Press Release

Four-Part Lecture Series at Magazzino This Spring Explores Arte Povera's Global Vision

Cold Spring, NY
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Magazzino Italian Art presents "Una visione globale": Arte Povera's Worlds, four-part lecture series that invites leading scholars to discuss models of internationalism and globalism in Arte Povera. Curated by Magazzino 2019-20 Scholar-in-Residence Tenley Bick, who serves as Assistant Professor of Global Contemporary Art at Florida State University, the series draws its title from the texts of Arte Povera’s founder Germano Celant. The series reflects on Arte Povera’s engagement with sociopolitical movements and cultural geopolitics around the globe, explorations of Marxism and socialist humanism, and frequent natural, planetary, and cartographic references.  Lectures in the 2020 series include: 

  • A study of the parallels between Arte Povera’s driving ethos and the practices of Turin-based artist and publisher Ezio Gribaudo (March 21);
  • Pino Pascali’s artistic engagements with the Mediterranean (April 4);
  • An investigation of early Arte Povera’s relationship to American Pop and Cold War politics through examination of Michelangelo Pistoletto’s mirror paintings, specifically his understudied Comizi (Rallies) series paintings (April 18); and
  • An exploration of Arte Povera artist Jannis Kounellis’ creative production as seen through a transnational lens (May 2).

“Our annual lecture series is dedicated to advancing new scholarship and serving as a platform for research and critical assessment of Italian postwar and contemporary art,” said Magazzino Director Vittorio Calabrese. “This year’s series, organized by our Scholar-in-Residence Tenley Bick, looks at Arte Povera within an international context, aligning with our programmatic theme for 2020.” 

"By addressing Arte Povera's understudied global vision, the series aims to intervene in misconceptions that might hold Italian art and culture apart from international exchanges and global discourse,” said Bick. 

Note: As a precautionary measure, Magazzino Italian Art is closing its galleries from March 12 through March 26, 2020. The March 21 lecture Ezio Gribaudo and Arte Povera: Parallel Tracks from Turin to the World (1966–1972) by Victoria Surliuga, will be digitally streamed. 

Each lecture lasts approximately 45 minutes, followed by a Q&A session. Tickets for the April and May lectures can be reserved free-of-charge on Eventbrite here.

Details on each program and lecturer follow below:

Ezio Gribaudo and Arte Povera: Parallel Tracks from Turin to the World (1966–1972) 

Victoria Surliuga, Associate Professor of Italian Studies, Italian Program Coordinator, and World Cinema Coordinator at Texas Tech University

March 21, 3–5 p.m.

Surliuga explores the life and work of Turin-based artist and publisher Ezio Gribaudo, winner of the 33rd Venice Biennale in 1966. A contemporary of Germano Celant, Gribaudo worked closely with many key figures of modern art from around the world, including Marcel Duchamp, Peggy Guggenheim, Joan Miró, and Francis Bacon, among others. Mirroring Celant’s endeavor to turn Arte Povera into an artistic trend with a global impact, Gribaudo had a keen interest in expanding the international scope of his artistic and editorial work. Belonging neither to Arte Povera nor any school, Gribaudo’s work is nonetheless essential to a more thorough understanding of contemporary Italian art. 

About Victoria Surliuga 

Victoria Surliuga is Associate Professor of Italian Studies, Italian Program Coordinator, and World Cinema Coordinator at Texas Tech University. She is a scholar of modern and contemporary Italian art, cinema, and literature, as well as a poet and a translator. She was awarded The 1905 Fellowship of the Mount Holyoke College Alumnae Association for her research on Peggy Guggenheim and art patronage, a grant to the Italian Program at Texas Tech University from the CH Foundation to curate the exhibition Ezio Gribaudo’s Theaters of Memory at the Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts (2016), Scholarship Catalyst Grants from Texas Tech University, and was Humanities Fellow at the Humanities Center of Texas Tech University. She has also curated two other exhibitions on Ezio Gribaudo at Texas Tech University: Ezio Gribaudo: Life and Art (2019), Ezio Gribaudo: A Lifetime in Art (2018). Her publications on Gribaudo include five books: Ezio Gribaudo’s Seashells (Pistoia: Edizioni Gli Ori, 2019), Ezio Gribaudo: Enchanted Archaeology (Pistoia: Edizioni Gli Ori, 2018), Landscapes by Ezio Gribaudo (Torino: Archivio Gribaudo, 2018), Ezio Gribaudo: My Pinocchio (Pistoia: Edizioni Gli Ori, 2017), Ezio Gribaudo: The Man in the Middle of Modernism (New York and London: Glitterati, 2016; First Place President’s Faculty Book Award, Texas Tech University, for 2017–2018). 

Pino Pascali: Between Arte Povera and the Mediterranean 

Valérie Da Costa, Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Art History at the University of Strasbourg

April 4, 3–5 p.m.

Da Costa addresses the concept of “the Mediterranean” in the practice of Italian artist Pino Pascali. Pascali’s work across a range of materials—including water, mud, fake fur, and steel wool—led to a reconceptualization of sculpture as a medium, as well as the exhibition as a space. Focused on the artist’s sculptural turn to the Mediterranean in 1967 and 1968, this lecture offers a re-reading of Pino Pascali’s work based on anthropology and critical texts of Claude Lévi-Strauss, Ernesto de Martino, and Pier Paolo Pasolini within the historical context of the beginning of Arte Povera. Da Costa’s research focuses on Italian art in the second half of the 20th century.

About Valérie Da Costa

Valérie Da Costa is Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Art History at the University of Strasbourg. Her research focuses in particular on Italian art. She is the author of numerous texts and books including: Ecrits de Lucio Fontana (Paris: Les presses du réel, 2013), Pino Pascali: retour à la Méditerranée (Les presses du réel, 2015), Fabio Mauri: le passé en actes / The Past in Acts (Les presses du réel, 2018), “Arte Povera, hier et aujourd’hui,” Les Cahiers du Musée national d’art moderne, n. 143, ed. Valérie Da Costa (Spring 2018). In 2019, she received the Research Travel Grant from the Terra Foundation for American Art for her new research on Paul Thek in Italy (1962–1975).

Michelangelo Pistoletto’s Comizi (1965–1966): Pop, Protest, and Politics in Early Arte Povera

Tenley Bick, 2019-20 Scholar-in-Residence at Magazzino Italian Art and Assistant Professor of Global Contemporary Art at Florida State University

April 18, 3–5 p.m. 

Bick examines Michelangelo Pistoletto’s quadri specchianti (mirror paintings) through investigation of his understudied Comizi (Rallies) series, inspired by the political climate and tumultuous context of mid-1960s Italy. By shedding light on the Comizi and related works’ navigation of Italian labor politics, American Pop, and the cultural geopolitics of the transatlantic context of the early Cold War, this lecture introduces the Comizi as the birthplace of Arte Povera and proposes a new model of political figuration in the 1960s, repositioning our understanding of the mirror paintings and the history of postwar Italian and European art. 

About Tenley Bick

Tenley Bick is Assistant Professor of Global Contemporary Art at Florida State University and the 2019–20 Scholar-in-Residence at Magazzino Italian Art Foundation in New York. In addition to her work on Arte Povera and Italian art of the 1960s and 1970s, her research addresses postcoloniality, interventionist practices, and the legacy of countercultural aesthetics in contemporary Italian art. Her book in preparation, entitled Where There’s Everything: Michelangelo Pistoletto and World-Building in Arte Povera, examines models of world-building in Pistoletto's work and Arte Povera within the politicized cultural contexts of post-WWII Italy and against the geopolitical horizon for art of the 1960s. Her publications have appeared in Third Text, African Arts, and in the volume Theorizing Visual Studies: Writing Through the Discipline (eds. J. Elkins and K. McGuire, et al.). Her translation work has also been published, appearing in the catalog for the internationally traveling exhibition, Ends of the Earth: Land Art to 1974 (eds. M. Kwon and P. Kaiser). She has received major fellowships from Magazzino Italian Art and the Institute of International Education. She has recently presented her work on Pistoletto at the Bibliotheca Hertziana–Max Planck Institute in Rome and her research on the work of Wu Ming 2 and Fare Ala at the 2020 CAA national conference. She holds an MA and PhD in art history from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and a BA with Honors in Art History from Stanford University. 

Salt and Copper: Stratified Questions and Replies from an Interview with Jannis Kounellis 

Chris Bennett, Assistant Professor of Art History/Contemporary Art at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette

May 2, 3–5 p.m. 

Bennett explores Arte Povera artist Jannis Kounellis’ production through a transnational lens. Based on an interview with the artist conducted in New York City in 2013, the lecture focuses on four insights generated by the discussion, ranging from Kounellis’ self-described “discovery” of an ongoing global “logic” for his work, to his global and conceptual enactment of artwork as perpetually “unfinished.” Drawing on Kounellis’ frequent allusion to themes of migration and transit in his work, Bennett offers new insights to the broader history of Arte Povera through close examinations of specific works and sets out to connect Arte Povera’s very founding, as a configuration, to the broader terrain of international contemporary artistic practice.

About Chris Bennett

Chris Bennett is Assistant Professor of Art History/Contemporary Art at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He completed his Ph.D. with a focus on the production of Boetti and Pascali, and art since 1945 more broadly, at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 2008. He has held research fellowships at the American Academy in Rome and the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. Now working on an ongoing book project on the Italian Arte Povera group—he has recently published essay chapters in the peer-reviewed edited volumes Postwar Italian Art History Today: Untying ‘the Knot’ and Breaking with Convention in Italian Art, and, in collaboration with the Hilliard University Art Museum in Lafayette, Louisiana, the exhibition catalog Sandra Eula Lee Make of/Make Do, Yun-Fei Ji Looking for Lehman Brothers (2017–18). He presented research at the CAA National Conference in New York in February 2019 focused on the art of Franco Angeli as part of the panel “Public Monuments and Sculpture in Postwar Europe.”

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Alighiero Boetti, Mappa, 1983, embroidery on fabric. Photo by Marco Anelli.

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