Lucio Fontana ‘Spatial Environment’ (1968) at El Museo del Barrio

Lucio Fontana ‘Spatial Environment’ (1968) is at El Museo del Barrio in East Harlem, Manhattan, Wednesday-Sunday, January 24 – April 14, 2019. $9

The exhibition was supposed to open on January 23, but El Museo announced a day change due to the complexity of building the installation.

Lucio Fontana

Our main article on Fontana is at Lucio Fontana, but briefly he was an Italian-Argentine who was born in Buenos Aires, raised in Milan, and worked in both countries. He wanted to blend painting, sculpture and architecture. He is the father of “Spatialism.”

His Milan studio was destroyed by Allied bombing in World War II. Seeing its complete deconstruction affected him deeply. He wanted to get out of the picture plane and he dreamed of inspiring a rebirth of humanity. This is a very Italian idea that through art we can create a renaissance of humanity, and evolve out of our worst ideas.

In the Post-War years Fontana began punching holes in and slashing his canvases. He invited viewers to see behind the canvas. He also extended the picture plane outwards by placing objects on his canvases and in the gallery context.

Watching him work is something. It’s a performance in itself that recalls Jackson Pollock’s action painting which was happening at the same time.

Being a minimalist, Fontana eventually simplified his slashes to just one which represented a door, a vehicle for change and rebirth.

You can see this at El Museo.

Lucio Fontana ‘Spatial Environment’ (1968)

In this exhibition, El Museo reconstructs the Argentine-Italian modern artist’s very last environment. ‘Spatial Environment’ (1968) represents the fullest development of his thinking. Go see how his ideas influenced performance art and take a selfie.

This exhibition is a collaboration with the Met Breuer and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. To really understand Fontana, you have to go see Lucio Fontana “On the Threshold” at these two museums.

For more exhibition information, visit

Lucio Fontana ‘Spatial Environment’ (1968) Tickets

Tickets are available at the door for $9.

El Museo del Barrio

1230 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10029
(between 104th & 105th St)
East Harlem (El Barrio), Manhattan

Wednesday-Saturday: 11am-6pm
Sunday: 12-5pm

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