Rama Goes Trump, Again Mixes Private Career with Political Office

Continuing his opportunistic attempts to build an artistic career on his political connections and nepotism, Prime Minister Edi Rama will open on February 25 a solo exhibition at Galleria Eduardo Secci in Florence. Prime Minister Rama had visited Florence last month for a private lunch with architect Marco Casamonti, whose projects have destroyed cultural heritage in Tirana and Durrës. Casamonti’s brother is owner of the influential Florentine gallery Tornabuoni Arte.

The exhibition in Florence again exemplifies Prime Minister Rama’s signature blend of private interest and political connections to be become an internationally “recognized” artist.

The “encounter” with Rama organized on the day following the opening features Tommaso Sacchi, Head of the Cultural Department Secretariat of the City of Florence and guest lecturer at the Domus Academy. Domus Academy also provided entourage for Rama’s gallery shows before: his Councillor for Urban and Cultural Strategies Lorenza Baroncelli and her collaborator Joseph Grima were the curators for his private show in Naples at Galleria Alfona Artiaco in 2016.

Connected to Domus Academy is also former mayoral candidate for Milan and architect Stefano Boeri, who recently drafted the Tirana 2030 Masterplan, which as Exit explained in a series of articles, is not only technically deficient, but also threatens to privatize large parts of Tirana. Boeri, with whom Baroncelli collaborated on the masterplan, will join the “encounter” with Rama and Sacchi in the context of Rama’s private show.

The exhibition itself promises to be a repetition of the formula used both in Naples and recently in Marian Goodman in New York: a combination of wallpaper, doodles, a large projection of Anri Sala’s Dammi colori, which has become the Triumph of the Will of Rama’s government, and his recent ceramic work:

The exhibition consists of drawings, sculptures, and wallpaper that follow each other in the gallery spaces seamlessly transferring to Florence the atmosphere of his office in Tirana, and ends with a video projection that Anri Sala produced in 2000 bearing witness to the great requalification project of the city of Tirana sponsored by his close friend Edi Rama.

Meanwhile it remains unclear where the funds for this continuous line of private shows come from. Until now, no art critic or theorist of merit has appeared to have validated Rama’s work as relevant within the current context of contemporary art. All of his shows are predicated upon his friendship with Anri Sala, and a give-and-take of favors between architects, curators, and gallerists, all of which profit from the public funds that Edi Rama manages as Prime Minister of the country.

In any other country such unacceptable conflicts of interest would have led to a criminal investigation for abuse of office, but it seems that in spite of Rama’s dislike for US President Donald Trump, the way in which he combines private interests with public money and his disdain for the rule of law are exactly the same.