7 Pages

art movements

Italy, with close economic and cultural links to Europe and the Americas, has reflected international trends in the visual arts much more than it has driven them. The broad outline of the international history of art since the Second World War-abstract expressionism, minimalism, pop, conceptual art, neo-expressionism-applies to Italy as well, despite some minor difference in labels. There are, however, some important features specific to contemporary Italian art. One is the unavoidable influence of Italy’s unique artistic heritage. Another is the extraordinary proliferation of artists’ groups. In fact, it seems that little artistic action took place in Italy without those involved first forming a group and issuing a manifesto, although often this was all that the group did as a unit before its members quickly went their separate ways. A third unique feature is the importance of critics and curators in assembling groups of artists, giving them a title and explanation, and mounting an exhibition or writing a book about them. Lionello Venturi and Astratto-Concreto, Gillo Dorfles and the MAC, Carlo Argan and Continuità, Germano Celant and arte povera, and Achille Bonito Oliva and the transavantgarde are all examples of the crucial intervention of art historians and critics in the creation of the artistic phenomenon that they claimed to be discovering.