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Art as an ironic take against consumerism,
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This review is from: Piero Manzoni (Hardcover)
This book is the catalogue for a museum-quality Manzoni retrospective held at the Gagosian gallery in NYC in early 2009 (the first such exhibition since 1972) and was written by legendary Italian critic and curator Germano Celant. As far as I know, it is the only such publication in English on this major and meteoric figure of conceptual Italian art.
It covers the 7 years (from 1956 to 1963)that represent the artist's short but highly influential career (interrupted by his sudden death of a heart attack at the age of 29)and starts with a very interesting in-depth essay which aims at placing Manzoni's art in the historic,economic and sociological context of the 1950's and 1960's, as well as confronting it to its various contemporary influences (Rauschenberg, Burri, Klein, Fontana, etc).
Germano Celant being what he is, i.e. one of the most important post-war art critics (he virtually founded the Arte Povera movement in Italy in 1967)and the author of the latest catalogue raisonné of Manzoni's work, the text is brilliant and didactic and succeeds in its main objective: to show that Manzoni was a major influence on contemporary art from the 1960's onward and that his art cannot be separated from a global vision of the world of the period. Manzoni's art is first and foremost a harsh criticism of consumerism, a trend that durably marked Italy's economic miracle of the 1960's, and beyond that, a profound and ironic reflexion on the transient nature of all human deeds (including art itself).
The illustrations are wonderful and enable the reader to see the intricate texture of some works (especially in the case of the Achrome series). Undoubtedly one of the best recent contemporary art publications.