1st Edition

Exhibiting Italian Art in the United States from Futurism to Arte Povera 'Like a Giant Screen'

By Raffaele Bedarida Copyright 2022
    244 Pages 55 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    244 Pages 55 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This volume explores how Italian institutions, dealers, critics, and artists constructed a modern national identity for Italy by exporting – literally and figuratively – contemporary art to the United States in key moments between 1929 and 1969.

    From artist Fortunato Depero opening his Futurist House in New York City to critic Germano Celant launching Arte Povera in the United States, Raffaele Bedarida examines the thick web of individuals and cultural environments beyond the two more canonical movements that shaped this project. By interrogating standard narratives of Italian Fascist propaganda on the one hand and American Cold War imperialism on the other, this book establishes a more nuanced transnational approach. The central thesis is that, beyond the immediate aims of political propaganda and conquering a new market for Italian art, these art exhibitions, publications, and the critical discourse aimed at American audiences all reflected back on their makers: they forced and helped Italians define their own modernity in relation to the world’s new dominant cultural and economic power.

    The book will be of interest to scholars working in art history, social history, exhibition history, and Italian studies.

    Introduction 1. (Prelude): "I Will Smash The Alps of the Atlantic:" Futurist Depero and Italian Americanism 2. Exporting Fascist Culture / Importing American Modernity 3. MoMA and the Post-War Rehabilitation of Italy 4. Tu Vuo Fa l’Americano: Catherine Viviano, Irene Brin, and Italian Art’s Conquest of Hollywood 5. Transatlantic Arte Povera: The Trojan Horse of Germano Celant


    Raffaele Bedarida is an Associate Professor of Art History at The Cooper Union, New York, where he directs the History and Theory of Art program.

    "Bedarida's analysis has the merit of putting works and facts at the center, with a first-hand archival excavation work on largely unexplored sources, through which he revises discourses and narratives that are dominant or have been consolidated by critical laziness. Against such narratives, the author emphasizes the porosity of his story, opening up ample margins for further study. [...] Indeed [Bedarida] provides a revised method by insisting on the need for 'different scales' of approach and evaluation, beyond competitions or hierarchies to be established in one [national school] or the other."

    --La Diana