Marco and Irene Cassina


“We like to work on a concept of gallery that goes back to the origins”

AT: How did you start engaging with the art world and how/when did you decide it could become your profession?

MC&IC: Art for our family has always been a passion and Marco and I grew up in this environment. For me art was a life choice since ever, I attended the artistic high school, graduated in painting at Brera Academy in Milano and had a Master Degree at Sotheby’s institute in London. Since then I start working in the art world. The choice to become a gallerist and open a gallery occurred when I joined the forces with my brother Marco, who studied economics and management and brought different prospective into the gallery business.


AT: What convinced you opening your own space, first in New York and then in Milan?

MC&IC: Marco and I were already living in New York, so we started our journey in New York City. When the gallery program started to grow representing mostly European artists (for the moment), we felt that a flagship gallery in Italy was needed.


AT: What are the toughest and the most fulfilling aspects of your job?

MC&IC: The tough part is when you believe in some artists and the reward takes long time. Oppositely, when you see works by your artists traveling the world and appreciated by museums and collectors it’s a great joy. Organizing a museum presentation, sharing a collective moment with people who appreciate the work done it’s an incredible feeling. We are lucky to collaborate with artists as Georg Herold, Gerold Miller, Yves Scherer and Louisa Clement, with institution such as the New Orleans Museum of Art, Stoa 169 in Polling, Triennial for Photography and New Media at Henie Onstad Kunstsenter in Norway and MARTa Herford Museum

Gerold Miller, The Monoform Show | Installation view photo Roberto Marossi | Courtesy the artist and Cassina Projects.

AT: How is managing a gallery as brother and sister?

MC&IC: It’s fun. We know each other strengths and weaknesses so we can predict the next steps and act fast. We support each other all the time, do whatever needs to be done no matter what time is it or on what jet leg you are.


AT: You have been working only with foreign artists, so far. Why this choice? How do you select the artists to collaborate with?

MC&IC: It’s not a choice. Our program is not focused within certain boundaries of nationality, age or practice. We choose an artist when we unconditionally love his/her work; it’s a matter of feeling.


AT: Your concept of gallery is far from the traditional term. What are the activities you promote and how important is ‘networking’ in your job?

MC&IC: We like to work on a concept of gallery that goes back to the origins and become a place where people like to gather and spend time. We hope that the art world will more and more experiencing the gallery space as an environment where all figures of the art world can work cohesively.

Area Caproni U8OPIA, Louisa Clement, Georg Herold | Installation view photo  Roberto Marossi | Courtesy the artists and Cassina Projects.

AT: What is your relationship with art fairs? Which art fairs you get along more with, today?

MC&IC: Art fairs are necessary to the gallery business – we concentrate on attending fewer fairs as Zona Maco, Dallas Art fair, Westbound. We dedicate a lot of energies on the presentation and promotion of the artists. Art fairs create connection that we continue to develop in the areas we want to expand. We really like Westbund in Shanghai where we had the opportunity to exhibit in November 2019: the fair has exceptional galleries selection, ideal infrastructure that helps to properly exhibit artworks and serious collectors.


AT: How would you describe the collectors of your gallery? How important are they for you?

MC&IC: Collectors are fundamental to support the artists we represent, as well as the gallery itself. Thanks to their support we keep doing research on new artists and organizing exhibitions paring young and established artists. We have different type of collectors from all over the world and its very interesting to understand and interact with them in their diversity. Age difference is so much fun! The oldest is 91 and the youngest 30. We spend a lot of time engaging young collectors, as they will be fundamental for the future of the art system.


AT: What is the role of the digital tool in what you do?

MC&IC: Nowadays is essential! Digitally you can reach the whole world regardless the pandemic.

Area Caproni U8OPIA, Louisa Clement, Georg Herold | Installation view photo  Roberto Marossi | Courtesy the artists and Cassina Projects.

AT: What do you think will be the role of the galleries, in the next future?

MC&IC: The entity of the gallery will remain as important as now. Artists are focused on the great works they make, but they need support in all other activities. Certainly the gallery model will reshape and change over time as all other industries. Probably it will be more fluid.


AT: Next projects on site?

MC&IC: Hard question for the time being. Exhibitions will resume as soon as the art schedule will be back in place, but definitely September with a solo show by Gert & Uwe Tobias. The gallery is currently open with the exhibition “Area Caproni U8OPIA” with works by Louisa Clement and Georg Herold running till the summer break.


AT: If you had to give some advice to a youngster who wants to open a space, what it would be?

MC&IC: To work really well on the program step by step; be patient and don’t commit to projects you don’t feel comfortable with just because the art world “requires” it.

Marcel Eichner, Paintings and Drawings 2009-2019 | Installation view photo Roberto Marossi | Courtesy the artist and Cassina Projects.
Cassina Projects opened in Milan in September 2019 with two solo exhibitions by Gerold Miller and Marcel Eichner.

The objective of Cassina Projects is to continue developing the work done so far in the gallery in New York and to create a new destination for contemporary art that will enliven the Milanese art scene, where artists, collectors, curators and enthusiasts will be involved in initiatives that go beyond gallery’s activities: lectures and talks focus on artists from different generations, film screenings and performances.

For Marco and Irene Cassina, the idea is to develop a venue that acts as an incubator for new interactions and approaches to contemporary art, with parallel projects that will serve to strengthen the exhibition activity as CP Studio, a studio dedicated to artists, who will be invited to create new works, all the while enjoying a stay in the city of Milano. It is an initiative that aims to support artists and which can foster ideas for exhibition projects complementary to the gallery program.