Drago (publisher)

Drago (stylised as DRAGO) is an independent international publishing house of contemporary art based in Rome, Italy.[2][3][4] The company specialises in street and urban art[5] and has published the works of street photographers, street artists and graffiti writers from around the world. It is frequently involved in exhibitions of contemporary art and acts as the official publisher for various galleries, museums and institutions.[2]

Drago logo.jpg
FounderPaulo von Vacano
Country of originItaly
Headquarters locationRome
DistributionMessaggerie Italiane SPA (Italy)
Ingram Publisher Services (North America)
Vice Versa Art Books (Germany)
Interart (France)
Turnaround Publisher Services (UK)[1]
Publication typesBooks
Nonfiction topicsArt
Official websitewww.dragopublisher.com


Drago was founded in 2001 by Paulo Lucas von Vacano as publisher,[3][4] following years working as an Italian-German journalist and president of the Castelvecchi Publishing Company, Posse of Antonio Negri and Aspenia Magazine of The Aspen Institute.[6] He was joined by Domitilla Sartogo as executive director[5] and Nicola Veccia Scavalli as art director.

In the same year, the company published its first book, Brice Marden's Brice Marden: Opere Su Carta 1964-2001[7][8] which was followed by the publication of Ed Templeton's The Golden Age of Neglect in 2002. As well as selling out quickly,[9] this title became the professional skateboarder's best-known book.[10]

In 2002 Drago organized the Via Crucis by Andres Serrano, an exhibition, curated by Marianna Vecellio and Angela Dorazio in the converted church Santa Marta al Collegio Romano in Rome. In 2003 Drago took part to "Now Underground", an international exhibition curated by Cecilia Nesbit and for which Drago published its catalogue. In 2005 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 directs and produces the exhibition Kennedy: The Family, Values and History at the Temple of Hadrian in Rome. 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 2007 Drago published Muerte, the first book on Mike Giant. The book was one of Amazon’s best sellers for several seasons. During the years Drago has published several best seller as Young Sleek and Full of Hell by Aaron Rose with interventions by artists such as Terry Richardson, Chloë Sevigny, Mark Gonzales, Carlo McCormick, Harmony Korine, Oliver Zaham, Ryan McGinley, Ari Marcopoulos, Rita Ackermann, Barry McGee, Phil Frost and Bruce Labruce. In 2007 Drago also published Heroes by Adrian Tranquilli, the catalog of the artist's exhibition at the Galleria Stefania Miscetti in Rome.

More recently, Drago's books have included Miss Van's Wild at Heart; Estevan Oriol's LA Woman[11][12] and Boogie's Ah Wah do Dem, a book that received a score of 9.6/10 in a recent Street Hunters review.[13] Among other notable books are Letizia Battaglia’s Anthology, which has been mentioned on CNN,[14] BBC News,[15] The Wall Street Journal[16] and The Daily Beast.,[17] and the catalogue "Per Pura Passione", produced in a bilingual edition of the homonymous exhibition at MAXXI, National Museum of XXI Century Arts in Rome.

Drago has worked alongside many exhibitors of contemporary art. As the publisher of The French Academy in RomeVilla Medici, it has been in charge of all publications for exhibitions and artists-in-residence[2] and published many books with its director and art historian, Eric de Chassey.[18] such as "Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres / Ellworth Kelly", the homonymous catalog of the exhibition whose works by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres come from the Louvre museum and from the private collection of Ellsworth Kelly.

Amongst the publications for The French Academy in RomeVilla Medici is the famous Europunk, The Visual Culture of Punk in Europe, 1976-1980, the first anthology of its kind documenting punk subculture. In 2011 Drago realized From Style Writing to Art – a Street Art Anthology with the French curator Magda Danysz. In 2012 Drago published The Wrinkles of the City Shanghai [19] and The Wrinkles of the City Los Angeles[20] by the artist JR. In 2013 Drago realized LA Portraits, the second project with the photographer Estevan Oriol.

Elsewhere, the company has collaborated with the Outdoor Festival in Rome to produce a five-year catalogue of their exhibitions[21] and the Dorothy Circus Gallery in Rome to create a trilogy of books documenting over three years of exhibitions dedicated to the Lowbrow art movement[22][23] and Hello Here I Am, the first anthology of the Japanese artist Kazuki Takamatsu.

Among other clients are Nike, The L'Orèal Group, Danesi, The City of Rome, 55DSL, Alcatel and Bulgari.

Drago's most recent project has been an exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome. Curated by Paulo Lucas von Vacano and Christian Omodeo, Cross the Streets recounts 40 years of street art and graffiti writing in Rome and beyond. It hosts 200 artworks from a number of artists ranging from Shepard Fairey to DAIM including some that came to the museum specifically to produce artwork for the exhibition.[24]

In 2018 Drago gave birth to This Is Los Angeles by Estevan Oriol[25] and Art From the Streets, the catalogue of French gallerist Magda Danysz’s homonymous exhibition.[26]

During the 58th Art Biennale – 2019 – Venice, titled "May You Live in Interesting Times",[27] DRAGO brings to life to the Bahrain Pavilion, with the exhibition "The Wait: Contemporary Artists from Bahrain".[28] In 2019 Drago published Crash Kid, A Hip Hop Legacy[29] 

In 2020 Crossroads, a Glimpse into the Life of Alice Pasquini, the first anthology of the worldwide renown Street Artist Alicè, who has been elected artist of the year by Rai Radio Tre.[30] Drago also collaborates with the organization "Susan G. Komen Italia" for the creation of a mural, entrusted to Alice Pasquini,[31] on the theme of breast cancer treatment and prevention, scheduled during the annual event "Komen: Race for the Cure".

In April, author Drago Estevan Oriol climbed Netflix's Top Ten in the United States with "LA Originals",[32] a documentary created with Mister Cartoon on Chicano culture becoming a global artistic phenomenon.

In 2021 Drago publishes "B.A.D .: Beautiful and Determined", a book focused on the concept of beauty and self- acceptance. The book, result of decades of photographic research by the authors Erika Zanatta and Alessandra Tisato, is a manifesto on the empowerment of women and non-binary people. In the same year, on the occasion of the launch of the Red Valentino Spring / Summer 2021 campaign,[33] Drago created the monographic volume "Stazione Termini Lookbook 2009-2021" with the author of the campaign directed by Pierpaolo Piccioli, Niccolò Berretta. For more than ten years Niccolò Berretta has photographed people in the largest train station in Rome. Following the media coverage, including the Financial Times,[34] the volume was presented at LMDS, Le Monde de SHC in Shanghai and during the Pop Up Black Tag events in the concept stores in Rome and Milan.

"Neapolis" is the latest catalog published by Drago with the international photographer Boogie, a collector's photographic book on Naples with more than 80 black and white images and with the introduction of Luchè. "Street Life" is the first book by director and screenwriter Brad Mirman that explores the universe of Los Angeles from a unique and symbolic point of view. With more than one hundred black and white shots, photographer Brad Mirman shows us a West Coast never seen before, powerful and genuine, through timeless images that tell an emotion. From 8 to 10 October Drago participated as creative director and communication agency of the 21st edition of the International Tattoo Expo in Rome.[35]

In October 2021 Drago made Janette Beckman's monograph entitled "Rebels: From Punk to Dior". The book contains photos of the pioneers of the Hip hop movement such as Salt-N-Pepa, Run DMC, Grand Master Flash, Slick Rick e LL Cool J. In December Rebels was elected among the Books of the Year 2021 by the Rough Trade Center of New York. The Fotografiska Museum presented the volume as well as the Dior store in New York with the creation of a limited edition print. Among the media that have been involved in advertising appear The Guardian, Forbes, Fox5, VMagazine.

In the second semester of the 2021's academic year, Paulo von Vacano, publisher and CEO Drago, during the Fashion Studies degree course at Sapienza Università di Roma, held several "Luxury and High Fashion Brand Communication" lessons together with Professor Paolo Cenciarelli, bringing as case studies, various project experiences of his publishing house.

On December 8, 2021, Drago inaugurated, at the National Galleries of Ancient Art in Rome, the exhibition "Giuseppe Loy. A certain Italy. Photographs 1959-1981",[36] curated by Chiara Agradi and Angelo Loy. The catalog contains the texts of Edoardo Albinati, writer, Chiara Agradi, art historian, Luca Massimo Barbero, director of the Institute of Art History of the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Bruno Corà, president of the Fondazione Palazzo Albizzini Collezione Burri, Emilio Garroni, philosopher, Margherita Guccione, director of MAXXI Architettura, Angelo Loy, president of the Giuseppe Loy Photographic Archive, Rosetta Loy, writer, Alice Rohrwacher, director.

In April 2022 Drago created the "Jago" catalog for the first anthological exhibition of the homonymous sculptor at Palazzo Bonaparte (Rome). Jago - pseudonym of Jacopo Cardillo, but universally known as "The Social Artist" - represents the emblem of the contemporary artist who blends talent, attention to the tradition and tragic elements, with themes viscerally linked to the spirit of our times and made accessible thank to his innate communicative ability, which has generated his great success on social media and mass media.

Drago has published 152 titles, of which 12 have sold out.

Paulo von VacanoEdit

Paulo Lucas von Vacano is an Italian-German publisher based in Rome who founded Drago in 2002. A former journalist, he contributed to several international magazines and newspapers. He then served as president of the Castelvecchi Publishing Company where he produced 500 books and several magazines, including Toni Negri's Posse and Aspenia Magazine (of The Aspen Institute).[2][3]

As founder of Drago Publishing, he has curated several exhibitions, including "Cross The Streets" at the MACRO in 2017, which exhibited artists such as Shepard Fairey aka Obey the Giant, Estevan Oriol, Invader, Evol, Boogie, WK Interact, Lee Quinones, and Fab 5 Freddy.[37]

Other exhibitions he has curated include "Angel of Decay" by Ed Templeton, "Via Crucis" by the artist Andrès Serrano "Kennedy: the family, values, history", the biggest European exhibition on the Kennedy family at the Temple of Hadrian (Rome).[2][3]

Since 2014 Paulo Lucas von Vacano has been a share-holder of the Audaces Foundation, an international non-profit organization that provides educational platforms.[2]

Domitilla SartogoEdit

Domitilla Sartogo graduated with a BA in Fine Arts from the Cooper Union School of Art, New York. She has been the executive director of Drago since 2004. She previously worked as a graphic designer for the Richard Avedon Studio, as a talent scout and director of photography for Fabrica, the Benetton Group Center of Communications, as a professor of editorial design at the Parsons School of Design and as communications director for Borbonese, an Italian fashion brand where she also curated its fashion shows. She has acted as the executive director of the Florence Biennale of Fashion and Cinema,[38] with seven exhibitions focusing on the relationship between film and fashion that brought together set, costume, and fashion designers from around the world.

Selected booksEdit

Book seriesEdit

2007: 36 Chambers. Inspired by the film The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, the series features 17 books from a diverse range of contemporary artists including Nick Walker, Mike Giant and Ivory Serra.[39][40] For many of these artists, including Nick Walker, their contribution to the series was their first ever book.[41]


Drago exhibitionsEdit

Exhibition cataloguesEdit


  1. ^ "Contacts | DRAGO - International publishing house of contemporary art". 9 February 2017. Retrieved 2018-01-13.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Linford, Sarah (2015). ""S.AGE" – Dionysiac Creativity in the Age of Decadence Paulo Lucas Von Vacano Drago". ABA International Lecture Series. Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma.
  3. ^ a b c d Hammond, Drew (2011). "The King of Kool: Why Paulo von Vacano, founder of the art publishing house, Drago, thinks that street art already is the next big thang". Vol. 1, no. 8. The Art Economist. pp. 46–50.
  4. ^ a b Salmeron, François (5 July 2016). "Paulo Lucas von Vacano, La Street Photography Ouvre Les Portes de la Perception". Fisheye Magazine.
  5. ^ a b "Notes" (PDF). atCooper. The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. 2011. Domitilla Sartogo (A’90) is the Executive Director and Cofounder of Drago, an independent art publishing house based in Rome, Italy, that focuses on contemporary and urban art and produces exhibition catalogues and artist monographs
  6. ^ "Paulo von Vacano - Audaces Impact". Audaces Impact. Retrieved 2017-03-06.
  7. ^ Pratesi, Ludovico (December 14, 2001). "Brice Marden 40 anni d' arte Usa in settanta disegni". la Repubblica. (catalogo Drago)
  8. ^ "Brice Marden, a cura di Mario Codognato". Istituto Nazionale per la Grafica. 2001. Catalogo prodotto da Trolley e pubblicato in Italia da Drago
  9. ^ Craig, Jonnie. "Books You Should Own". HUH. Magazine. Archived from the original on 2017-03-25. If you want this book you should get yourself a copy on Amazon right now as it's becoming scarcer by the minute.
  10. ^ Fordham, Michael (April 10, 2016). "Long Read: Ed Templeton's Suburban Scenes". Huck Magazine. That book, Golden Age of Neglect, remains his best-known, besides the biographical Deformer of 2008.
  11. ^ Recinos, Erwin (November 18, 2013). "L.A. Taco Interview with Estevan Oriol". L.A. Taco. my publisher was blown away by the fan base buying up all the copies. We ended up selling out and tripped and said lets do the next book.
  12. ^ "BIO". Estevan Oriol. Retrieved 2017-02-22.
  13. ^ Sweigart, Andrew (2016-06-08). "Boogie's 'A Wah Do Dem'". Street Hunters. Retrieved 2017-01-25.
  14. ^ Barbie Latza Nadeau, for (6 May 2016). "Italy's bloody battle with the Mafia". CNN. Retrieved 2017-01-26.
  15. ^ "In pictures: Framing the Mafia". BBC News. 2016-10-26. Retrieved 2017-01-26.
  16. ^ Anthology, John Hooper | Photos by Letizia Battaglia Captions from the Book (2016-11-18). "Mafia Mayhem at a Museum". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2017-01-26.
  17. ^ Nadeau, Barbie Latza (2016-09-24). "One Woman Took on the Mafia with just a Camera". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2017-01-26.
  18. ^ Hammond, Drew (2011). "The Art Economist Interview: Éric de Chassey". Vol. 1, no. 8. The Art Economist. p. 50. As the author of many other books and exhibition catalogues, and the curator of numerous exhibitions, he also frequently has published with Drago.
  19. ^ JR-Art https://www.jr-art.net/projects/shanghai-chine. Retrieved 2020-04-08. {{cite news}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  20. ^ "JR street artist – "Wrinkles in the City" Los Angeles". de de ce Blog. 2012-04-07. Retrieved 2020-04-08.
  21. ^ ""Outdoor Urban Art Festival". Street artist internazionali e musica a Roma". La Gazzetta dello Sport - Tutto il rosa della vita (in Italian). Retrieved 2017-01-18.
  22. ^ "Events of Dorothy Circus Gallery during Rome Art Week". Rome Art Week. Dorothy Circus Gallery publishes many catalogues of its shows. Some of them edited by Drago Publishing and distributed all over the world.
  23. ^ "Gallery Spotlight: Interview with Alexandra Mazzanti of Dorothy Circus Gallery". Hi-Fructose Magazine. 2014-06-06. Retrieved 2017-01-18.
  24. ^ a b widewalls. "Cross the Streets - MACRO Museum Rome Salutes the Street Art Movement". WideWalls. Retrieved 2017-06-19.
  25. ^ "A Peek Inside This Is Los Angeles, Estevan's Oriol's Latest Photo Chronicle of L.A." Los Angeles Magazine. 2018-12-30. Retrieved 2020-04-08.
  26. ^ "Art From The Streets". Marina Bay Sands. Retrieved 2020-04-08.
  27. ^ "Venice Biennale Arte 2019: "May You Live in Interesting Times"". LaStampa. Retrieved 2020-04-08.
  28. ^ ""The Wait - Venice Biennale". The Wait- Exhibit at the Arsenale during the Venice Biennale". ARTBAB. Retrieved 2020-04-08.
  29. ^ "Crash Kid ci lascia in eredità la storia dell'Hip Hop italiano". La Casa Del Rap (in Italian). 2019-11-24. Retrieved 2020-04-08.
  30. ^ "La Street Art approda in radio: Alice Pasquini è l'artista del 2020 a Rai Radio3". ArtsLife. 2019-12-29. Retrieved 2020-04-08.
  31. ^ "Un murale di Alice Pasquini per la lotta del tumore al seno". 17 September 2019.
  32. ^ "Watch LA Originals | Netflix Official Site". Netflix.
  33. ^ https://www.redvalentino.com/experience/it/red-life/studio-red/spring-summer-2021-collection/
  34. ^ Simons, Baya (19 March 2021). "Dress your shelf: The five best new books about fashion". Financial Times.
  35. ^ "International Tattoo Expo Roma".
  36. ^ "Giuseppe Loy, il fotografo del miracolo italiano | Artribune". 3 April 2022.
  37. ^ "'Cross the Streets' al Macro di Roma, per storicizzare Writing e Street Art". Adnkronos. Retrieved 2019-03-18.
  38. ^ Biennale di Firenze 1998 Fashion/Cinema. Milan: Electa. 1998. ISBN 8843567640.
  39. ^ "Nick Walker "A Sequence of Events" at Black Rat (London) : Brooklyn Street Art". www.brooklynstreetart.com. Retrieved 2017-03-29.
  40. ^ "Sulla coda del drago di Francesca Bonazzoli su Urban". 1995-2015.undo.net (in Italian). Retrieved 2017-01-18.
  41. ^ "Nick Walker "A Sequence of Events"". Highsnobiety. 2017-03-29. Retrieved 2017-03-29.
  42. ^ "La foto 'sacre' di Andres Serrano il Caravaggio dei tempi moderni Milano fino al 19 novembre 2011". professione-fotografia.blogspot.it. Retrieved 2017-01-31.
  43. ^ "La mostra "Angel of decay"". www.architettiroma.it. Retrieved 2017-01-18.
  44. ^ "Paulo Lucas von Vacano – Drago | RomaProvinciaCreativa". www.romaprovinciacreativa.it (in Italian). Retrieved 2017-01-18.[permanent dead link]
  45. ^ "The Collection - Museum The Kennedys". www.thekennedys.de (in German). Retrieved 2017-01-18.
  46. ^ "ozmo - Ozmo web site". www.ozmo.it. Retrieved 2017-01-16.
  47. ^ "Roma: City Slang - The Street Comes To The Gallery". www.lasciailsegno.it. 2007-09-06. Retrieved 2017-01-19.
  48. ^ "Dalek + Mike Giant Galerie Magda Danysz Paris". 1995-2015.undo.net (in Italian). Retrieved 2017-01-31.
  49. ^ http://www.exibart.com. "fino al 6.VI.2010 - I Mutanti - Roma, Villa Medici". Exibart. Retrieved 2017-01-20. catalogo drago {{cite web}}: External link in |last= (help)
  50. ^ "A Villa Medici Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres Ellsworth Kelly". Il Faro Online. 2010-06-30. Retrieved 2017-01-20.
  51. ^ Biasi, Vittoria. "Inside The Europunk Exhibition. The Punk Cultural Vision In Europe During The Year 1976-80 | French Academy In Rome, Villa Medici". 1F Media Project. The exhibition EUROPUNK will be accompanied by a catalogue published in three languages (French, Italian and English) by Drago, with essays by Éric de Chassey, Jon Savage, and Jerry Goossens, complemented by facsimiles of fanzines and hundreds of images.
  52. ^ "Mostra del Cinema di Venezia, Lo sguardo non mente: "E tu, sei felice?"". www.vanityfair.it. Retrieved 2017-01-19.
  53. ^ "Vandalog – A Viral Art and Street Art Blog » "Wild At Heart" a Miss Van solo show". blog.vandalog.com. Retrieved 2017-01-31.
  54. ^ "Jean-Marc Bustamante a Villa Medici". Provincia di Roma. Sarà accompagnata da un catalogo edito dalla DRAGO con testi di Éric de Chassey e di Jean-Marc Bustamante.[permanent dead link]
  55. ^ "Israel now [reinventing the future] |". www.glocalproject.com (in Italian). Retrieved 2017-01-19.[permanent dead link]
  56. ^ Corp., absolutearts.com, World Wide Arts Resources. "June 22nd "Les Bains, artists residency" Exhibition + Book - absolutearts.com". www.absolutearts.com. Retrieved 2017-01-19.
  57. ^ "Magda Danysz : Les Bains – Résidence d'Artistes". Thomas Canto (in French). 2013-06-25. Retrieved 2017-01-19.
  58. ^ "Sean Scully: Change & Horizontals" (PDF). Embassy of the United States of America.
  59. ^ "Europunk alla Cité de la Musique". www.villamedici.it (in Italian). Retrieved 2017-01-19. La mostra è accompagnata da un catalogo edito dalla casa editrice Drago.
  60. ^ "Hantai Imprevisible". Air France Magazine. April 2014. p. 42.
  61. ^ Napoli, Comune di. "Comune di Napoli - Shepard Fairey. #OBEY". www.comune.napoli.it (in Italian). Retrieved 2017-01-18.
  62. ^ "Japanese tradition and digital art on show at the Dorothy Circus Gallery - Rome Central Magazine, city on the web". www.romecentral.com. 17 February 2015. Retrieved 2017-01-31.
  63. ^ Sweigart, Andrew (23 December 2016). "Press release: Letizia Battaglia's 'Just for passion'". Street Hunter. StreetHunter. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  64. ^ "Letizia Battaglia. Just for passion". MAXXI. Fondazione MAXXI. Retrieved 16 January 2017.

External linksEdit