Meet Our Honorees and Keynote Address

Honorees Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu

Co-Founders of Magazzino Italian Art and Olnick Spanu

From New York and Sardinia, Italy, respectively, Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu, residents of New York, have developed an extensive collection of Postwar and Contemporary Italian Art in the United States. Olnick and Spanu began their collection by acquiring works by Modern Art masters and American Pop artists, an art movement contemporary but juxtaposed to Arte Povera. Their admiration of Italian Art and culture and strong interest in exploring conceptual artistic movements of a similar period but from a different perspective, took them on a journey that eventually led them to developing one of the largest collections of Postwar Italian Art and 20th century Murano Glass in the U.S.

Longtime supporters of the arts, Olnick and Spanu have continued to further their commitment to the arts through the Olnick Spanu Art Program, a one-year artist residency program that invites contemporary Italian artists to create site-specific installations on the couple’s property in Garrison, N.Y. Through this program, they have premiered to American audiences work by ten emerging to mid-career Italian artists: Giorgio Vigna, Massimo Bartolini, Mario Airò, Domenico Bianchi, Remo Salvadori, Stefano Arienti, Bruna Esposito, Marco Bagnoli, Francesco Arena and Paolo Canevari.

Always fascinated with architecture, Nancy and Giorgio commissioned Spanish architect Alberto Campo Baeza in 2003 to create The Olnick Spanu House in Garrison, New York. Reflective of both the couple and their love of art, the glass house stands as Baeza’s first project in the U.S. The house reflects a balance between modernism and classicism in dialogue with the scenery and light of the Hudson Valley.

Nancy and Giorgio also commissioned New York based architect Miguel Quismondo in 2015 to construct a 20,000 square-foot building to host Magazzino Italian Art. The building draws architectural components from an existing structure, repurposed within a larger design that doubled the square footage of the former space by completing the original L-shape into a rectangle, leaving a courtyard in the center, and creating a dialogue between the existing and the new addition. The state-of-the-art facility features more than 18,000 square feet of exhibition space as well as a library and office spaces. Miguel Quismondo is the recipient of the 2018 AIA New York Design Award in architecture for Magazzino Italian Art.

Expressing their commitment to philanthropy, Olnick and Spanu are supporters of numerous organizations including AJC-American Jewish Committee, Boscobel, Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò at NYU, Castello di Rivoli Contemporary Art, Desmond-Fish Library, Dia Art Foundation, Dieu Donné, Fondazione Mario Merz, Garrison Art Center, Garrison Institute, Garrison Landing Association, Longhouse Reserve, MAXXI Museum, Putnam History Museum, Scenic Hudson, Inc., RxArt, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, Storm King Art Center, The Drawing Center, The Jewish Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Arts, The Museum of Arts and Design, The Museum of Modern Art, The Russel Wright “Manitoga” Design Center and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Cav. Giorgio Spanu is Chairman of the Advisory Board of Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò at NYU, and on June 4th, 2018 Cav. Spanu was bestowed the Insignia of Knight of the Italian Republic.




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