Pisa’s main art and exhibition center, Palazzo Blu, takes its name from the striking pastel hue of the 13th-century building along the lungarno Gambacorti. Originally called Palazzo Giuli Rosselmini Gualandi, the facade acquired its singular hue in the 1700s at a time when great Italian artists were projecting imposing architecture in St. Petersburg and the “color of the air” was added to soften the facades. The color of today’s frescoes dates from much later, when the facade was restored and a fragment of late 18th century painting was unearthed. Purchased by the Cassa di Risparmio di Pisa Foundation, the rooms have been open to the public since 2008 with masterpieces from the permanent collection on the ground floor and at the piano nobile. Visitors marvel at the works of Benozzo Gozzoli, Agnolo Gaddi and Artemisia Gentileschiin addition to a wealth of 20th century pieces by Umberto Vittorini, Mino Rosi and Ferrucio Pizzanelli.
The big draw remains the ephemeral shows with recent exhibitions who focused on Giorgio de Chirico, Futurism and Surrealism. This month, a major monographic exhibition on Keith Haring will be inaugurated at the Palazzo Blu from November 12 (to April 17, 2022) as a tribute to the American artist whose pop art emerged from the New York graffiti subculture of the 1980s. Visitors can expect to see a preview from Haring’s upbeat work containing social messages from his early years to a few final pieces before the artist’s tragic death at just 31 from AIDS-related complications. Highlights will include full prize sets like apocalypse (1988) and Plan drawings (1990).