Arte Povera: From the Olnick Spanu Collection
Magazzino Italian Art and the Musei Civici di Cagliari presented Arte Povera: From the Olnick Spanu Collection, a selection of fifteen different artworks by twelve poveristi which were spread across two floors of the Palazzo di Città in Cagliari.
For the first time, Magazzino Italian Art Foundation worked together in partnership with an Italian museum to present two exhibitions, Arte Povera: From the Olnick Spanu Collection and Marco Anelli: Building Magazzino, in the spaces of Palazzo di Città of the Musei Civici di Cagliari which were on view until December 8, 2019.
The American institution was represented through fifteen carefully selected works by the main Arte Povera artists from the Olnick Spanu Collection, considered one of the largest and most complete collections of Arte Povera in the world. The story was enriched by the telling of the construction of Magazzino Italian Art Foundation through the photographs of Marco Anelli, presented for the first time in Italy with a series of unpublished works following exhibitions in New York and Washington D.C.
The two exhibitions together defined the making of the great cultural project of Magazzino Italian Art Foundation – located one hour from New York City. Magazzino Italian Art Foundation is devoted to presenting Italian Postwar and Contemporary Art, with a strong focus on the Arte Povera group, an explosive moment of artistic creativity recognized among the main movements of the national art of the second half of the 20th century in the United States, more specifically in the Hudson Valley, an area historically representative of American art and culture. The main creators of the project and co-founders of Magazzino Italian Art Foundation are Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu, born in New York and Sardinia respectively, who have been collectors of Contemporary Art for years.
The collaboration with the Musei Civici di Cagliari developed a relationship and an ideal bond, aligned by intentions and visions, which brought the Olnick Spanu Collection to the Contemporary Art Collection of the Musei Civici.
ARTE POVERA: FROM THE OLNICK SPANU COLLECTION
The exhibition presented fifteen works of twelve prestigious artists associated with the Arte Povera group: Giovanni Anselmo, Alighiero Boetti, Pierpaolo Calzolari, Luciano Fabro, Jannis Kounellis, Mario Merz, Marisa Merz, Giulio Paolini, Pino Pascali, Giuseppe Penone, Michelangelo Pistoletto, and Gilberto Zorio.
The masterpieces from the Olnick Spanu Collection came to Sardinia for the first time, many of them directly from the United States, to recount with completeness, synthesis and clarity the disruptive strength and the totalizing character of a group of artists that under the leadership of Germano Celant, represented the last Italian artistic avant-garde movement of the last century. The movement was born in the 60s in the main centers of Italian cultural production until it was recognized internationally, where it is still represented in the most important contemporary art institutions in the world.
The works which were on display included: Senza titolo by Giovanni Anselmo, Oggi nono giorno dodicesimo mese dell'anno 1000 nove 100 ottantotto, Legno Ferro and Dama by Alighiero Boetti, Senza titolo by Pier Paolo Calzolari, Basta la vista and Gioiello: Eco by Luciano Fabro, Senza titolo by Jannis Kounellis, Igloo by Mario Merz, Senza titolo by Marisa Merz, Itaca by Giulio Paolini, Samurai by Pino Pascali, Palpebra by Giuseppe Penone, Sfera di giornali by Michelangelo Pistoletto and Senza titolo by Gilberto Zorio.
About Cagliari’s Civic Museums
From the early 1900s to the contemporary, from Sardinian to Siamese art, Cagliari's Civic Museums preserve and display to the public the civic collections, gathered from the early years of the last century, in three distinct branches of the Municipal Art Gallery. The first civic museum of Sardinia was inaugurated in 1933 and dedicated to the art of the 20th century; its extension CArteC - cave for contemporary art, is dedicated to experimental site-specific projects; the Siamese Art Museum, which boasts Stefano Cardu’s precious and unique collection of Oriental Art from South East Asia, opened to the public in 1918; and Palazzo di Città, an exhibition space dedicated to temporary exhibitions.
These three locations, in the historic center of Cagliari, sites of extraordinary historical, architectural and landscape value, make the Civic Museums today a center of production and cultural dissemination, and a point of attraction for the city and tourists at the same time.
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Inspired by the art that Leo Brisson, a local student at Ithaca High School saw at Magazzino Italian Art, this research paper examines the political, cultural, and artistic context guiding the Italian post-war conceptual art movement known as Arte Povera.