Here we are again, with yet another international art fair canceled for 2020. Artissima, the contemporary art fair of Turin and the most important art fair in Italy, just announced the cancellation of their 27th edition last week. It will of course take place online, surprise surprise, and they will launch a platform with artworks, presentations, podcasts, and other content. But let’s be honest, it is not the same and we are a little bit sick of these online presentations! 

There might still be hope though, as the fair staff has put out an announcement about a “secret project” that will be on display in Turin starting November 2020. Plus there are a couple of very interesting collateral fairs, whose cancellation is yet to be announced. Fingers crossed, they will be held despite the global pandemic! 

That being said, if you were planning to visit Torino for Artissima, don’t change your plans! 
Beyond the art fair, Torino is not only an amazing city, but it also has some fantastic collections to discover. 
For those who don’t know, Torino is in the north-west part of Italy, halfway between Milan and France. It is a very charming city, the first capital city of Italy back in the 19th century, and one of the most important industrial hubs in the country. 
Over the years, thanks to many patrons and collectors living and working in Turin, the city has become a flourishing market for contemporary art, with a cool art scene and some amazing museums. 

But without any further ado, here are the three best places to see contemporary art in Turin beyond the art fairs. 

Turin Contemporary Art - Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo

1 – Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo

Founded in 1995, it is a private foundation whose main aim is to promote contemporary art. The foundation mainly works with young and emerging artists, providing them with an amazing platform to show their works and helping art lovers and collectors discovering new talents. 

The foundation occupies a former industrial building, which was restored and finally opened to the public in 2002. They also have a second location, Palazzo Re Rebaudengo, a magnificent 18th-century palace located in Guarene d’Alba, about one hour south of Torino. 

The foundation promotes contemporary art through a number of events and initiatives. They not only have workshops and lectures, but they also have lessons for adults, activities for children, they host a residency program for young curators and work closely with artists, not just buying but also commissioning works. Definitely a place to visit, not just for the well-curated exhibitions, but for the overall impressive number of different activities offered. 

Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo
Via Modane, 16 – 10141 Torino
Open Thursday 20 – 23, Friday-Sunday 12 – 19
Tickets 7€ – 5€

Turin Contemporary Art - GAM

2 – GAM – Galleria di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea

This is a more traditional museum, and definitely a must-see in Torino. The first nucleus of the collection dates back to the 1890s. At the time, the city was the first in Italy to start a modern art collection, gathering pieces from the XIX century. Nowadays, it comprises over 45.000 pieces from the XIX and XX centuries. The museum displays its collection in a series of theme-based rooms, but it also hosts interesting temporary exhibitions, most of which dedicated to contemporary art. Here you can dive into the classic Italian modern Art, with beautiful works by Fattori, de Pisis, or Morandi among others, as well as international artists, like Rodin, Paul Klee, Picabia, or Max Ernst. But they also have a good collection of Italian contemporary masters, like Michelangelo Pistoletto, Alighiero Boetti, and Giulio Paolini.

GAM Torino – Galleria di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea
Via Magenta, 31 – 10128 Torino
Open Thursday – Friday 12 – 19, Saturday – Sunday 10- 19
Tickets 10€ – 8€

3 – Castello di Rivoli 

Lastly, we cannot forget the official museum of contemporary art of Turin. Castello di Rivoli is, in fact, a castle that was turned into a museum in 1984 and hosts the contemporary art collection of the city. 

The history of this castle-turned-museum is incredible in itself. It was first built in the 10th century and served as a castle, prison, and public building for centuries, undergoing a series of renovations and extensions, until it was severely damaged during the Second World War. In 1977 it was included among the UNESCO Heritage Sites and later turned into a museum, one of the first in Italy dedicated to contemporary art. 

The museum has a strong bond with the history, the architecture, and the preexisting artworks hosted inside the castle, and artists are often asked to provide site-specific works. They have a permanent collection and also host temporary exhibitions and events. Castello di Rivoli is one of the most important institutions for contemporary art not only in Turin but in Italy in general. Over the years they have innovated and launched new ways of experiencing and displaying contemporary art in Italy, setting important precedents for exhibitions and museums. 

The museum is not located in the center of Turin, but it can be easily reached with public transport or a shuttle bus, that only operates on weekends though. You can easily spend a day there, and pair the visit with the Michelin starred restaurant Combal.Zero, located in the castle just steps away from the museum.

Turin Contemporary Art - Castello di Rivoli

Castello di Rivoli – Museo d’Arte Contemporanea
Piazza Mafalda di Savoia, Rivoli Torino
Open Thursday 10 – 17, Friday-Sunday 10 – 19
Tickets 8,50€ – 6,50€

Did you like this article? Would you like to explore other Italian destinations?
Try this article on Milan, or this itinerary in Tuscany.

Cover image by Massimiliano Morosinotto on Unsplash