The Magician’s Park by Gori & Mariotti

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Last summer, our family of four went to Europe to chase art. Since we returned, I’ve been writing about our experiences, the art we saw, and the art books we found. And I still have more art from our trip to tell you about!

We spent about two weeks in Italy and toured the Gori Collection (where we would love to spend more time). Stefania Gori wrote a children’s picture book about the collection. I interviewed her about her work with children and art in a previous post. I am so glad that I purchased this children’s book about the Gori Collection and the private park in which it is situated.

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The Magician’s Park by Stefania Gori and Marcello Mariotti translates the history of the Gori Art Collection into a fairytale. American artists, Dennis Oppenhiem, and Robert Morris, are among twelve of the artists tor “magicians” in the book. Each artist comes to leave a spell on this dreamscape, similar to how each artist was commissioned to make a permanent, site-specific artwork for the Gori’s property. The book weaves in important bits of their process, history, and place while keeping it whimsical. The illustrations trigger my children’s memories of the specific sculptures, while also adding to the fantasy. I have seen other children’s books about specific art collections, that can be summed up as you came and saw this, end of story. The Magician’s Park is better at making the artworks come alive. It includes stories about what the artist intended or imagined in a way that my children find interesting. This book is a great example of how art history can be introduced to children.

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