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In September of 1988, a young Nathalie Heinich went to see Harald Szeemann in his studio in Monte Verità. She interviewed him, seeking confirmation of her feeling that the figure of the curator increasingly resembled that of the artist. And who better to tell her than Harald Szeemann, whose thirty years of curating exhibitions brought forth an approach all his own?Once the youngest-ever Director of the Kunsthalle Bern, Szeemann was also the General Secretary of documenta 5 in Kassel (1972), but he attained mythical status with the ground-breaking “When Attitudes Become Form”, a cathartic 1969 exhibition that broke with the past, in search of a new aesthetic. Among curators-creators, Szeemann is a “case apart”, thanks to an inimitable style that, found far from the beaten path, always heeded his own instincts, shifting the focus from the official value of a given work to an almost sentimental relationship with the artist and the materials on exhibit. A curator-creator must rely on his or her sixth sense, on private obsessions, focussing not on career advancement but on subjects that they, and they alone, can address.In defending his or her uniquely personal outlook, the curator moulds the contents of each exhibition, as well as the logical link between one exhibition and another, establishing a magnum opus which increasingly resembles one large, personal work driven by an intimate necessity, fuelled by the scenarios of a biographical arc, and not simply by chance or the dictates of an institutional program.
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Harald Szeemann

Un caso singolare

Nathalie Heinich

publisher: Johan & Levi

pages: 69 pages

In September of 1988, a young Nathalie Heinich went to see Harald Szeemann in his studio in Monte Verità. She interviewed him, seeking confirmation of her feeling that the figure of the curator increasingly resembled that of the artist. And who better to tell her than Harald Szeemann, whose thirty years of curating exhibitions brought forth an app

La Mamma

Una mostra di Harald Szeemann mai realizzata

Pietro Rigolo

publisher: Johan & Levi

pages: 64 pages

After serving as the Kunsthalle Bern’s youngest-ever director, and as the general secretary of documenta 5 (Kassel, 1972), Harald Szeemann severed his ties with the institutional world, taking a radically different approach to the form and content of exhibitions by expanding their focus to include not just the modern art on display, but also priv

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Iperrealismi tra pittura e cinema

Rinaldo Censi

publisher: Johan & Levi

pages: 76 pages

Hyperrealism is usually taken to mean the current in painting that represents reality by starting from a photographic image which is enlarged as much as possible and then drawn, in an attempt to get as close as possible to life-like perception. However the phenomenon has developed in various ways and to date there is no single definition of hyperre
This work in praise of the “funny guy” Francis Picabia as the inventor of Pop Art was born out of the posthumous discovery of a set of twelve ink drawings on paper that he produced in 1923. Intended as covers for André Breton’s literary revue Littérature but never published, the drawings are copies of advertisements taken from magazines and department store brochures complete with the name and price of the article concerned. Picabia added his initials to this simple advertising material, perhaps as an ironic comment on his inability to sell himself and perhaps to play down the failure of his show at the Dalmau gallery in Barcelona, which Breton witnessed. They mark a stylistic and thematic turning point with respect to the artist’s previous projects. Picabia was the first to use marketing material as a strategy of artistic subversion, elevating crude advertising to the status of artwork. He thus invented Pop Art and can be seen as a forerunner of Warhol, Lichtenstein and Rosenquist. The author reconstructs the context and circumstances in which the drawings were poduced. The period 1922–23 saw the implosion of the Dada movement and its drift into Surrealism, the publication of Littérature as a forum for the artists and writers involved to air their sometimes conflicting views, the friendship and collaboration between Picabia and Breton, and the journey by car to Barcelona for the show at the Galerie Dalmau preceded by a lecture at the Ateneu Barcelonés. This is not a text for specialists and the author, while addressing a little-known and highly specific part of Picabia’s superabundant and kaleidoscopic oeuvre, succeeds in introducing the ordinary reader to the artist’s universe and the context in which he worked. Lebel is no denigrator of American Pop Art. Picabia’s drawings had yet to be rediscovered and were never seen by Warhol and the other Pop artists. There is thus no suggestion that the Americans “stole” the idea from him. The text is accompanied by a previously unpublished material in the shape of a letter from Picabia to Breton dated 1923 and a drawing of the same year that accompanied it.    
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Elogio di "Funny Guy" Picabia, inventore della Pop Art

Jean-Jacques Lebel

publisher: Johan & Levi

pages: 52 pages

This work in praise of the “funny guy” Francis Picabia as the inventor of Pop Art was born out of the posthumous discovery of a set of twelve ink drawings on paper that he produced in 1923. Intended as covers for André Breton’s literary revue Littérature but never published, the drawings are copies of advertisements taken from magazines and
The machine and the star, emblems bequeathed by Duchamp to the second half of the 20th century, provide the basis for three short essays on the theme of inspiration and its intermittency, a crucial point for the modernist tradition that is often overlooked by scholars. Michele Dantini seeks to shed new light on the metaphor of the artist as machine and how the first ready-mades (c. 1913) undermined the creative process as an ordered professional routine that had traditionally characterized the transposition of idea into image. Though liberating in some respects, this revolution also had alarming implications experienced in all their urgency by the Art Informel generation. How to find protection against the discontinuity of inspiration? How to endow interior time with duration if everything boils down to the unrepeatable exceptionality of the instant? Ranging from the American movements of the 1950s to Conceptual Art and Arte Povera, Michele Dantini focuses on three fundamental stages, namely Duchamp’s “monster works”, the flags and the rotating devices of Jasper Johns, and the drawings and embroideries of Arrigo Boetti. The reinvention of the artist’s profession is analyzed step by step: the curious adoption of the ready-made in order to restore plausibility and vigour to traditional techniques; the indefinite dilation of the time of execution: the art of repetition and the creation of satisfying routines (series, catalogues and encyclopaedias) through “automatic” procedures that are impersonal and can even be delegated. It is the task of the “wretched viewers” and their perspicacity to identify continuity in transition within the works, to reconstruct the underlying metaphors and “to interpret a routine suddenly swept clean of recognizable points of reference and techniques”.
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Macchina e stella

Tre studi su arte, storia dell'arte e clandestinità: Duchamp, Johns, Boetti

Michele Dantini

publisher: Johan & Levi

pages: 96 pages

The machine and the star, emblems bequeathed by Duchamp to the second half of the 20th century, provide the basis for three short essays on the theme of inspiration and its intermittency, a crucial point for the modernist tradition that is often overlooked by scholars. Michele Dantini seeks to shed new light on the metaphor of the artist as machine

Di tutto un pop

Un percorso fra arte e scrittura nell'opera di Mike Kelley

Marco Enrico Giacomelli

publisher: Johan & Levi

pages: 72 pages

Known primarily as a visual artist, Mike Kelley was in actual fact an irrepressible, multifaceted figure. In addition to using the most varied means of expression, from drawing to video, performance and installation, he often went beyond the traditional boundaries of the work by incorporating writing in the creative process and producing statements
This book reconstructs the life and artistic career of the photographer Ghitta Carell (1899-1972). A Hungarian Jew, in 1924 she moved to Italy, where she rapidly became one of the country’s most famous portrait photographers. Exhibiting great determination, Carell entered into contact with Italy’s aristocracy and leading intellectual and political circles. She photographed Maria Jose of Savoy and the Royal Family, and the twentieth century art critic and theorist Margherita Sarfatti. Hers were some of the most famous shots of Benito Mussolini, photographs which made her famous and which remain some of the best known images of Il Duce to this day. In 1938 she experienced the nightmare of anti-Semitism and the war, while the post-war period saw her enter a gradual decline. The story of her life and artistic career possesses a much broader reach than classic accounts of the modern period. While often dismissed as the “photographer of power”, or “of the heart”, Carell’s photography is altogether more refined and complex. Her polished work forges a captivating dialogue that melds the tensions and contrasts between avant-garde tendencies and tradition that animated artistic debate in the Fascist period. Her virtuoso figurative oeuvre is infused with distant, at times contrasting echoes, with shades of Renaissance and Baroque portraiture meeting the nascent aesthetic of Hollywood glamour. Her work awaits the critical acknowledgement that the consummate prowess of her art indubitably merits.
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Un ritratto mondano

Fotografie di Ghitta Carell

Roberto Dulio

publisher: Johan & Levi

pages: 108 pages

This book reconstructs the life and artistic career of the photographer Ghitta Carell (1899-1972). A Hungarian Jew, in 1924 she moved to Italy, where she rapidly became one of the country’s most famous portrait photographers. Exhibiting great determination, Carell entered into contact with Italy’s aristocracy and leading intellectual and politi

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