Nick Palazzo forever

Nick Palazzo was a young , brillant self-taught Italo-Canadian painter who died of Aids at the age of 30. I had the occasion to meet him for ViceVersa magazine when he was working for the family mini-market. Between two customers, he would sketch a gesture, a person’s attitude, the corner of an urban landscape in this shopping centre in the outer suburbs of Montreal. His painting was both highly personal and universal. If there are any similarities with Bacon or Dali, it’s in the way he dismantled the Imago by returning it to its origin: the mask of death. Hence the palpable melancholy in all his canvases. Knowing that he was doomed, he captured, like no other, a certain Americanness as seen during the AIDS years, which were also, we often forget, a great moment of creativity. Nick Palazzo understood this. Despite his illness, he captured these snapshots of Montreal life in small format (18″ x 14″): the naked, abandoned bodies of his lovers and that incredibly intense northern light that crushes the urban landscape with all its weight. The article I wrote at the time was included in Painting Moments, Art, AIDS and Nick Palazzo (Guernica Editions, 1998) written by Mary Melfi and published in 1998 and then adapted for theater.  One of her readers alerted the archivist at Visual AIDS , which is dedicated to artists who have died of AIDS and provides a sad but wonderful record of the period.
Agatha DeSantis, editor and film producer, intends to make a documentary about the artist. Since his death, no gallery has given him the exhibition he deserves.