Arte Povera: Artistic Tradition and Transatlantic Dialogue lecture series in 2023. Photo by Alexa Hoyer.

Arte Povera: Artistic Tradition and Transatlantic Dialogue

Lecture series which presents new perspectives on postwar Italian art.

The annual spring lecture series brings together some of the leading scholars of Arte Povera who present new perspectives on postwar Italian art. The 2023 Lecture Series, Arte Povera: Artistic Tradition and Transatlantic Dialogue, curated by Dr. Roberta Minnucci, Magazzino’s 2022-23 Scholar-in-Residence, will address research topics which are strictly interconnected with Arte Povera’s relationship with the past and its artistic exchanges with the United States. Participants for the 2023 season will feature Dr. Marin R. Sullivan, Dr. Roberta Minnucci, Dr. Laura Petican, and Dr. Raffaele Bedarida.

The four-part lecture series will explore how Arte Povera’s artistic identity was concurrently shaped, on the one hand, by the legacy of artistic tradition and, on the other, by its dialogue with American art. Presented by Germano Celant in 1967 to describe the experimental practices of a group of young Italian artists, Arte Povera adopted a process-oriented approach based on the investigation of unconventional materials and the active involvement of the viewer, situating itself in dialogue with artistic experiments emerging in Europe and the United States. As opposed to their international peers, however, a number of Arte Povera artists engaged profoundly with the past, employing references to Italian and European cultural heritage in order to reclaim a specific artistic identity in the face of the increasing global relevance of American contemporary art.

The award of the 1964 Venice Biennale’s Grand Prize to Robert Rauschenberg marked the international recognition of American Pop Art, which was condemned by Italian artists for being an uncritical celebration of consumer society promoted by a lucrative art market. Beyond this ideological opposition, however, some Arte Povera artists demonstrated a strong interest towards and profound knowledge of contemporary American artistic trends. The United States offered Italian artists an important international platform for presenting their works to a new audience, just as Italy provided American artists wider international exposure to their work in Europe. This generated an unprecedented artistic exchange between the two sides of the Atlantic, leading Italian and American artists to engage in a sustained dialogue that is still awaiting to be fully examined in the academic domain.

By considering the Italian artists’ relationship with their own cultural heritage as well as with the international artistic scene, Dr. Petican, Dr. Sullivan, Dr. Bedarida, and Dr. Minnucci will share their insight into the intricate dynamics embedded in the progressive definition of Arte Povera’s artistic identity. Each lecture will offer a more complex reading of Arte Povera’s relationship with cultural identity and the United States, shedding light on crucial themes within the current scholarly debate that include dynamics of influence, transatlantic exchange, cultural diplomacy, and artistic heritage.

The lectures will last approximately 45 minutes and be followed by a Q&A session. 

If commuting by train, please be sure to add a shuttle ticket to your order.

Details on each program and lecturer follow below:​

Material Dispersions: Sculpture and Photography in Postwar Italy
Dr. Marin R. Sullivan, Independent Scholar and Curator
March 18, 2023 l 12 p.m.
Reserve your spot

Dr. Marin R. Sullivan’s lecture will focus on a selection of sculptural projects made by foreign and Italian artists during the 1960s and 1970s as a means to examine how the terms of sculpture were being transformed through transatlantic exchanges.

Casting the Past: Arte Povera and Classical Sculpture
Dr. Roberta Minnucci, Magazzino Italian Art 2022-23 Scholar-in-Residence
April 1, 2023 l 12 p.m.
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Dr. Roberta Minnucci’s presentation will investigate the reinterpretation of classical statuary in Arte Povera by examining how some artists in particular – namely Jannis Kounellis, Giulio Paolini and Michelangelo Pistoletto – engaged with sculptural materiality and figuration while exploring the layered temporalities of the work of art.

Arte Povera and the Baroque: The Evolution of National Identity
Dr. Laura Petican, Independent Scholar
April 15, 2023 l 12 p.m.
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Dr. Laura Petican’s lecture will examine Arte Povera’s relationship with the Baroque as a historical and conceptual category, shedding light on Arte Povera's relation to national identity, cultural heritage, and art historical narratives.

Between Cultural Diplomacy and Counterculture: Eugenio Battisti, Alan Solomon, and the Exhibition Young Italians in 1968
Dr. Raffaele Bedarida, Associate Professor of Art History at the Cooper Union, New York
April 30, 2023 l 12 p.m.
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Dr. Raffaele Bedarida’s lecture will focus on the promotion and reception of Arte Povera in the U.S., investigating how this process contributed to shape Arte Povera’s Italian identity within an international context.

About Roberta Minnucci

Dr. Roberta Minnucci is an art historian and curator specializing in postwar Italian art. She has obtained her PhD from the University of Nottingham with a thesis which examined Arte Povera’s engagement with cultural memory. Prior to joining Magazzino Italian Art as the current Scholar-in-Residence, Dr. Minnucci was a Rome Award holder at the British School at Rome and the recipient of the first edition of the “Researching and Rewriting Contemporary Art History" Scholarship promoted by Fondazione Baruchello. Her research has been supported by the Getty Foundation, the Association for Art History, the Association for the Study of Modern Italy, and the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Her articles and essays have been published in peer-reviewed academic journals and exhibition catalogues. She has gained curatorial and research experience at different institutions including: Tate Modern, Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art, Christie’s, Southampton City Art Gallery, Castello di Rivoli and Museo Fondazione Pino Pascali.

About Marin R. Sullivan

Dr. Marin R. Sullivan is a Chicago-based art historian, curator, consultant, educator, and writer with a PhD from the University of Michigan. She specializes in the histories of modern and contemporary sculpture, especially its interdisciplinary, intermedial dialogues with photography, design, and the built environment. Sullivan is the Director of the Harry Bertoia Catalogue Raisonné and was the co-curator of Harry Bertoia: Sculpting Mid-Century Modern Life, organized by the Nasher Sculpture Center. She is the author of Alloys: American Sculpture and Architecture at Midcentury (Princeton University Press, 2022) and Sculptural Materiality in the Age of Conceptualism (Routledge, 2017) as well as numerous catalogue essays and articles. Sullivan currently serves on the Board of Docomomo US/Chicago and is a lecturer and guest curator at DePaul University.

About Laura Petican

Dr. Laura Petican is an art historian, curator, author, and cultural programs director. Her research is centred in contemporary Italian art and fashion studies. Dr. Petican received her BA and MA in Art History from Western University, Canada; a PhD from Jacobs University, Germany; and a Post-Doctoral Fellowship awarded by the Social Sciences and Research Council of Canada. She has authored the monograph Arte Povera and the Baroque: Building an International Identity, followed by Contemporary Italian Art, Fashion, and the Evolution of Italianità, to be published in 2024 within the Routledge Research in Art History series; and is editor of Fashion and Contemporaneity: Realms of the Visible; co-editor of the recently published In Fashion: Culture, Commerce, Craft, and Identity; and was Exhibitions Reviews Editor for Catwalk: The Journal of Fashion, Style and Beauty. Her research has been presented with the College Art Association, American Association of Italian Studies, the Italian Art Society, the Fashion: Exploring Critical Issues conference in Oxford, United Kingdom; the Center for Italian Modern Art, New York; and the American University of Rome, Italy. Dr. Petican has served as Chair of the Arts and Culture Commission of Corpus Christi, as a Collections Committee Member of the Art Museum of South Texas, and is Curatorial Advisor for Blue Light Contemporary.

About Raffaele Bedarida

Dr. Raffaele Bedarida is an art historian and curator specializing in transnational modernism and politics. His research has focused on cultural diplomacy, migration, and exchange between Italy and the United States. He has also worked on exhibition history, censorship, and propaganda under Fascism and during the Cold War. An associate professor at Cooper Union, he holds a PhD from the CUNY Graduate Center as well as a BA and MA from the University of Siena. His academic articles and essays have been published extensively in periodicals, such as Oxford Art Journal, International Yearbook of Futurism Studies, and Artforum. Bedarida’s most recent books are the monograph Exhibiting Italian Art in the US. Futurism to Arte Povera (Routledge, 2022) and the edited volume Curating Fascism: Exhibitions and Memory from the Fall of Mussolini to Today, co-edited with Sharon Hecker (Bloomsbury, 2022). He is currently curating an exhibition on Italian artist Corrado Cagli to be held at the Center for Italian Modern Art (CIMA) in New York in the Fall 2023.

Notes on Making: Art, Labor, and Language in Postwar Rome

Magazzino Italian Art
March 19, 2022
Dr. Katie Larson examined the role of art, labor, and language in the work of Emilio Villa, Alberto Burri, Giorgio Ascani (Nuvolo), Mimmo Rotella, and Jannis Kounellis.

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