Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli
Miuccia Prada is best known for her eponymous fashion brand, but she’s been a force in the Italian art world, too, having been a longtime supporter of contemporary artists. “Artists are among the most intelligent people in the world. We want to try to learn from them where the world is going,” Miuccia Prada said in a 2015 interview with ArtMag. She tends to keep her art and fashion ventures separate, however—Prada typically does not invite artists to collaborate on their campaigns. But, the collector has said, while fashion is the primary industry in which she’s invested herself, it is art that reflects her personality. “What interests me, profoundly, are not certainties,” she has said, “but doubts, clashes, conflicts.” There is one especially playful point of crossover between Prada’s love of art and her career in the fashion world: her office contains a tube slide, designed by artist Carsten Höller, which leads from her office to the courtyard below.
This experimental spirit is reflected in the museum that Prada and her husband Patrizio Bertelli opened in 2015 in Milan. The space, designed by Rem Koolhaas, is a mixture of new buildings and preexisting old industrial warehouses that have been transformed into art spaces. The foundation’s opening exhibition, “Serial Classic,” explored the subject of Roman copies of Greek work, and shows since then have surveyed the output of artists such as Betye Saar, Jannis Kounellis, and H. C. Westermann. Opening a contemporary art gallery with a show on contemporary art would have been far too obvious for Prada and Bertelli, the collectors have said. In Bertelli’s own words, “It is my dream to do the obvious thing. I would never do it, of course. But just as a contradictory position.” In 2018, they opened a nine-story building on the foundation’s Milan campus called Torre, which hosts presentations of works from their collection of contemporary art.