Ugo Rondinone is a multimedia artist, whose monumental works have been shown around the world. He was born in 1964, to parents of Italian descent, in the Swiss resort town of Brunnen on Lake Lucerne.
In 1983, Rondinone moved to Zurich, where he became assistant to avant-garde artist, Hermann Nitsch. Nitsch founded the Orgien Mysterien Theater (The Orgiastic Mystery Theater), where he combined fine art with performance pieces, which had a profound influence on Rondinone’s works.
After working with Nitsch, Rondinone went on to study at the Hochschule fur angewandte Kunst in Wein (the University of Applied Arts in Vienna) from 1986 to 1990.
Career and Personal Life
After his studies, Rondinone began to gain recognition for his bold paintings of concentric circles, large neon rainbow signs and drawings, and black-and-white drawings and sculptures of gnarled trees. He moved to New York in 1998. Rondinone’s public art works are contrasts between human constructs and the natural world.
In 2013, Rondinone created Human Nature for display in Rockefeller Center. The Public Art Fund project consisted of nine monumental stone figures, ranging in height from 16 to 20 feet and weighing up to 30,000 pounds each.
In 2016, Rondinone constructed Seven Magic Mountains, which was commissioned by the Art Production Fund and the Nevada Museum of Art. Seven Magic Mountains is made up of seven neon-colored towers of stacked limestone boulders, standing more than thirty feet high, each weighing 10 to 25 tons.
Unlike Human Nature, which placed organic forms in a man-made urban setting, Seven Magic Mountains placed unnatural forms in the natural desert setting…three acres of federally owned land about a dozen miles from Las Vegas.
More than two million people, including Beyonce and Jay-Z, have taken Instagram photos in front of Seven Magic Mountains. Initially scheduled for a two-year display, Seven Magic Mountains will stay in Nevada, by popular demand, for a few more years.
Miami Mountain is a 42-foot tall bright, day-glo sculpture, acquired by the Bass Museum in Miami Beach in 2016. In 2007, Rondinone represented Switzerland in the Venice Biennale. His works are part of the permanent collections of the New Museum in New York, the Museum of Modern Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Rondinone is married to poet, John Giorno. They have been together for nearly twenty years, and married in 2017. The couple lives and works in New York.