Publishing house of contemporary art and popular culture,
trend bureau and communications agency,
DRAGO is an organisation for the diffusion of art and culture.
Drago produces tangible products that capture the zeitgeist of the current world and those ideas, trends, and revolutions of the past. It is an international voice that promotes the new global movement toward avant-garde thinking that we have labeled “S.I.C,” or “Systema of Independent Culture.”
This systema represents a remix of pop culture that is realized through the synthesis of two radical elements of the 21st century: the internet and street art.
Drago creates a solid client-partner relationship, providing strategic branding for communication, positioning, and development. Our strength is our in-depth and unmatched knowledge of art, fashion, and trends.
Tailored to meet our client’s objectives, we strive to make each project part of a strategic vision that supports our passion for quality, and the importance of sustaining a unique place in the market.
Since 2001, when the publishing house first opened its doors in Rome, DRAGO has dedicated itself to art, photography and culture in the broadest sense. The theme is avant-garde, but not only. A quest for discovery, to understand the essence of urban culture, and in particular of Street Art and Street Photography. A radar tuned into the contemporary scene. We have published over 100 books, available under the Highlights section, celebrating artists such as Futura, Shepherd Fairey, Ed Templeton, Estevan Oriol, JR and Letizia Battaglia, to name a few. Our impressive catalogue is a discovery, with a network of national and international distributors.
Our mission is to create what did not exist before. We have supported many artists considered as “mainstream minorities” who went on to become part of the official art scene. A scene that, the German-Italian publisher Paulo von Vacano, can stigmatize with spot-on formulas. And in doing so, the artists have become an intrinsic part of mainstream contemporary art, also referred to as “hardcore overground”. His ability to discover the most innovative talents has been recognized by the public, curators and institutions in Italy and beyond.
Not surprisingly, DRAGO was the official publisher for the French Academy in Rome, also known as Villa Medici. From 2010 to 2016 we published the catalogues of all the exhibitions curated by the director Éric de Chassey.
It is worth mentioning that DRAGO’s private Street Art and Street Photography collections have been part of numerous exhibitions in museums and art galleries around the world. It is a testament to the innate ability that Paulo von Vacano, and Domitilla Sartogo the Executive Director of DRAGO, have to identify avant-garde and that they have demonstrated throughout their 20-year publishing and exhibitions activities. Part of DRAGO’s team are also Nicola Scavalli, Art Director, and Alice Ghinolfi, Managing Editor, both with an impressive curriculum.
On the 12th March 2022 Palazzo Bonaparte di Roma held the first large-scale solo show of Jago. Known as ‘The Social Artist’ for his skills as an influencer and communicator, Drago is publishing a bilingual catalogue of his work entitled, JAGO. THE EXHIBITION. It will include all his most important works together with texts by Maria Teresa Benedetti, Vittorio Sgarbi, Padre Loffredo and Sylvain Bellenger. To mark the occasion, Drago is also releasing ‘Under the Venus’, a limited edition photographic print by Dirk Voegel that depicts the artist in dialogue with one of his best-known works.
In May this year, in collaboration with the mayor of the city of Nancy and the Museo di Belle Arti, the Galerie Poirel was home to the first large-scale institutional solo show by Alëxone. The exhibition featured several site-specific works and brought together some of the most important works by one of the most significant figures of Street Art in France. Drago is proud to announce the release of the catalogue À Cœur Ouvert. This journey through the fantastic and virtuosic universe of Alëxone Dizaz has been a great success with visitors and critics alike.
In response to the unforeseen success of English photographer Janette Beckman’s book ‘Rebels: From Punk to Dior’, Drago is releasing a second edition in paperback to accompany the artist’s European tour in the autumn. Following shows at Apertura Centre for Photography and Visual Arts in Malaga, Le Grand Jeu in Paris and The Photographers Gallery in London, Beckman topped it all off with a triumphant return to America, exhibiting at the International Center of Photography in New York.
In collaboration with the University of Bologna and the Rodrigo Pais Archive, Drago is releasing the first catalogue raisonné of Rodrigo Pais entitled, ‘Rodrigo Pais, Sguardi sulla Moda, Fotografie dagli anni Cinquanta’. With texts from Chiara Pompa, Bianca Cappello (jewellery historian and critic), Glenda Furini, Simona Segre-Reinach, Vittoria Caterina Caratozzolo, Guido Gambetta (scientific director of the collection ‘Fondo Fotografico Rodrigo Pais’) and the president of the University Library of Bologna Francesco Citti, the catalogue brings together some of the finest work by the fashion photographer, who documented the development of Italian society in the second half of the 20th Century, capturing unexpected moments from the recent past.
Drago is publishing ‘Armando, la furia del Quadraro’, the first book by photographer Fabio Fasiello who for years has followed and documented the life and struggles of Armando Casamonica, one of the most famous and controversial boxers on the Italian circuit, as seen inside one of Rome’s most historic and important boxing gyms. Following two exhibitions, the book is one of the most comprehensive looks at the sport in Italy.
Drago is also publishing ‘The Red Skein’, the most comprehensive monograph on the artist Swoon, one of the most influential street artists on the New York and international scene. Having made a big impact in the media and press, Swoon has presented her book in many galleries, including a fantastic solo show at the Turner Carroll Gallery in Santa Fe, a special launch at Jeffrey Deitch Gallery this autumn, and a show at Taglialatella Galleries this summer, to name just a few of the influential names in contemporary art who have played their part in making this one of the most important books of the year.
The Drago publishing house started 2021 with a bang! The first year’s publication is B.A.D.: Beautiful and Determined, a book about accepting oneself, self-esteem and the concept of beauty. Who decides what is beautiful? Why should a woman be bound by a predefined look? This photographic book is a manifestation of the empowerment of women and non-binary people.
In occasion of the launch of the Spring/Summary 2021 season collection by REDValentino, Drago has realised a monographic volume Stazione Termini Lookbook 2009-2021 with the photographic director of the collection by Pierpaolo Piccioli, Niccolò Berretta.
For over ten years Niccolò Berretta photographed people in Rome’s largest train station and in occasion of the S/S 2021 collection by REDValentino he based the photographic campaign in the neighbourhood of the station, Esquilino. Following a large media exposure, including by the Financial Times, Vice and Harpar’s Bazaar and a hugely international acclaim, the book almost sold out in less than four months. With a sleeve created exclusively for the luxury brand, the book became a product of the campaign all over the world and was presented at LMDS, Le Monde and SHC of Shanghai and at events like the Pop Up Black Tag in the concept stores of Rome and Milan.
Neapolis is the latest adventure of the acclaimed international photographer Boogle, a photographic book on Naples realised with Drago. “I always get lost because I don’t have a good sense of direction. So I just let go and start taking photos. This is how my best photos take life.” Boogie is capable of immortalising the harsher side of reality: from the outskirts of New York to the suburbs of Kingston. Boogie has always portrayed the violent and criminal side of the streets, an explanation for which can be found in the creases of poverty and societal hardship. His latest work, Neapolis, follows in the footsteps of his previous successes: entering the pulsing heart of a dark reality and immortalising it through his lense. Napoli welcomed Boogie and this is the outcome. In more than 80 images in black and white and with a foreword by the rapper Luchè, Neapolis is a collector’s book that cannot miss in the libraries of lovers of the genre. The book was also presented in Rome where the author signed books for his numerous fans and realised three limited edition issues that have already become a cult in the collector’s world.
Street Life is the first book by Brad Mirman that explores the universe of Los Angeles from a unique and symbolic manner. From director to screenwriter, for Brad Miriam each photo has a story, each image is dive into a culture and way of living. With more than 100 photos in black and white, Brad Miriam shows us a West Coast as never seen before, powerful and authentic, timeless images that speak about a feeling. “My camera is my passport to different cultures and worlds. It allows me to go to places that I would never dream of going without it. Street Photography helps me to leave my world, get out of my comfort zone and allows me to see things and meet people that I would otherwise never have met.” “La macchina fotografica è il mio passaporto per mondi e culture diverse. Mi permette di andare in posti in cui non oserei mai andare senza di essa. La Street Photography mi aiuta a uscire dal mio mondo, fuori da ciò che mi è confortevole e mi permette di vedere cose e incontrare persone che altrimenti non incontrerei mai”.
From the 8th to the 10th October, Drago was the directive creator and communications agency of the XXI edition of the International Tatto Expo of Rome. The International Tattoo Expo first appeared in the year 2000, when in Italy and indeed in Europe, the concept of a “tattoo convention” was not well defined. The event is by now a worldwide reference point in the horizon of the tattoo world and sees contributions from different artists that perform tattoo art as well as other disciplines like painting, photography and drawing. Every year Drago has brought its artistic touch, engaging with different international artists, releasing an updated catalogue with every edition, and gaining huge success with the public who this year was actively engaged through book signing and dedicated events.
In November 2021 Drago presented in New York the most comprehensive monography by Janette Beckman entitled Rebels: From Punk to Dior. Janette Beckman, a British born photographer now based in New York, is engrained in the world of music photography and not only. Ranging from the world of art to photojournalism, music, fashion and pop music, Rebels is a testimony of her unique ability to extract beauty from unusual elements of society. Janette Beckman started her career at the start of punk rock in London, working with publications like The Face and Melody Maker. She photographed numerous bands, from The Clash to Boy George, as well as documenting the rebellious fans of the youth culture and capturing symbolic and emblematic moments for icons such as Blondie and the Police. When Beckman moved to New York in 1983, she was immediately drawn to the emerging hip-hop scene where she photographed pioneers of the movement such as Salt-N-Pepa, Run DMC, Grand Master Flash, Slick Rick and LL Cool J. Whether she is photographing the movement Black Lives Matters or collaborating with brands the likes of Levi’s, Dior e Gucci, Beckman is and always will be an artist of her time. In December her book was nominated Books of the Year 2021 by the Rough Trade Centre of New York where it was presented during a wonderful evening. Always in New York, the Museum Fotografiska has dedicate a large area to the book and the work of the author, extending the dates of the exhibition due to the huge success. The book was also presented in the Dior shop of New York who released a limited-edition print for the occasion. Many media outlets have been a platform for the book, amongst which The Guardian, Forbes, Fox5 and VMagazine.
During the second term of the academic year 2021, Paulo von Vacano, editor and CEO of Drago, together with the Professor Paolo Cenciarelli gave lectures for the Fashion Studies degree of the Sapienza University in Rome. on the topic “Luxury and High Fashion Brand Communication”, presenting case studies from his work at the publishing house.
On the 8th December 2021, Drago inaugurated the exhibition of Giuseppe Loy. A certain Italy. Photographs from 1959-1981 at the National Gallery of Ancient Art at Palazzo Barberini in Rome and curated by Chiara Agradi and Angelo Loy. This is the first retrospective since the author disappeared fourty years ago. The exhibition was developed from the photographic archive of the Giuseppe Loy, together with the Media Partnership of Rai Scuola, following a digitalisation and cataloguing of 1565 films in black and white, 338 colour films and 1800 stamps and documents. The purpose of the exhibition was to give an overview of a life dedicated to photography. With a selection of 135 original prints in black and white, archive documents, poems, epigrams, family photographs and a video that traces the friendship between Giuseppe Loy and the artists Alberto Burri, Afro and Lucio Fontana. For the occasion Drago also realised a trilingual catalogue, with text from Edoardo Albinati, writer, Chiara Agradi, art historiam, Luca Massimo Barbero, director of the Institute of Art History of the Giorgio Cini Foundation, Bruno Corà, president of the Palazzo Albizzini Foundation “Burri Collection”, Emilio Garroni, philosopher, Margherita Guccione, director of MAXXI’s Museum of Modern and Contemporary Architecture, Angelo Loy, president of the Giuseppe Loy Photographic Archive, Rosetta Loy, writer, Alice Rohrwacher, film director.
2020 also sees the launch of <em>Crossroads, a Glimpse into the Life of Alice Pasquini, the first anthology of the worldwide renown Street Artist Alicè, who’s received widespread national and international recognition and awards and has been elected artist of the year by Rai Radio Tre.
DRAGO is commissioned by the Susan G. Komen Italia organisation to present a mural project on breast cancer awareness, artist Alice Pasquini will create such mural. This is due to be unveiled during Race for the Cure, the annual event promoted by Komen.
In April, after the success of his two best selling books, LA Portraits and This Is Los Angeles, Estevan Oriol climbed the Netflix Top Ten in the US reaching the #5 position. With his homie Mister Cartoon, Oriol produced the definitive documentary that took all the effort that DRAGO and the photographer had invested to create the best overview on chicano culture ever made.
“LA Originals” is a film that charts the chicano and street art movement that cemented Mister Cartoon and Estevan Oriol‘s status as hip hop legends on stage and behind the scenes. Photographer Estevan Oriol and artist Mister Cartoon transformed their Chicane roots into an intrepid art form involving street culture, hip hop and beyond. They elevated Chicano culture to a global artistic phenomenon and their reputation has turned them into pioneers.
During the 58th Art Biennale – 2019 – Venice, titled “May You Live in Interesting Times”, DRAGO brings to life to the Bahrain Pavilion, with the exhibition “The Wait: Contemporary Artists from Bahrain”. This included a hugely successful large opening event, commissioned by Her Royal Highness Wife of the King of Bahrain, Art Select and Tamkeen, and for which DRAGO directed the communications and PR aspects. The exhibition, curated by Kaneka Subberwal, Amal Khalaf and Tasneem Al Shurougi, is inspired by a Nasser Al Yousif print (dated 1999), a Bahrainian artist who portrays figures looking out to the sea, beyond the horizon, waiting.
During the same Biennale, DRAGO creates the catalogue for Zahrah Alghamadi’s solo exhibition, “After Illusion” at the Saudi Arabia pavilion. The exhibition was curated by Eiman Elgibreen and commissioned by the Misk Art Institute.
DRAGO launches the book on the legendary Crash Kid, A Hip Hop Legacy during the opening event of the large exhibition that includes a Hip Hop battle, old-school style. The photo-laced book documents the birth of Street Culture in Italy, starting from the very first Hip Hop concerts in the 80s and the creation of the worldwide famous “Zulu Party”.
During this year DRAGO also publishes the first anthology of Futura 2000, considered to be the father of graffiti, titled Full Frame. The book follows Futura’s style starting from New York’s undergrounds all the way to today. His style has become part of the graffiti foundations and unreservedly part of the official art world.
Somewhere in between traditional graffiti, graphics and abstractions, we find Felipe Pantone who blends designer elements with highly evolved geometrical shapes thus creating an ultra-modern aesthetic style, which is integrated in urban landscapes. DRAGO published Dynamic Phenomena, the first and only book of the optical art new generation. It turned out to be an incredible success and immediately sold out.
DRAGO launched a series of events and exhibitions at the Contemporary Cluster in Rome, the trendiest cultural space of the Italian capital, a hot spot and a stepping-stone for the most progressive forms of art.
At the 20th edition of the International Tattoo Expo in Rome DRAGO sets up a large exhibition and cultural arena for the attendants of the expo, organising a series of events and exhibitions.
To celebrate fashion and art icon Irene Brin, DRAGO publishes Irene Brin, Gaspero del Corso at the Obelisco Gallery, by Vittoria Caterina Caratozzolo, Ilaria Schiaffini and Claudio Zambianchi, the first monograph on the Roman Obelisco gallery. The book features contributions by La Sapienza Università in Rome (the prestigious Sapienza University) and the Galleria di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Rome (the Modern and Contemporary Art Gallery).
The Obelisco Gallery (1946-1981) was one of the first places in Rome to promote contemporary artistic research and was an innovator. The book was presented at the Museum Boncompagni Ludovisi in Rome at the Italian issue of Harper’s Bazaar in 1962 that saw a collaboration by Frank Horvat and Irene Brin.
Art From the Streets, the catalogue of French gallerist Magda Danysz’s homonymous exhibition, is published. This was the first time the most famous Street Artists were exhibited in Asia; the show was the ArtScience Museum in Singapore.
In the same year DRAGO curates and produces the exhibition “The Street is Watching” for Letizia Battaglia’s Centro Internazionale della Fotografia di Palermo (the International Center of Photography in Palermo), based on the book by the same name. The book was conceived by Paulo von Vacano, Domitilla Sartogo and Nicola Veccia Scavalli, at the helm of DRAGO’s trend bureau, and who spent over five years in search for international photographers selected to create the first ever Street Art anthology.
Following this exhibition, DRAGO becomes the Institute’s official publisher, launching a new bookshop and publishing the catalogue for the exhibition Io Sono Persona centred around stories of immigration. More than twenty Italian photographers participated in the project including Francesco Zizola, Mimmo Jodice, Caterina Pecchioli, Giulio Piscitelli and Francesco Radino. The catalogue was curated by Giovanna Calvenzi and Kitti Bolognesi and photographer Francesco Radino wrote its preface.
During the event Les Journées Particulières, organised by the LVHM Group, DRAGO selected a number of artists to create live paintings for Fendi at their headquarters in Palazzo della Civilità Italiana in Rome, also known as the Square Colosseum. The theme #RomaAmor is a recurring, and very much beloved, one by Fendi’s artistic director, Silvia Venturini. During the three days of performances, the artists took turns in each creating a large panel with the support of the sector’s prominent figures, revealing what happens behind the scenes of the luxury products manufacturer. Some of the artists involved we would like to remember are Alice Pasquini, JBRock, Brus, Greg, Pax Paloscia.
During 2018 DRAGO continues to work with Fendi and shortlists other great Street Artists, amongst which Napal, Gemello, Warios and Lady Nina, to create a performance on the Roof of the Square Colosseum. During this performance each artist customises a map of the world with special fluorescent paint, and use drones to make a video used in the F For… Fendi media campaign. The video has received millions of views online.
DRAGO curates and produces “Cross The Streets” at the MACRO Museo di Arte Contemporanea di Roma (the Contemporary Art Museum in Rome), one of the biggest exhibitions of Street Art ever organised privately for a public museum. The exhibition includes artists such as Shepard Fairey, Chaz Bojourquez, Mike Giant, Will Barras, Swoon, Cope 2, Roa, Nick Walker, Miss Van, Hyuro, Jeremy Fish, Sten & Lex, WK Interact, Invader, DAIM and many more. There were numerous site specific works of art on the museum’s walls: one section was dedicated to never-seen before photographs of Keith Haring’s works in Rome in 1986, another section was dedicated to Graffiti, Street Photography (Ed Templeton, Estevan Oriol among others) and one to Street Art Stories (chronicling the birth of the Street phenomenon in Italy). The Italian section showcased artists such as Lucamaleonte, Ozmo, Bros, JBRock and Daimond, and the one dedicated to Pop Surrealism showcased Ray Caesar, Mark Ryden, Marion Peck, Camille Rose Garcia up to the toys of Ron English. DRAGO published a catalogue for the exhibition with images of the show, also featuring a silk-screen print of Lucamaleonte’s work that was part of the show, which immediately sold out.
In 2016 DRAGO fully dedicates itself to the national and international launch of the work by the Italian photographer Letizia Battaglia, best known for her work on Sicily and mafia crimes, with two books (published in both Italian and English): the first, Just For Passion, is the catalogue for the exhibition organised at the Museo MAXXI Museum – Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XX Secolo (the 20th Century National Art Museum) in Rome. The second book Anthology, is the catalogue for the exhibition at ZAC, Cantieri Culturali alla Zisa in Palermo (Zisa Zone Contemporary Art Gallery in Palermo, Sicily) with a preface written by curator Paolo Falcone and the participation of illustrious journalists such as Attilio Bolzoni, Melissa Harris, Saverio Lodato, the curators Giovanna Calvenzi, Marta Gili and Gisela Kayser, photographers Christian Caujolle, Alexander Stille, Graciela Iturbide, Donna Ferrato and Franco Zecchin, the Magistrate of Palermo Nino Di Matteo and mayor Leoluca Orlando, Senator Simona Mafai, writer Dacia Maraini, Antonio and Patrizia Marras, ICP director Fred Ritchin and film director Wim Wenders. The DRAGO press office organises a presentation in the presence of international press at The French Academy in Rome – Villa Medici, which featured Letizia Battaglia in the Arts & Leisure section of the New York Times, as well as the International New York Times, in addition to the CNN, Wall Street Journal, The Daily Beast, and the BBC! In 2017 the New York Times names Letizia Battaglia as one of the world’s 11 most influential women in its special edition of the New York Time Magazine.
DRAGO immerses itself in an exhaustive research on Pop Surrealism, producing a trilogy on the exhibitions showcased at the Dorothy Circus Gallery in Rome and London, which quickly becomes one of the most prominent and successful spaces dedicated to Surrealist Pop Art not only in Europe, but in the world. The Trilogy of the Dorothy Circus Gallery, is a box-set with three volumes, entitled Once Upon a Time, Walk on the Wild Side and The Doors of Perception, respectively. These three books, which can also be bought separately, delve deep into the top 70 leading artists of the movement. These include Tara McPherson, Ray Caesar, Aaron Jasinski, Miss Van, Nathalie Shau, Naoto Hattori, Colin Christian, Clementine de Chabaneix and Kazuki Takamatsu.
DRAGO decides to continue following Pop Surrealism art in the form of Kazuki Takamatsu, one of the forefathers of this Californian 1970s art movement, and who is still revered all over the world. The exclusive monograph Hello Here I Am is published, which, for the first time ever, uncovers the techniques the acclaimed Japanese artist uses to create his famous and unsettling dolls.
In 2014 DRAGO produces the first and most complete anthology of the great 3D graffiti German artist Mirko Raisser: Mirko Reisser DAIM 1989 – 2014. The artist is unanimously recognised worldwide to be one of the graffiti forefathers and this book represents the most extensive and complete publication of his work to date. It was 1989 when DAIM first appeared in public spaces – and in 2014, 25 years later, the artist reflects on his artistic career at the forefront of the Graffiti movement. The publication represents a thorough research and compilation of images and texts that help the reader better understand the Graffiti movement.
Rome Wasn’t Drawn in a Day is launched in spring of the same year, a colouring-in book of a pop version of Rome, created by the Roman artists DolceQ.
DRAGO publishes the official catalogue of the first five editions of the Outdoor Urban Art Festival in Rome, the Street Art festival in Italy. Incredible artists took part in the events, including Borondo, Sam 3, Sten e Lex, Faith XLVII, Agostino Iacurci. The festival had many homes throughout the years; the one we remember most fondly is “La Dogana”, after which it transformed itself into the major cultural hub of the capital’s San Lorenzo neighbourhood.
It was a busy year for DRAGO who brought to life several volumes for The French Academy in Rome – Villa Medici, including: La Peinture ou comment s’en débarrasser, a catalogue for the homonymous exhibition curated by Éric de Chassey; Teatro delle esposizioni #4 and #5 catalogues for the exhibitions “Roma città aperta” curated by Ludovico Pratesi and “Due o tre cose che so di lei” curated by Claudio Libero Pisano, respectively; and Simon Hantai, catalogue for the first Italian retrospective dedicated to the painter and curated by Éric de Chassey.
The publishing house releases the incredibly successful LA Portraits, the second project to involve the famous photographer Estevan Oriol and that opens a window into the vibrant gang culture that permeates the City of Angels. Estevan uses the same signature style to portray both the Gangs of Los Angeles and Hollywood celebrities the likes of Robert de Niro, Al Pacino, Adrien Brody and Samuel L. Jackson, amongst many others.
Back in Europe DRAGO channels all its artistic endeavours into the realization of Les Bains, catalogue of the extraordinary Street Art exhibition directed by the famous French gallerist Magda Danysz and based in Paris’ most famous nightclub by the same name (before it was taken down and replaced by a boutique hotel). The exhibition showcased more than 50 artists, amongst which ASH, Sowat, YZ, Sten e Lex, Invader, Ludo, Seth, to name a few.
DRAGO is the official publishing house of The French Academy in Rome – Villa Medici and develops the catalogue Jean-Marc Bustamante, Villa Medici, for the exhibition by the same name. The project sees the artist confront himself with the notion of space, particularly in relation to the building that houses the exhibition, dear to the artist.
Flying Carpets, catalogue of the homonymous exhibition at The French Academy in Rome – Villa Medici curated by Philippe-Alain Michaud, is published in three editions in the same year. Rhythms and textures are layered into the tapestry of historical themes and artistic cinematography.
DRAGO dedicated 2012 to the world famous French photographer JR, the youngest winner of the Ted prize and acclaimed leader of the new Street Art. He can also claim to be one of the only contemporary artists to be featured by the Louvre Museum in Paris. For the artist’s global project The Wrinkles of the City DRAGO publishes two volumes: The Wrinkles of the City Los Angeles and The Wrinkles of the City Shanghai, that markedly contributed to propel his fame and in which JR talks about his philosophy. His work explores the relationship between city landscapes and photography, by recreating whole neighborhoods through portraits of their inhabitants and by narrating their stories.
Amongst the publications for The French Academy in Rome – Villa Medici is the famous Europunk, The Visual Culture of Punk in Europe, 1976-1980, the first anthology of its kind documenting punk subculture, published in three editions. The exhibition curated by Éric de Chassey and Fabrice Stroun showcases the vast array of alternative visual artistic productions generated by the Punk culture in the mid-‘70s throughout Europe. The exhibition travelled to the MAMCO Museum of Contemporary Art in Geneva and then to the BPS22 in Charleroi, Belgium, as well as the Citè de la Musique, part of the museum complex Parc de la Villette in Paris. For this occasion, DRAGO published a new edition of the book.
In May of the same year DRAGO works again for The French Academy in Rome – Villa Medici to produce Poussin and Mosè a catalogue of the exhibition that showcases over 40 artworks including tapestry, drawings, engravings and drawings by the famous French painter Nicolas Poussin, all of which are dedicated to the life of Moses and loaned by the most prestigious French, Italian and British museums, was produced in collaboration with the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux.
From Style Writing to Art – a Street Art Anthology represents an original anthology on Street Art and is referred to as The Street Art Bible. Published for the Paris and Shanghai exhibitions curated by the French gallerist Magda Danysz. The book covers 40 years of the history of graffiti: from the pioneers of the 1960s to the scission of the 1980s, and all the new styles, techniques and genres that evolved in the early 1990s. The book also contains the biographies of more than 50 artists, amongst which Miss Van, JonOne, Shepard Fairey, Quik, Blade, Doze Green, Cope 2, Nick Walker, including Keith Haring.
2011 sees the production of Twinkles, the very first book by Miss Van, the most famous French Street Artist and in collaboration with Magda Danysz. The book travels through Miss Van’s artistic evolution, from typical Street Art productions to the exploration of painting and symbolism, whilst maintaining the erotic and ambiguous vein that characterise her work.
2010 is the year that gives birth and seals the partnership between The French Academy in Rome – Villa Medici and DRAGO, who will become their official publisher for the following six years. DRAGO publishes the catalogues for two exhibitions both curated by the director Éric de Chassey: I Mutanti that brings together the five artists Adel Abdessemed, Stephen Dean, Ellen Gallagher, Adrian Paci and Djamel Tatah, and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres / Ellsworth Kelly, which explores the artists’ historical relationship and relative influence on each other. The artworks by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres were loaned by The Louvre Museum and from Ellsworth Kelly’s private collection.
In the same year for The French Academy in Rome – Villa Medici DRAGO releases La pesanteur et la grâce, a catalogue of the exhibition “Abstractions et spiritualité” that brings together the work of the five international artists Marthe Wéry, Callum Innes, Georges Tony Stoll, Emmanuel Van der Meulen and Emanuele Becheri.
DRAGO also publishes Muerte, the first book on the ink genius Mike Giant, world renowned artist and tattoo artist who became famous thanks to his lettering and 21st century Pin Ups covered in writing and symbolic messages. The book was one of Amazon’s best sellers for several seasons and the first edition was sold out within a few months.
With the Tour De Fuerza, the promotional tour for the first book by the photographer Estevan Oriol entitled LA Woman, DRAGO travels to various European capitals where it organises events and travelling exhibits and completely sells out of the book within a few months.
In 2007 DRAGO curates and organizes Jeremy Fish’s exhibition “Rome-Antic Delusions” with artworks especially created by the artist in Rome for the exhibition. Its homonymous catalogue soon became a cult object.
In the same year Heroes is issued, the catalogue of the exhibition in the Roman Gallery Stefania Miscetti by Adrian Tranquilli.
DRAGO publishes Izastikup – A unique collection of stickers from all over the world. The book is a collection and review of the creation of original stickers by more than 750 artists and results in an exhibition that travels to five European countries. The artists Microbo, Bo and The Don curate the project.
In 2005 DRAGO directs and produces the exhibition “Kennedy: The Family, Values and History” at The Adrian Temple in Rome, featured on the night of the opening a Gala dinner in Villa Aurelia – The American Academy in Rome and a panel with opinion leaders celebrating the American-Italian relationship in the form of political, cultural and economical. This was one of the first interactive exhibitions, with 700 previously unreleased pictures of the family, and several historical documentaries by Gianni Minoli as well as personal objects like the famous Hermes briefcase owned by JFK. “The biggest exhibition in Italy that comprehensively depicts the lives of John, Robert and other members of a family that made history in the United States and influenced that whole era” as stated by then Mayor of Rome Walter Veltroni. This exhibition won a medal of honour from the Italian Prime Minister Carlo Azeglio Ciampi.
Young Sleek and Full of Hell: another visionary volume published by DRAGO in which Aaron Rose tells the story of his Alleged Gallery in New York. The gallery became the cradle of the underground movement at the end of the last century. The book contains interviews and artwork by Terry Richardson, Chloè Sevigny, Mark Gonzales, Carlo McCormick, Harmony Korine, Oliver Zaham, Ryan McGinley, Ari Marcopoulos, Rita Ackermann, Barry McGee, Phil Frost and Bruce Labruce.
In honour of Madame Bettancourt, DRAGO organises a special event for the L’Oréal Group (Paris) and The French Academy in Rome – Villa Medici, celebrating the best of the French-Italian relationship in the form of political, cultural and economical.
DRAGO directs the opening event of the 5th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Rome for the then Mayor of Rome Walter Veltroni.
Also a special event “Man for Peace”.
DRAGO releases La Transavangardia Italiana, a book on the Italian Neo-expressionism by Achille Bonito Oliva, with artists Mimmo Paladino, Francesco Clemente, Sandro Chia, Enzo Cucchi, Nicola De Maria and an exhibition that travels to Buenos Aires, Santiago de Chile and Mexico City.
In Milan DRAGO organizes the convention for the exhibition held in the Fnac Duomo megastore, titled S-Style: Sistema della Strada. Examining the relationship and conflict between global consumerism and the latest fashion trends and street style.
In 2003 DRAGO curates the exhibition “Angel of Decay” by the American artist Ed Templeton, in the roman building Acquario Romano. The exhibition depicts the artist’s love for youth culture, as seen also in Larry Clark’s films. It was first exhibited in the Palais de Tokyo in Paris and then in Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome accompanied by a preview in the 55DSL store in Milan. “Angel of Decay” was considered his debut in Italy, in which his passions as a skater, artist and photographer were manifested and that brought with them the beginning of a new Urban Art era.
The catalogue of the show The Golden Age of Neglect became a cult book.
“Now Underground” was an international exhibition curated by Cecilia Nesbit and for which DRAGO published its catalogue. Forty artists were invited to exhibit on a long wall of aluminum along the rail lines of platform 21 inside Milan’s main train station. Paintings, murals, graphics, photographs and calligraphy accompany the viewer through a trip to modern times, exploring the relationship between contemporary art, street, fashion, politics, graphics and design.
“Propaganda 30% Acrilico. Writing & Skateboarding” is the title of the book published by DRAGO on the homonymous exhibition at the Museo di Roma in Trastevere, that included a bespoke collection of espresso coffee cups designed by a selection of Italian street artists, amongst which Joe, Nico, Pane, Scarful and Stand.
DRAGO organized the “Via Crucis” exhibition, curated by Marianna Vecellio and Angela Dorazio in the converted church Santa Marta in Rome. “Via Crucis” exhibits photos by the Latin-American artist Andres Serrano who is fascinated by sacred themes. Ludovico Pratesi writes about it on the Italian newspaper La Repubblica: “Serrano has landed in Rome with a personal exhibition conceived as representation of the relationship between the sacred and the profane […] the exhibition summarizes the world’s illnesses, through strong and direct images”. La Stampa newspaper also writes: “Serrano does not scare the theologist, a transgression can be useful”.
In this first year, DRAGO publishes the catalogue for the solo exhibition of the American artist Brice Maden at the Institute of graphics Calcographia Nazionale in Rome.
PAULO LUCAS VON VACANO
Paulo Lucas von Vacano: Cultural Pusher, Global Nomad, Dragonchild. German by blood and spiritually adopted by Rome, Paulo has lived his life between worlds and the different cultures that divide them. His love for the eternal city allows him to see in Rome one of the world’s most important beacons and brands. Paulo has followed the urban and contemporary art scenes for decades, first as a journalist for international magazines and newspapers, and later as the president and shareholder of the Castelvecchi Publishing Company, where he produced more than 500 fiction and non fiction books and several magazines (among which include “Aspenia” of The Aspen Institute and Toni Negri’s “Posse”). He leads DRAGO, bringing the kick-and-lick of a new generation of artists to the foreground of the collective consciousness.
Domitilla Sartogo has been the executive director of Drago since 2004. She has previously worked as a graphic designer for the Richard Avedon Studio, a talent scout and director of photography for Fabrica, the Benetton Group Center on Communications, a professor at the Parson School of Design in New York and the director of communications for Borbonese, an iconic Italian fashion brand. She has also acted as the executive director of the Florence Biennale of Fashion & Cinema, seven exhibitions focusing on the relationship between film and fashion that brought together award-winning set and costume designers with renowned fashion designers from around the world.
NICOLA VECCIA SCAVALLI
Nicola Veccia Scavalli was born in Paris. As an art director, for roughly twenty years in the field of Contemporary Art and Photography publications, he has curated the graphic designs for more than 450 volumes including monographs and art books for various Italian, French, German and American publishers. Nicola lives between London and Rome, is the Art Director of all the DRAGO books while also working with an imprint inseparably linked to DRAGO: the company Kittesencula Ltd.