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Il museo dell'arte perduta
Imagine a space designed to host all of the works of art lost to us. Such a place would be by far the most immense museum on earth, where masterpieces of every era would be displayed side by side, indeed more than the number of works in all the collections now on earth put together. Greek and Roman statues would stand beside Byzantine icons and paintings burned in Savonarola’s bonfires alongside thousands of works confiscated and destroyed by the Nazis and monuments reduced to dust by ISIS militants. First of all, however, it would compile a complete catalogue of the motives for which art disappears from circulation – theft or bombardment, natural catastrophe or shipwreck, vandalism or even the artist’s own hand rejecting his work or programming its decay, as certain Land Art works designed to be consumed by time and the elements. A museum of this sort would serve as a warning, a tangible image of the transient nature of all human creations. Emblematic of this curious aspect of art history are the ill-fated adventures of paintings such as Courbet’s The Stone Breakers, rescued along with other treasures from a tower of the castle in Dresden only moments before the castle was bombed to the ground by Allied forces, or the mysterious fate of works stolen from the Stuart Gardner collection and never seen again. On the other hand, there are happier stories such as that of a de Kooning stolen from a museum and found thirty years later hanging in a suburban bedroom or that of the spectacular gold mosaics covering Santa Sophia in Istanbul today which had previously lain hidden under white plaster for four hundred years. Finally, where luck or investigation has been unable to find lost works, today we have science. Thus, thanks to X-rays and other sophisticated technologies, lost masterpieces by Goya, Picasso and Malevich have been discovered under successive layers of paint. Noah Charney suggests that these episodes open a window of hope, reminding us that everything is not lost, not forever. The vast repertoire of belated discoveries, miraculous rescues and unexpected recognition of works whose identity had long been obscure serves to confirm that saying “lost” is like saying “waiting to be brought back to light”.
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Il museo dell'arte perduta

Noah Charney

pages: 296 pages

Imagine a space designed to host all of the works of art lost to us. Such a place would be by far the most immense museum on earth, where masterpieces of every era would be displayed side by side, indeed more than the number of works in all the collections now on earth put together. Greek and Roman statues would stand beside Byzantine icons and pai
L'affaire Capa
In 1937, Spain was in the midst of a devastating civil war. In July, a special report in Life magazine gave a tragic account of the lives cut short in one year of combat. The article was accompanied by Robert Capa’s The Falling Soldier, a photograph destined to become an icon of republican heroism known around the world. The image places viewers in the very moment of the death of a soldier struck in the face by enemy fire. But was that really what happened? As we know, at the height of a conflict so ideologically radicalized, the gaze of war correspondents is necessarily biased. Beginning in the 70s, commentators on this image began to express suspicion and increasing doubt about its veracity; some even claimed that it was deliberately staged. Does that mean that the image that gave birth to the myth of the war photojournalist diving into the fray with the Leica around his neck is false? Such questions triggered a full-blown “Capa affair”, in which photojournalism was put on trial in episodes, with accusers and defenders arguing heatedly about the place of the tragedy, the identity of the soldier and the sequence of the photographs. At the heart of the arguments advanced by both sides lies the question of authenticity, that sacred obligation of photojournalism. With all the ingenuity of a detective, Vincent Lavoie assembles a mosaic of eye-witness testimonies, relevant documents and criminal findings, along with incongruities, falsified negatives and misleading diversions. In this way, he has produced a vivid, persuasive investigation of truthfulness in photography that retraces the steps of this momentous controversy. In these times of “fake news” and endless manipulation of images, Lavoie’s book proves to be startlingly relevant
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L'affaire Capa

Processo a un'icona

Vincent Lavoie

pages: 167 pages

In 1937, Spain was in the midst of a devastating civil war. In July, a special report in Life magazine gave a tragic account of the lives cut short in one year of combat. The article was accompanied by Robert Capa’s The Falling Soldier, a photograph destined to become an icon of republican heroism known around the world. The image places viewers
Il capitale ignorante
Lack of culture, financial resources and globalization are rapidly driving the languages of art into a cul-de-sac. The definitive decline of the avant-garde movements and the erosion of the intellectual power that had supported them, along with the image of art as a status symbol, have fostered the rise of a type of art collecting, which devoid of sufficient knowledge of the object of its desire, has nonetheless imposed new rules of the game and provoked a radical standardization of taste. At one time, collecting – that tangible fruit of developed taste, its material visualization – was the prerogative of a cultured, charismatic aristocracy, capable of bringing legitimacy and authority to the battle of ideas; today, on the contrary, it is mostly seeking consensus while treating art objects like mass-produced souvenirs that should be as recognizable as an image of the Eiffel Tower, familiar even to those who have never been to Paris. Guided by conformity and armed with massive sums of capital, collectors choose trophy-works with the sole aim of confirming their membership not in an elite of knowledgeable art lovers but in the club of the wealthy. For their part, artists offer no resistance to this standardizing arrangement, having lost the antagonistic role that once sheltered them from the whims of fashion. They are now forced to chase after economic success and produce “obedient” art, respectful of the dictates of marketing and globalized taste, at the expense of the autonomy that had been their most prized and powerful quality until only a few decades ago. This lively essay, scathingly controversial even in its title, analyzes changes in the spirit of the times, in taste in collecting, in the system by which art is disseminated and ultimately in art itself, reflecting the changes over the last thirty-five years in society, geo-politics and the economy.  
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Il capitale ignorante

Ovvero come l'ignoranza sta cambiando l'arte

Marco Meneguzzo

pages: 135 pages

Lack of culture, financial resources and globalization are rapidly driving the languages of art into a cul-de-sac. The definitive decline of the avant-garde movements and the erosion of the intellectual power that had supported them, along with the image of art as a status symbol, have fostered the rise of a type of art collecting, which devoid of
Alberto Giacometti
“He smiles and all the wrinkled skin of his face smiles, too. In a strange way. It’s not only his eyes that laugh, so does his forehead.  His whole person has the grey colouring of his studio. Perhaps in sympathy he has taken on the colour of the dust.” With these words, Jean Genet – one of his favourite models – described Alberto Giacometti, the sculptor whose indomitable character was sculpted onto his face by his troubled years and obsessive work. Besides, the activity in the studio on rue Hippolyte-Maindron was intense. Those who entered witnessed Giacometti working incessantly on his figures, relentlessly destroying and reconstructing them in a grueling pursuit of perfection, a tormented oscillation between an ideal to aspire to and aborted attempts, a back and forth of doubts and second thoughts. Just seconds ago he was laughing; now he turns to the sculpture-in-progress and, intoxicated by the contact of his hands with the mass of clay, completely ignores those around him. Born in 1901 in Borgonovo, Alberto spent his childhood in the rugged regions of Switzerland. His father initiated him into art at a very young age and followed his career step by step, providing encouragement and support. In 1922, Giacometti moved to Paris, where he began under the mentorship of Antoine Bourdelle and Zadkine but soon moved on – likewise briefly – to Breton’s Surrealism and Cubism. His rebellious spirit, which underlay all his explorations and rapid passage through the avant-garde movements, fated him to a solitary path on the fringes of the art world, despite his regular encounters with the most celebrated intellectuals of the time in the cafés of Montparnasse and the Latin Quarter. Under the spell of primitive art, he moved towards a more synthetic, disorienting representation, creating a host of figures forever advancing with an unsteady step, thanks to whom he achieved fame on the international art scene. “Never let myself be influenced by anything,” he wrote in a notebook. Indeed, Giacometti belongs to a timeless time, a quality of the most authentic essence of art.
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Alberto Giacometti

Biografia

Catherine Grenier

pages: 306 pages

“He smiles and all the wrinkled skin of his face smiles, too. In a strange way. It’s not only his eyes that laugh, so does his forehead.  His whole person has the grey colouring of his studio. Perhaps in sympathy he has taken on the colour of the dust.” With these words, Jean Genet – one of his favourite models – described Alberto Giacom
Catastrofi d'arte
The history of art, as Benjamin wrote, is a history of prophecies. Certain works of art can only be understood when the circumstances that they anticipated have matured. The century of the avant-garde movements was teeming with subversive enterprises, but there are some whose telluric power jolted modernity forever, creating a new paradigm to fill in the cracks. In fact, the seed of the contemporary first took root in one precise moment: the exhibition of Duchamp’s Fountain. The artist had bought a typical urinal in a plumbing supply shop in New York and sent it to the Society of Independent Artists exhibit in 1917, paying six dollars for the privilege to exhibit. The radical break was visible to all: indeed, the very nature of art was being brought into question. After this “alien spore” of non-art, the movement mushroomed through the continuous and systematic transgression of the limits of art. Exploring – to use Arthur Danto’s term – the art world of the dramatic catastrophes of the 20th century, this book recounts the stories behind revolutionary works, inseparable from the personalities and ideas of their authors, precariously balanced between provocation and prophecy. We learn, for instance, that the disconcerting rigour of Cage’s 4'33' of silence has everything to do with the emphasis on the conceptual and the obliteration of the boundary between art and life; that the impetuous Klein’s experiments with the void and Manzoni’s acerbic paradoxical works inaugurate the practice of constructing the myth of the artist, which becomes a work of art in and of itself, and that Warhol’s iconic Brillo Box upends the modernist hierarchies, spectacularly manifesting the cultural turning point that would come to be known as the postmodern. Luigi Bonfante reveals the importance of a retroactive vision able to recognize the most relevant characteristics of the contemporary in these fractures while simultaneously interpreting the ambiguity of the present, without being seduced by the unsolvable question dominating today’s aesthetic: Are we on the brink of an apocalypse or a regeneration?
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Catastrofi d'arte

Storie di opere che hanno diviso il Novecento

Luigi Bonfante

pages: 184 pages

The history of art, as Benjamin wrote, is a history of prophecies. Certain works of art can only be understood when the circumstances that they anticipated have matured. The century of the avant-garde movements was teeming with subversive enterprises, but there are some whose telluric power jolted modernity forever, creating a new paradigm to fill
One day we must meet
October 1937. As a fruitful conversation at the White House between President Roosevelt and Vittorio Mussolini was drawing to a close, the former expressed the hope that he would meet Vittorio’s father: “One day we must meet”. These were encouraging words for Mussolini’s son, dazzled by the American way of life and there to represent the younger modernist spirit of Fascism.  At the time, the “great country” was becoming ever more frequently a key mediator at the centre of the dense network that was parallel diplomacy. Modern art and architecture were used persistently and pervasively by the Fascist government as cultural ambassadors to create myths that would seduce the masses and win over public opinion. It was a practice that created opportunities and tangible results: on one hand, the imposing national pavilions built for the iconic 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago, on the other, the great exhibitions of contemporary art – Casorati, Sironi, Levi, Carrà and de Chirico, among others – alongside the celebrated old masters, whose artworks were sent on daring transatlantic journeys thanks to the enterprising spirit of the likes of Dario Sabatello, Mimì Pecci Blunt and Giulio Carlo Argan.Sergio Cortesini focusses appropriately on the re-evocation of place and on the lively cultural climate of the period. He draws on hundreds of previously unpublished documents to look back at the course of Italian modern art in America between 1933 and 1941. From the early successes he goes on to describe the steady deterioration in political relations up to the final tragic moment when Italy entered the war. This event marked the end of all illusions of grandeur: the pavilions were demolished and the artwork was put into storage. For those who sincerely believed in an Italianismo that could be expressed through the forms of modern aesthetics and the renewed communicative power of national art, Roosevelt’s words were destined to be lost in translation.
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One day we must meet

Le sfide dell’arte e dell’architettura italiane in America (1933-1941)

Sergio Cortesini

pages: 325 pages

October 1937. As a fruitful conversation at the White House between President Roosevelt and Vittorio Mussolini was drawing to a close, the former expressed the hope that he would meet Vittorio’s father: “One day we must meet”. These were encouraging words for Mussolini’s son, dazzled by the American way of life and there to represent the yo
Il viaggio della Chimera
The exhibition “Il viaggio della Chimera. Gli Etruschi a Milano tra archeologia e collezionismo” (12 December 2018-12 May 2019), at the Civico Museo Archeologico in Milan, conceived and organized by the Fondazione Luigi Rovati and the Civico Museo Archeologico in collaboration with the Superintendence of Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape of Milan, highlights the connections between Milan and the Etruscan world, which started to emerge in the mid-18th century with the creation of the oldest part of the Milanese archaeological collections and was cemented in the post-war years when the city hosted a major exhibition of Etruscan art and civilization, curated by Massimo Pallottini at the Palazzo Royale in 1955. This watershed moment marked the start of a fruitful period for Etruscology in Milan from the surveys by the Fondazione C.M. Lerici at the Politecnico to the campaigns carried out by the University of Milan in Tarquinia and in Etruria at Forcello di Bagnolo San Vito.  Exploration of the connections between Milan and the Etruscans continues to bear fruit as borne out by the recent excavations carried out in Populonia by the Università Cattolica and the forthcoming opening of the Etruscan Museum at 52, Corso Venezia. The exhibition is arranged over five sections with more than 200 items from leading archaeological museums in Italy, including the Civico Museo Archeologico in Milan and the Fondazione Luigi Rovati itself, offering a preview of some of the items that will form the collection in the new Etruscan museum. The catalogue is also divided into five sections. The section on collecting and collectors draws on the Etruscan collections of the Museo Civico Archeologico, the Fondazione Rovati and the Milanese historic core collection comprising the findings of Pelagio Palagi, Amilcare Ancona and Jules Sambon. The focus then shifts to the 1955 exhibition at the Palazzo Reale on Etruscan art and civilization and so to the excavations supported by the Fondazione C.M. Lerici at the Politecnico di Milano and the Milanese universities in Etruria, Campania and Etruria Padana, where many inscriptions have been found providing evidence of an Etruscan presence north of the Po. Three themes are examined in more depth: canopic urns and the representation of the human figure; the orientalizing fantastic bestiary, and myth. They offer a transversal interpretation of the exhibits and introduce the section with detailed descriptions of the objects on show. 
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Il viaggio della Chimera

Gli Etruschi a Milano tra archeologia e collezionismo

pages: 360 pages

The exhibition “Il viaggio della Chimera. Gli Etruschi a Milano tra archeologia e collezionismo” (12 December 2018-12 May 2019), at the Civico Museo Archeologico in Milan, conceived and organized by the Fondazione Luigi Rovati and the Civico Museo Archeologico in collaboration with the Superintendence of Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape of
Dark Side of the Boom
Since 2005, the proceeds from sales in the art market have almost doubled, surpassing 60 billion dollars yearly. Art fairs and events have proliferated like mushrooms; auctions reach dizzying figures and the overall demand for artwork has increased exponentially. And yet, this peculiar gold rush is only part of the story. Looking more closely, behind the slick vernissages in museums and galleries, behind Christie’s and Sotheby’s glorious records and ever-changing leadership, lies a much darker side. In fact, the legacy of this boom has been a rapid increase in the concentration of power in the hands of a few mega-players who can singlehandedly determine the price – and thus the value – of a work of art. This concentration has had many repercussions: artists are branded like merchandise; art is increasingly treated as an nothing more than an investment; fraud and the circulation of forgeries are on the rise; the temptation to avoid or falsify tax records has intensified and methods of art production and sales have changed. In recent years, Georgina Adam, astute contributor to the most influential art magazines, has been gathering interviews, statements and testimonies from leading figures in the art system, confronting shady intrigues and scandalous backstories of the often opaque and always poorly regulated art market. With discrete irony, Adam explains the notorious auctions of works by Picasso, Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst, as well as the financial dealings of luxury tycoons and nouveaux riches Asians. With a genuine outsider’s view, she follows the most incredible intrigues and legal proceedings of the art market, where – as one might expect – all that glitters is not gold.
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Dark Side of the Boom

Controversie, intrighi, scandali nel mercato dell'arte

Georgina Adam

pages: 254 pages

Since 2005, the proceeds from sales in the art market have almost doubled, surpassing 60 billion dollars yearly. Art fairs and events have proliferated like mushrooms; auctions reach dizzying figures and the overall demand for artwork has increased exponentially. And yet, this peculiar gold rush is only part of the story. Looking more closely, behi
L'altra Italia
L’altra Italia is a visual account of the inland areas of Italy, from the Alps down the length of the Appenines as far as the islands. It documents a vulnerable landscape, at the margins of the large metropolitan conurbations with their infrastructure, services and high-speed internet connections. This is the Italy of villages and small towns where over 4,000 municipalities represent 60% of the geographical area and 25% of the population of Italy. An ancient, visceral, essential landscape, it is as far from the tourist routes of the glossy magazines as it is close to an elemental dimension. What these areas have in common is that they are affected by the same process of depopulation and impoverishment of the economic fabric, and yet they are rich in resources, trustees of an inestimable natural and cultural heritage, with characteristics that make Italy stand out from the urban fabric of Europe as a whole.   The book started out as a survey for Arcipelago Italia, the exhibition project conceived by Mario Cucinella for the Italian Pavilion at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice. With documentary accuracy that goes beyond straightforward representation, to observe the changes in the territory and the ongoing developments taking place, these images of the landscape follow in the tradition of Pasolini, mapping out a humanistic geography that re-evaluates personal experience and everyday life from different points of view: sustainability and the environment, social inclusion and the sharing of intangible assets, earthquakes and the collective memory, work and health, regeneration and contemporary creativity. Despite their different approaches, the architect-photographers of the Urban Reports collective square up to the landscape without any sensationalism: their photography captures the spirit of these places, the centuries-old stratifications, the nuances and the details; it captures the intersections of meaning beneath the visible and material aspects. There are five main destinations: the National Park of the Tuscan-Emilian Appenines and the Casentinesi Forests National Park; Camerino, the crater and the area of central Italy hit by the earthquake in 2016; the Basento Valley near Matera; the Belice Valley,  Gibellina in particular, in the province of Trapani in western Sicily; Barbagia and the Ottana Plain in the central region of Sardinia that extends along the sides of the Gennargentu Massif. The work of Urban Reports reveals a much richer and more multi-faceted world than the official one of the country, one where the principal resource of a territory is its people, their knowledge and their skills. It calls for a commitment from architects, town planners, designers and local administrators to develop plans to relaunch the economy, revitalize the existing social fabric, interact with and nurture positive dynamics among the local communities in these areas. The photographs are accompanied by texts by Marco Belpoliti. This book is the result of a photographic campaign by the Urban Reports collective for Arcipelago Italia, Mario Cucinella’s curatorial project for the 16th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice, supported by the Directorate General for Contemporary Art and Architecture and Urban Suburbs of the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage Activities and Tourism.
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L'altra Italia

Racconto per immagini delle aree interne del paese

Urban Reports

pages: 168 pages

L’altra Italia is a visual account of the inland areas of Italy, from the Alps down the length of the Appenines as far as the islands. It documents a vulnerable landscape, at the margins of the large metropolitan conurbations with their infrastructure, services and high-speed internet connections. This is the Italy of villages and small towns whe
I gatti nell'arte
The cat – that most elegant, stubborn and artful of creatures – has been a subject favoured by artists of every culture and period since time immemorial. The spectacular stone carving created in Libya 7,000 years ago is possibly the earliest depiction of a cat fight, marking the beginning of a long uninterrupted visual tradition. A profusion of images that is not always matched by unequivocal sentiments for the cat which, while being among the most blessed of domestic animals, has often been a victim of hate and persecution over the centuries. From sacred animal in ancient Egypt to deterrent for rodents in the Babylonian civilization, an ally of man against the fatal bite of the viper, valued for its hunting prowess and immortalized as a good hunting companion, the cat gradually relinquished such practical activities to become the lazy friend of man, who opened the doors of his home to it. The cohabitation did not, however, last long and the relationship went through further ups and downs. At the end of the Middle Ages the prevalent image was as maleficent companion of the devil, a view that coincides with the sinister role allocated to it in paintings. It rarely, if ever, appears as protagonist in the work of the great masters but rather as a mere accessory, curled up at the feet of a female figure. It would have to wait for the arrival of Victorian sentimentalism before it could make a come-back, when this radical change in status saw it portrayed in intimate family scenes. This was the best time to be a cat, a golden age both for the affectionate relationship with its human companion and for the central role it played in works of art, where it is finally master of the scene. The greatest zoologist of our time, aware of every feline nuance, writes about history of art through the lens of cat-loving artists. For Pablo Picasso it was a symbol of ruthless violence, depicted as a fierce predator; for Balthus it was the supreme emblem of female sexuality; it was a very popular subject among cartoonists and caricaturists and used by Banksy as a vehicle for political protest.  The cat is an inexhaustible source for visual exploration and flights of fancy.
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I gatti nell'arte

Desmond Morris

pages: 224 pages

The cat – that most elegant, stubborn and artful of creatures – has been a subject favoured by artists of every culture and period since time immemorial. The spectacular stone carving created in Libya 7,000 years ago is possibly the earliest depiction of a cat fight, marking the beginning of a long uninterrupted visual tradition. A profusion of
Automitobiografia
Marcel and Suzanne Duchamp, Octavio Paz and Edoardo Sanguineti, Breton and Man Ray, de Chirico and the Duchess of Beaufort are just some of the names that make up the fauna of this perceptive, erudite and, at times, explosive account, far removed from any autobiographical conventions.  Working backwards from 1983, the year of publication, to 1924, the year the author was born, Automitobiografia is a kind of hyperbolic journey back along the flow of events. From the first pages it immerses us in the contemporary visual culture and seems to be a response to the trends in “high” art and citationality at that time. Baj was only too familiar with such experiences, in that, since the 1960s, he had been a skilled creator of playful versions of the works of the grand masters, as in the Chez Picasso series or compositions such as La cravatta di Jackson Pollock and the Vendetta della Gioconda. This also led him in his later work to collect – alongside a repertory of icons, themes and styles from the past – a gaudy arsenal of bric-a-brac, medals, braids and trimmings, sequins, fragments of damask, rosettes and all kinds of stuff that filled his studio. This constant reclamation and accumulation is translated at narrative level into a great assemblage of memories, reflections and citations borrowed from artists and intellectuals of every period and origin, first and foremost his brilliant mentor Alfred Jarry and pataphysics, the true “science” and mainstay of the irony that permeated Baj’s entire cultural universe. Alongside the myriad characters we also get glimpses of the everyday objects in the artist’s life such as agricultural machinery, a Kawasaki bike or a lift: splendid equipment, mechanical and erotic, that not only arouses the reader’s curiosity but also backs up the social, scientific and philosophical convictions sustained by Baj, who for years fought not only for a renewal in the art of painting but also for a prophetic return to nature against the growing threat of an all-encompassing technology.
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Automitobiografia

Enrico Baj

pages: 272 pages + 12 (inserto)

Marcel and Suzanne Duchamp, Octavio Paz and Edoardo Sanguineti, Breton and Man Ray, de Chirico and the Duchess of Beaufort are just some of the names that make up the fauna of this perceptive, erudite and, at times, explosive account, far removed from any autobiographical conventions.  Working backwards from 1983, the year of publication, to 1924,

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