THE MOST talked about artwork at Art Basel Miami 2019

Comedian, by Maurizio Cattelan, Sold for $120,000 before the price was raised to $150,000.

Even my brother who has no interest in art emailed me to tell me about the banana. Is this the equivalent of the taxi driver telling you what stock to buy? Is the game up for the art world rise? ( If you are interested pull up my blog and read AND THIS IS HOW THE ART BUBBLE ENDED June 1, 2015. The most staggering price at Sotheby’s for a cartoon of the Simpsons: $14.7 million dollars; a pure rip off! If he didn’t put the x’s for eyes could he have been sued?


KAWS, The Kaws Album, 2005 sold by Sotheby’s for $14.8 million.


(also known as tackiness or bad taste)


Contrary to popular belief there is no advantage, on a return or risk-adjusted ratio basis, on buying expensive art. The best performing price point consists of works purchased for less than $50,000. Liquid artists, those who have at least seven repeat auction sales per year, have the best return performance. According to the data, the longer an individual work of art is in a collection, the lower its risk. “Works held over 25 to 50 years have the second and third highest average return and the lowest two levels of risk per unit of return.” (Taken from Michael Moses article on Artist Liquidity and Financial Performance under ARTBnk)


(L-R) Eve Sussman’s “89 Seconds to Alcazar”; The pixel I bought “Atom 340” (tiny square in middle); Pixelation of the video.

I bought one pixel- “Atom 340” from 2000 pixels that were put together to make the video “89 seconds at Alcazar.” A start up called from Brooklyn has launched art that uses blockchain to “tokenize” pieces. This particular piece is a video that was created by Eve Sussman and was premiered at the 2004 Whitney Biennial. It already exists, and even owned; how then could I own a pixel or atom of this video and for what purpose? The idea is that by selling each pixel on the blockchain, one can create a community that can own this piece of art and collaborate with other owners to arrange a screening of the film. I can book a date to show the whole video for 24 hours by borrowing tokens from the other collectors and interact with them. If you would like to know more keep reading here.

I wish all of you a  Happy 2020!!

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After all the writing about the exhibition in Como here is our video on it. Give a few minutes to watch it. It is highly informative and a beautiful video covering a magical show.

Regards, Roberta Gonella

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You can use a church to exhibit very contemporary art works with big success!

I don’t know about you, but most of the shows lately leave me uninspired. Works of art on white walls in big white rooms leaves me bored and tired. The fashion of our times; It must be white, it must be a big cavernous room and cement floors and that’s it. Well, maybe people should start thinking about more interesting spaces to show works of art.

My story does not begin here, but it does take inspiration from that observation along the way. About two years ago, sitting al fresco during lunch on a beautiful day, I realized no one was talking to each other; everyone staring at their phones. All of a sudden, the normal contact between humans was gone and no one was really connecting with each other, In addition, what is with all these surveillance cameras everywhere? Not good! As it happens, that same day, I saw Duvier Del Dago’s installation work in a gallery in Zurich. There were Adam and Eve lying silently being observed by drones. “Adam and Eve under watch”! Inspiration hit! INTERFERENCE. We are all now being watched by drones on highways and with mapping; watching us in our instant superficial connectivity on the internet with social apps which interfere more and more with ads and suggestions tailored for us. It is becoming our new normal. Food for thought!

I visited a de-consecrated church in Como (hearkening back to the place where people would all get together and connect to one another “the old fashioned way”). Now, where once the Church watched over everyone now technology does the same. Here is where I truly believe we are all connected: by pure twist of fate, my future production organizer was there and asked me if I wanted to make a show there and use the Church’s space inside… fate intervened as two minutes later, he wouldn’t have been there and our story would not be the same. When you are on the right path things fall into place. Within a short time, my associate Delphine DeSoutter and I came up with deep thinking artists who were already working on this theme. I always tell people if you keep working on a project and it doesn’t flow; drop it, or, as the hippies use to say: go with the flow.

(L-R) Nicholas Berdysheff, Fabrizio Bellanca, Hongtao Zhou,
Duvier del Dago, Sheila Elias, Julio Figueroa Beltran

One idea after another took over, and everything lined up. They don’t teach this in Curating schools, but important shows come from deep in one’s mind and then you know somehow how it should look. My vision exhibiting in this space came to me: the church would be lit as twilight; cover the windows and hang black curtains at the entrance to change the experience and cutting off the bright lights of the outside world. Like a child you must push aside curtains at the entrance and have the wonders inside revealed to you while a melodic soundtrack of human and technological sounds fill the air. You have now slipped into another world slowing you down to really look at the works of art. One important secret I learned and will share with you is this one: the art world uses all the same lighting…but there is another form of lighting- theatrical lighting. It is used for the theater… all those wonderful effects they use to help make a story evoke emotions and add dramatic effects. Why hasn’t anybody used them before in exhibitions? I was not sure, so I did. I used them for my show; the frame of the paintings glowed around the edges. Yes! Glowed! People kept looking to see if they were back lit. No they weren’t. There weren’t any tapes or strings of lights at the edges either. My secret of course, were the most talented Italian lighting technicians. This makes all the difference. Below in my photos, you will see that I took a photo of the lighting without the paintings. Quite beautiful! To end this, I will say one thing that you hear from no one. It is not enough to have a tech work that is interesting or a painting well-painted, you also need the ability to create beauty and wonder in your work and that is very very hard to do. Very few artists throughout history have been able to do that.

Entrance to the Church
Inside of the church with the art and the lighting. Lighting by: CD’C illuminotècnica

Everything that I have mentioned here led up to a very captivating show… for more information:

“Interference” was held at the Church San Pietro in Atrio in Como, Italy
July to August 2019


Hongtao Zho, Duvier Del Dago, Julio Figueroa Beltran, Nicholas Berdysheff, Fabrizio Bellanca, Sheila Elias, Andres & Luis Levin – Soundscape

Special thanks: the City of Como for the use of their church;

ArteMorfosis  Galeria for their collaboration;

Paolo Coduri – CD’C illuminotècnica 

We would also like to thank the over 8,000 visitors who visited our show and came back a second and third time.We thank the artists that through the ages painted the magnificent ceiling of the Church. We hope they were looking down enjoying our show…!

*We will be putting on our video of the show in the next few weeks and we will notify you when it is on.

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Opening days of “Interference”

The VIP vernissage on Thursday, 11 July 2019 was a big success as was the public opening on Friday, 12 July. There were over 2,000 visitors to the exhibition and thirty newspaper articles published on it in the first two opening days. See below for photos from the VIP opening!

a8a7cc68-3c7f-4590-97d9-59b7c25b117bRoberta Gonella with all of the artists and co-curator Delphine Desoutter at the opening VIP reception.


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Preparing and Installing for “Interference” in Como

This is how a show is built: intense collaboration with artists––a community. What a wonderful experience installing the “Interference” show with the artists. What a whirlwind, it’s hard to believe how quickly everything came together after months of hard work!

IMG_4819Roberta Gonella (center) with artists Duvier Del Dago, Sheila Elias, Hongtao Zhou, and co-curator Delphine Desoutter.

66595996_2915322798494091_2768375712426491904_nDuvier Del Dago with Sheila Elias.

4477dd1b-50c6-4085-aa96-6bc806f9fbb9View of the church interior, installation in progress.


49910487-7288-4649-a4ea-e382f3fff9d4Installation process of artist Hongtao Zhou’s work.

66106527_2915322981827406_8095203450976993280_nArtists Julio Figueroa Beltran and Sheila Elias with curator Roberta Gonella.


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Interference opens in a month!

Just one month to go until “Interference” opens! Join us in Como, Italy on July 12 for the vernissage; the exhibition will be up through August 4.

From the press release:

“The Interference of modern technology brings up ethical and moral implications regarding the infringement of the privacy of our human sphere. Few artists have confronted this through their art. These 7 international artists were invited to invest the space of the deconsecrated church of San Pietro in Atrio, in Como and present their works in different mediums on the the interference of modern technology in our lives. Drones, facebook, apple i-phones, surveillance, wind solar power farms. Are they a welcome presence or just interfering in our life?”


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Save the Date: Visionary Art Trends heads to Como!


Dear art lovers,

I will  be making a magical, inspiring exhibition with the City of Como and I hope that some of you can come to the opening. The artists will be there, and myself and my wonderful team will be there to greet you. The theme that I’ve chosen is “interference,” which was on my mind after having a nice lunch in the alps when a little drone was hovering over us and made me realize surveillance was everywhere. Our technology is breaking down our privacy and human connections to each other. I happened to be in Como and I went into this Church which was now used for exhibitions and I thought of a few artists who would fit perfectly  within this space. The Church, which for hundreds of years kept humanity gathered together, was now being replaced by Facebook and a virtual reality of false friends. Very few artists are thinking about this but these deep thinking artists are. I will be posting some thoughts and interviews with them leading up to the exhibition. If you have never been to Como it is the best of Italy: chic , beautiful surroundings, and food.

Ciao! Roberta

Follow Visionary Art Trends on Facebook, Instagram (@robertagonella), and Twitter (@robertagonella1) for updates and exclusive updates on the exhibition!

Email with questions, inquiries, or words of encouragement!


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AICAN, GAN, Cryptopunks

A press release sent to journalists by Obvious earlier this year

…. are you ready for the next revolution in art?

Works by these coders/artists are out there for everyone to see!

These are the artists and coders who are using the blockchain and two upgraded and very different algorithms to create art. Two of the revolutionaries in are AICAN and the other is GAN used by the Obvious Group.

OBVIous is a Paris-based collective who jumped over everything and made Art History. Their canvas Edmond de Belamy, from La Famille de Belamy (2018)  was auctioned off at Christie’s. The estimation was $7000.00 dollars and it sold for $432,000.00 Dollars. Yes… you read that right.

Edmond de Belamy, from La Famille de Belamy (2018) by Obvious using GANS

What happened??

What happened was that artists have been using Artificial Intelligence to create art for the last 50 years but in 2014 Ian Goodfellow came up with the concept of dueling networks and GANS are now a cornerstone of contemporary machine learning. In other words, they got smarter. I could go into much more detail but I suggest you look up some of the works and read up about them.

The other contender who developed a complex algorithm called AICAN was developed by Ahmed Elgammal professor of computer science at Rutgers University. His algorithm draws from art historical knowledge with a mandate to create novel artworks. I ran into him at their booth at Scope in Miami Beach during Art Basel where an assortment of the art could be seen. Each artwork AICAN makes is an answer to the question: “If we teach a machine how to recognize art and styles of art, and then program it to create new images that follow the aesthetics it learned, while deviating from established styles, what would it create?” Prices for the artworks were between $16,000.00-to $25,000.00. At the booth.

The other notable mentions are the artists creating blockchain art, from bitcoin graffiti to more sophisticated artworks such as The Last Bitcoin Supper which sold for nearly $3,000.00 on ebay in 2014. Here the artists are taking the authentication of their art to a whole new level as they not only sell you the art but the digital data that comprises their piece. One artist very creatively and nostalgically showcases the blockchain art in print while adding a waxed stamped envelope next to it containing the digital files that one owns once the painting is bought. Clever and romantic.

John Watkinson’s Cryptopunks #1819, #207, #269, #3122, #5127, #6347, #6675, #722, #728, #872, #8773 (2018)

Well, it’s early days in this movement and it is what happens when we bring in artificial intelligence to complement art…like using artificial intelligence to design a better car. What strikes me first is that it is quite interesting when it deals with the human forms or landscapes- an other-worldliness comes out..why did the machine’s algorithm pick the eyes out as important etc. and what does it leave out?… Did the machines decide just to make modern lines and blots..?  Here’s what I think: the machines will get better and we will somehow be forced to think differently. Exciting times ahead…      


(L-R) Anna Ridler, Untitled (from the Second training set), from the series “Fall of the House of Usher,” 2018; Unity Rising by AICAN feautred at the Scope show in Miami; John Watkinson Cryptopunks #722 with digital files included.


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How to be successful as a woman artist

I thought long and hard about how to make it in a man’s world of art. So I decided to go through history and find a woman artist who really made it. Specifically, she had to be commercially successful, feted by the society and approved by the institutions of the time, so… I had to go back to the time of the French Revolution

1755 …  Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun was the real thing. She was one of the most successful and prolific portrait painters of all time. Precociously talented, one could see it as early as 6 years old. She started with a loving family behind her. Not allowed in the academic schools or attend life drawing classes as a woman she copied Rubens, Rembrandts and Van Dycks which her family introduced to her early on. She was so good at painting portraits she started to earn a great deal of money painting the grand ladies of the court starting at 16 years old (!) and helped to support her family.

In her lifetime she executed over 900 works which spanned from 1755 -1842. These works included history paintings, as well as landscapes. The majority were beautifully colored, deftly rendered, idealized likenesses of the most prominent aristocrats of her time.  Oh, and did I mention she was absolutely beautiful?

At 20 years old she and her family moved into what she thought was a Mr. Lebruns mansion and after 6 months he proposed marriage to her and she accepted. He was not a bad man but squandered all her fortune and played around a lot. It was not till after the French Revolution that she was allowed to divorce him and start to keep her commissions. Her talent leads her to paint  Queen Marie-Antoinette with her children and it was exhibited in the Salon of 1788. It was a huge success and met with universal acclaim. This leads her to paint all the Royal family. She actually painted 30 portraits of the Queen and her family and in 1786 she painted Mm du Barry.

In 1787 she exhibited at the Salon a self-portrait with her daughter Julie showing herself smiling and open-mouthed which was in direct contradiction of traditional painting. Then in May 1783, she was received as a member of the Academie Royal. She was extremely productive, at least 3 settings in a day, then going on to great parties with great poets artists and musicians at night. She herself threw wonderful parties with great style.  Women reigned before the revolution and strangely after the French Revolution, were all dethroned and the women who were members of the Salon were also kicked out at that time.

It helps to be in the right moment in history when women are admired and accepted. Are we living in one now……maybe? Besides being beautiful she was full of wit, grace, and charm, all qualities appreciated in the Paris of the Ancient Regime and was a loving mother. If you are interested in reading more about her life,  there are several books written about her but I had it in my mind: what could women artists learn from her, who had it all even in a world run by men?

So here goes:

  1. Beauty always helps. Look as beautiful as you can. The idea of the poor woman artist in jeans, no make up,…well really……We are deeply wired for beauty. It is Nature’s way to attract a partner
  2. Be brave, you must promote yourself. Go outside your circle, go to fairs talk to people and collectors. Men do it all the time. Get over that it is being pushy, women don’t do that… all the men artists are out there going to parties to art events chatting to collectors, writers etc…..out you go…
  3. Make some events in your studio, very good wine and conversation with poets, musicians… try to create a small salon. It has always helped historically speaking.
  4. People are jealous so you might have to become famous somewhere else. Hockney finally went to America where the American public appreciated him. Elizabeth had to run away from Paris during the French Revolution and traveled all over Europe where she was feted and given awards, in Italy, Russia. She painted the grand Aristocratic families wherever she was. One of the reasons she was given place in their Artist Organizations is the officials knew she would be moving on. Not living there permanently helped.
  5. OK here’s the real answer.  She was a genius at painting. Her immensely seductive appeal was due to a highly individual style she developed I would say by 20. Her sensuous, brilliant and creamy coloristic use of pigments was used in an informal and spontaneous. way. She posed her subjects as if they were in motion and you caught them sometimes in a romantic setting sometimes austere.
  6. OK, she had an uncanny ability to represent her aristocratic subjects as unpretentious, thoughtful people in informal attire caught in moments of unguarded introspection. Great image making for very spoiled people I would say. But it means what you paint or sculpt will enhance your client’s image whatever it is. Are they bankers, businessmen… what do they want to show the world.
  7. At the end like Madame Le Brun be serious and original. If you’ve found your style stick to it. There is always a special period where the works are the strongest. Your work should be identifiable in any medium.
  8. Even in the eighteenth-century men who made great fortunes were eager to invest in bankable works of art. So look for the best gallery to show you. The best Museum to show you.
  9. From the beginning of your career try to be sold at auction. That is for today’s world the most important of all…I can not tell you how important that is. Luckily there are auction houses worldwide now.
  10. It is still a man’s world so it will not hurt if your husband is a dealer or curator,  collector or somehow connected to the world of art. Not an artist- too much competition and jealousy between you.
  11. And last but equally important be intuitively attuned to the complex cultural currents of your time. Try to be deep thinking, step out of the noise. Where is our world now? Don’t be afraid to disrupt. Use what is available today, 3D printing, digital, new materials, The great artists were well versed in many fields, engineering, astronomy etc…..

Well, I hope this has helped. Feel free to email me your thoughts and All the Best.

Screen Shot 2018-10-01 at 7.08.23 PM


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Well, this work by Keymi, a french artist out of the Urban Art movement, known worldwide for his Pin Up series out of the 50s woke me up.
After many art fairs in Miami and living in Miami off and on I realized no artist from Miami has painted the real Miami. Which to me is first the sky.
The sky ripped with pink streaks, turquoise shots in the blue, cotton candy clouds…glorious..
Well the Latin artists bring their brown palate of colours and the Americans following the fashions of now, paint in blacks and grey. But we need this palate. The sky is not the same everywhere and the light of Paris has always invigorated me. We live in grey times, this Pin Up series wakes us up, Keymi (Stephan Raymond) is in love with this palette of colour. And in love with the spirit of the 50s, he loves these women I asked him to paint some men for this series but he said no I just like painting the women… god bless his love of women … And the time he paints had these colours in the cars, the clothes, an innocent time before Global Warming thoughts. And his technique ah, well it came out of his search how to use decoupage and Styrofoam with a synthetic resin, together and he made it his own and the puzzles somehow worked with these techniques. But for you and me, who can not pass someone working on a puzzle without trying to fit the pieces and try to help  It explores the thought. We don’t always get the good pieces and even though you try to push it in to fit the whole puzzle you have to let go and add a bad piece sometime.
Admit it, you’ve done that. Life gives us puzzle pieces good and bad and that’s our life, trying to make sense out of what we’ve been given.
Spray epoxy resin on polystyrene 147 x 128 cm.
Her name is Kitty and where is that thunderbird
Showing at FOXX Galerie Ramistrasse 33, Zurich Showing till April 7th.

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