Otto Lilienthal, after the German engineer and inventor who was the first man to successfully fly a glider. Letizia Cariello is an Italian artist, who uses codes and symbols to explore the relationship between internal and external spaces. Jakub Woynarowsk is the third artist in this group and compliments both their style and concepts. Woynarowsk is fascinated by conspiracy theories, in particular the course of art history. He researches archives extensively to disprove art historical movements, such as the ‘avant-garde’ style emerging hundreds of years prior.

Fondazione Pastificio Cerere

Group show, Someone I Have Been Observing For Some Time
21 September – 14 October
Via degli Ausoni, 7 (Termini)
Opening hours: Mon – Fri, 3pm – 7pm; Sat, 4pm – 8pm

Fondazione Pastificio Cerere

The Fonazione Pastifico Cerere is in collaboration with the Polish Institute of Rome to showcase a group show with four Polish artists; Alicja Bielawska, Cezary Poniatowski, Dominik Ritszel and Jakub Woynarowski. Alicjia Bielwaska explores minimalism and weightlessness by using delicate materials and light colours. This concept is seen in Cezary Poniatowski’s work, which has been described as a visual “shortcut”, with reduced expressions and abstract application. However, the colours he uses couldn’t be more different: dark monochrome tones of grey and black acrylic. Ritszel uses an entirely different medium: film and video art. His work has been show all over the world. Lastly, Woynarowski, who is also showing at z2o Sara Zanin Gallery, adds a broader conceptual aspect to this group show . Exploring conspiracy theories in art history, this artist adds research and history to his moncochrome graphics. This multi-media exhibition will be a chance to explore Poland’s most exciting young talent.

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