PAULO LUCAS VON VACANO
Paulo Lucas von Vacano, an Italian-German publisher, has been immersed in the contemporary urban art scene for years. As president of the Castelvecchi Publishing Company, he published more than 500 volumes and magazines, including Aspenia Magazine (Aspen Institute).
In 2002, Paulo Lucas von Vacano founded DRAGO, an international publishing house for contemporary art, street photography and pop culture. For DRAGO he has published works by artists from around the world and is frequently involved in urban and contemporary art exhibitions as an official publisher for various institutions, galleries and national and international museums.
DRAGO also collaborates in several projects as a talent scout and communication agency, spreading art and culture through its network. DRAGO transforms ideas, trends, events and phenomena into products to be used and services to be purchased. DRAGO focuses on the partner-customer relationship by introducing new communication strategies, brand positioning and development. Its strength lies in the profound knowledge of the world of art, fashion and trends. Built to meet the client’s goals, each project is part of a strategic vision that identifies qualities and understands the importance of being unique to the market.
In 2018 DRAGO collaborated with FENDI on two different occasions. In July they directed and selected nine Street artists for the production of a promotional video entitled “Graffiti” within the “F is for FENDI“ project; for a large FENDI event in Rome – “Les Journées Particulières” from October 14th to November 4th 2018, inside the FENDI headquarters, Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana – DRAGO organized and managed the live performances of eleven artists who created works of art in front of the public.
DRAGO has created and edited several exhibitions to great success, in particular “Angel of Decay” by Ed Templeton at the Roman Aquarium (whose catalog The Golden Age of Neglect has been in the top ten of Amazon for more than one season and is now considered collectable); also “Via Crucis”, by the artist Andrès Serrano at the ex-church of S. Marta in Rome and “Kennedy: the family, values, history”, the biggest European exhibition on the Kennedy family at the Temple of Hadrian (Rome).
DRAGO, with the guidance of Paulo von Vacano, deals with the conception, production and organization of exhibitions and major events in addition to acting as a communication agency, as was recently demonstrated in the design and production of the exhibition “Cross The Streets“ and its corresponding catalog, held at the MACRO – Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome, from 7 May to 15 October 2017.
“Cross The Streets“ was a cultural platform that laid the foundations for a historicization of the phenomenon of Writing and Street Art, pulling together the most influential artistic and media phenomena of the last forty years. For the first time, a counterculture, which by now has become a minority mainstream, rightfully entered the MACRO – Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome. The project was born from some fundamental concepts of Paulo’s research on Street counterculture and all its forms. As he writes in the catalog “The streets watch. The streets rule […] Choosing creativity to the detriment of crime is a position that encourages art, music and sport. The revolution takes place when the road enters the museum and the museum moves into the street. Whoever survives the streets governs the world!” The exhibition was promoted by Roma Capitale, Cultural Growth Department – Capitoline Superintendency of Cultural Heritage, conceived and produced by Drago, the ABC project of the Lazio Region and with the organizational support and Museum Services of Zètema Culture Project. The exhibition was also sponsored by CONI. “Cross The Streets“ represented an opportunity for Italian and international street artists to create site-specific works and live painting; a crossroads of more than 60 exhibited artists including Shepard Fairey aka Obey the Giant, Estevan Oriol, Invader, Evol, Boogie, WK Interact, Lee Quinones, Fab 5 Freddy, and. Among the Italians, Sten & Lex, Lucamaleonte, Ozmo and many more.
The exhibition was very successful in terms of public reception and participation in a series of major events organized for major sponsors such as Moet et Chandon and Moleskine. Following on from the success of “Cross The Streets”, an exhibition created and produced by Drago and already replicated abroad in 2018, new stages are being planned for other countries.
Another project that saw the involvement of DRAGO was “Art from the Streets“, which took place at the CAFA – Art Museum in Beijing, at La Condicion Publique by Rubaix in France and at the ArtScience Museum in Singapore. “Art from the Streets“, through the exhibition and the catalog, carries out a reflection on the evolution of Street Art tracing the lines of a historicization of the movement and analyzing in detail how technology has influenced the method of making art and communicating for contemporary artists. The exhibition, the largest Street Art exhibition ever held in Asia, involved the participation of historical artists along with new recruits, exhibiting works by Banksy, Ludo, Futura 2000, Lee Quinones, Blek le Rat, M-City and many others including the renowned Chinese street artists Yok & Sheryo and Sua Tunan. The collection was curated by Magda Danysz, curator of art galleries in Paris, Shanghai and London. DRAGO have published more than 120 titles. One of the most recent successes is The Street is Watching, the first anthology of Street Photography curated by Paulo von Vacano and Sarah Rosen, which saw the participation of more than 100 authors active between 1970 and today, from Bruce Gilden to Martha Cooper passing through Nan Goldin, Bruce Davidson, Dash Snow and Ryan McGinley. Another recent success is Full Frame, the first book of Futura 2000, one of the first and most established Street Artist on the world scene. It was published for his Parisian exhibition in December 2018.
Many editions are sold out and reprinted, among which we’re proud to mention: Muerte by Mike Giant (the founder of a famous generation of tattoo artists and designers), Shepard Fairey # OBEY (famous for his portrait of Obama’s portrait during US elections), a catalog of the artist’s first exhibition at PAN Museum in Naples , LA Woman by Estevan Oriol (the Hollywood star and Los Angeles gang photographer), Dynamic Phenomena by the young and most increasingly famous Portuguese artist Felipe Pantone, The Wrinkles of the City (both Los Angeles and Shanghai editions) by JR (winner of a Ted Prize and quoted by the Times as one of the 100 most influential people of 2017) and Anthologia, the largest and most comprehensive collection of photographs by Letizia Battaglia (photographer of the Sicilian mafia nominated by the New York Times as one of the most influential women of 2017), made for the occasion of the eponymous exhibition in 2016 that also launched the International Photography Center of Palermo. This last volume was produced in two languages and sold out in less than a year (reprinting for the spring of 2019).
In 2018 DRAGO published with La Sapienza University of Rome and GNAM Irene Brin, Gaspero del Corso and Galleria L’Obelisco, a catalog that recounts the contents of the eponymous conference and, as the first monograph on the Roman gallery, contains scientific contributions, testimonies and summaries accompanied by a rich collection of unpublished photographs. The Obelisk Gallery brought Robert Rauschenberg, Salvador Dali ‘, Paulo Gaugain and René Magritte to Italy, among others.
DRAGO for six years was the official publisher of the French Academy in Rome, Villa Medici, for which they produced all the publications of exhibitions and artists in residence including Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres / Ellsworth Kelly, Jean-Marc Bustamante and Painting or How to get rid of it. A particular highlight was Europunk – The Visual Culture of Punk in Europe, a catalog printed in three languages which sold out in a few months and was then republished at the behest of the director Eric de Chassey for the exhibition at the Cité de la Musique – Le parc de la Villette in Paris .