Tuesday, April 26, 2016

IMAGINE! Italian Art in the 1960s at Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice

Roof Terrace at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection - Photo: Cat Bauer
(Venice, Italy) Imagine sipping prosecco and munching elegant nibbles while gazing at the Grand Canal. Imagine Italy back in the 1960s, after the war and during the economic boom. Imagine what the art world would be like today if Peggy Guggenheim had not scooped up the work of some of the best contemporary artists and sheltered them in her home. Imagine...

When the weather is fine, one of the most beautiful spots for a press conference in Venice is on the roof terrace of Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, once home to Peggy Guggenheim, and now home to her collection of modern art. That is where Luca Massimo Barberto, curator of IMAGINE, presented the Guggenheim's latest exhibition to the press.

Drive-In House by Fabio Mauri (1960)
IMAGINE. New Imagery in Italian Art 1960-1969 focuses on some of the leading avant-garde Italian artists of the 60s, and examines the origins and development of new kinds of figurative imagery in Italian art.

In Italy, the 60s were a time of the "boom," when the country transformed into an industrial power, and the art and culture scene radically shifted to reflect the changing times. Without categorizing the period into labels or movements, the exhibition presents a highly selective sampling of Italian artists working during this critical time.

Papal Crest by Franco Angeli (1964)
Each gallery of the exhibition presents different techniques the avant-garde artists experimented with. The first section is entitled "Matter and Screen," and features the use of a screen, where things could both appear and be hidden, and where images were fleeting.

Venus, after Botticelli by Giosetta Fioroni (1965)
Unlike British or American Pop Art, the Italian avant-garde artists bucked the international trend and looked, instead, to art history, creating a "New Mythology," featuring works by Tano Festa, Giosetta Fioroni and Mario Ceroli..

Body in Motion by Mario Schifano (1963)
Two rooms are dedicated to enfant terrible Mario Schifano, one of the greatest Italian painters of the post-war era and a central figure in the return to the image, featuring work he created in reaction to his stay in New York. Body in Motion and in Equilibrium was a key work, going against the world's stampede towards mechanization in media and photography, and instead celebrating the value of humanity.

In the early 60s, Schifano got a studio at 791 Broadway where Jasper Johns and the poet Frank O'Hara also lived. He caroused through the city with O'Hara. One of the results: Words and Drawings, words from the poet and drawings from the artist in a portfolio.

Schifano was part of the groundbreaking International Exhibition of the New Realists show organized by Sidney Janis in 1962, together with such artists as Lichtenstein, Warhol, Oldenburg and Jasper Johns.

Red Dress Collar by Domenico Gnoli (1969)
The next gallery contains samples of Domenico Gnoli's "strange universe:"

"I like America, but my ties are all to Italy. I am metaphysical insofar as I seek painting which is non-eloquent, still and atmospheric, fulled by static sensations. I am not metaphysical because I have never sought to stage, to construct an image. I always use simple and given elements, I want neither to add nor subtract anything. I have never even wanted to distort: I isolate and I represent. My themes are derived from actuality, from the familiar situations of daily life; since I never intervene actively against the object, I can sense the magic of its presence."

Self-portrait by Giulio Paolini (1968)
"Image, Photograph, Current Affairs" is a gallery that examines the relation of the Italian pictorial image to the world of photography and the media. Mimo Rotella experimented with photo-mechanical processes; Giulio Paolini was interested in the photographed image in relationship to the concept of time, asserting "Each of my works, by extension, is a photograph... it is from the experience of photography that the meaning of drawing is acquired, for that which is drawn to be true and thus, for ever, intact."

Burnt Rose by Michelangelo Pistoletto (1965)
The last rooms contain works by Pino Pascali, Michelangelo Pistoletto and Jannis Kounelli in "The Form of the Metaphor, The Forms of Nature," where the idea morphs into an object.

IMAGINE. NEW IMAGERY IN ITALIAN ART 1960-1969 runs through September 19, 2016 at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection.

Images courtesy the Peggy Guggenheim Collection.

Ciao from Venezia,
Cat Bauer
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

1 comment:

  1. Imagine sipping prosecco and munching elegant nibbles while gazing at the Grand Canal. Imagine Italy back in the 1960s, after the war and during the economic boom. Imagine what the art world would be like today if Peggy Guggenheim had not scooped up the work of some of the best contemporary artists and sheltered them in her home. Imagine...

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