Edoardo Monti, portrait.

Edoardo Monti: the Art Cowboy

Edoardo Monti is the founder of Palazzo Monti, he defines himself as a cultural agitator or rather, an art cowboy. He spoke to My Art Guides about his best tips on how to spend time in Milan between art and leisure.
by Jessica Stella
March 14, 2022
Jessica Stella
Edoardo Monti

It is difficult to define my role in the artistic field, in fact, it is a hybrid between a collector with a certain social responsibility to support and carrying out a mission with emerging talent. I am also a curator, but I think cultural agitator is how we can best define my position, or art cowboy which is a really funny term to define what I do and what I am. I move between giving direct financial support for projects or acquisitions and making sure that artists are supported across the board. I am also a consultant for artists, providing them with support on how to communicate their work and how to keep a conversation going with curators and collectors. Also, just to offer advice, always free of charge, we are launching a webinar called “Fresco” that focuses on key topics such as the economics of art, taxes, social involvement, and so on.

I am totally inspired by Leo Castelli, an Italian gallery owner who lived in New York. What I love most was his ability to break the rules and inspire a new working model in the art system.

Creating an artistic community is very important to me: at Palazzo Monti, we have hosted more than 200 artists in residence over the last five years. We host artists for a month and have the opportunity to get to know each other, first by talking about their work and their vision of art, but then we naturally become friends and continue the relationship even when the residency period is over.

Palazzo Monti. Photo credits Omar Sartor

If you ask me if I consider myself a really “Milanese”, I have to say no. I was born and raised in Bergamo, so it is rare for me to spend more than a night or two in Milan. Maybe during MIART or the Salone del Mobile I will stay in Milan for a week at most. For me Milan is more for business; many friends live in the city centre, but I spend time in the city mainly for meetings, research, visiting artists’ studios or going to galleries and museums.

Not living in Milan but going there for work allows me to have a very close and distant relationship with the city at the same time, and for me, this works perfectly.

Palazzo Monti. Photo credits Omar Sartor

In answering the question: “Tell me your favourite art spaces in Milan” I have to start with Fondazione Prada, maybe a cliché, but it is my favourite art space in Milan for what they do and what they have done by creating a new reference point for cultural foundations in Italy and abroad. Nilufar Depot is a great and interesting gallery focused on design, their collection is simply fantastic. I cannot forget Giò Marconi, Castiglioni Art Gallery and definitely Ribot.

Although what I love to do most in Milan is to visit artists’ studios. It is not that difficult to be invited to an artist’s studio, you just have to ask and do some research and the artists will be happy to welcome you to their studios.

My favourite places to have fun and meet friends are Camparino in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele for a drink and, close-by, there is Marchesi, the best place to have a coffee and dessert with a wonderful view.

For lunch I suggest Cascina Cuccagna, especially in spring or summer because they have a very nice open space and garden to relax and be with friends, and Carlo and Camilla in Segheria for dinner.

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