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Duty Free Art

L'arte nell'epoca della guerra civile planetaria

Hito Steyerl

pages: 212 pages

Gigantic secret museums crop up nowadays in no-man’s-lands that circumvent national sovereignties and are closed to the public. They are duty-free storage facilities where works of art – albeit sealed in their packing cases – are used as alternative currency for the circulation of assets worth billions from one end of the world to the other:
L'ombra lunga degli etruschi
The legend of the Etruscans has stood the test of time over centuries. Since the 15th century, when Leon Battista Alberti was one of the first to reassess the Tuscan order, to more recent years that saw the first major exhibitions, interest in this enigmatic civilization has never faltered. It has, however, been fed by such very different instances – depending on whether the point of view was that of academics or of artists and writers – that one can talk of two distinct Etrurias: a “scientific” one, which from the 19th century and with the important excavations of the early 20th century became ever more precisely and clearly defined, and an “evoked”, imagined Etruria, as fantastical as it was irretrievable.This is the Etruria of painters and sculptors: of Enrico Prampolini, who lent his avant-garde skills to a magazine on the subject; of Arturo Martini, Massimo Campigli and Marino Marini, who, each with their own accents, claimed direct descent; of artists apparently remote from this world, such as the French Edgar Degas and the English Henry Moore; and of figures that occupied what were considered marginal territory (e.g. ceramics) such as Gio Ponti and Roberto Sebastian Matta.Martina Corgnati takes the reader on a long well-structured journey from the end of the 19th century to the threshold of the 21st century, through hybridization and rewriting of the past, adopting more or less explicit suggestion and precise references. There are also forays into the literary debate, particularly lively in Italy, where a foundation myth more authentically italic in respect of Greek or Roman ones has always been fertile terrain. Through the prism of the “Etruscan phenomenon” one can see the art of the 20th century in a new light, exploring the various paths in the shadow of this ancient people.
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L'ombra lunga degli etruschi

Echi e suggestioni nell'arte del Novecento

Martina Corgnati

pages: 240 pages

The legend of the Etruscans has stood the test of time over centuries. Since the 15th century, when Leon Battista Alberti was one of the first to reassess the Tuscan order, to more recent years that saw the first major exhibitions, interest in this enigmatic civilization has never faltered. It has, however, been fed by such very different instances
La cornice
At a time when historical avant-gardes are starting to question it deeply, the frame has become a subject of great interest to philosophers, art historians and semiologists. The quintessential amphibian device, a mediation tool that isolates the image from the real space, not being assimilated with either despite relating to both, the frame is a threshold: it leads us into a realm where other laws are in force compared to those of everyday life. The frame is called upon to prevent the painting from invading the world and vice versa, until we accept the idea of art as a reality that is separate from the one in which we live and breathe. However, 20th-century artistic practices deny this principle with great vehemence. A history of the frame has to include a reflection on the overcoming of its boundaries, necessarily leading us to examine how its role as a modest servant to the image has evolved over the centuries. As an outdated expedient, able to activate a force field and boost the centripetal direction of the gaze, a paradoxical fate awaits it. At the moment when it presumes to take on its own autonomous aesthetic value, it abdicates to its ancillary function, entering into competition with the work, sometimes even replacing it, going from a marginal object to the primary subject of the representation. The eclipse of this element paves the way for the establishment of another kind of frame: the museum as the favoured place for the institutionalization, certification and conservation of artistic value. Daniela Ferrari and Andrea Pinotti look back over the fundamental stages in the history of the frame and its crucial role in the experience of the pictorial image, featuring the main contributions to the phenomenology of this device in this volume: from Simmel to Stoichita, taking in Ortega y Gasset, Bloch, Schapiro, Derrida, Arnheim, Marin and the Groupe μ. The entire 20th century is represented here from different disciplinary perspectives, confirming the fact that this was the century in which the frame fully took on the explicit statute of theoretical object.
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La cornice

Storie, teorie, testi

pages: 232 pages

At a time when historical avant-gardes are starting to question it deeply, the frame has become a subject of great interest to philosophers, art historians and semiologists. The quintessential amphibian device, a mediation tool that isolates the image from the real space, not being assimilated with either despite relating to both, the frame is a th
Scienza delle immagini
While the advent of the digital era and the rapid evolution of technology have led to major change in the coordinates of the visible world and the relationship between word and image, experience and representation, new research methods have become necessary to explore the reasons behind the increasingly extensive production and circulation of images. One of the founding fathers of this vast field of study that has established itself on an international level as visual culture, W.J.T. Mitchel has contributed to the great turnaround in theoretical interest in the “society of the spectacle” and, coining the expression “pictorial turn”, has promoted a philosophical approach since the 1990s that attributes images with the same value of interpreting reality as that attributed to language. Here the reader will find a collection of sixteen of his most recent essays, ranging from media aesthetics to semiotics, in which the author examines the cultural dimension of images and the places and ways in which they manifest themselves, drawing upon ideas and terms that have now earned their place in the critical vocabulary. With the successful distinction between “image” and “picture”, where “image” means the mental representation or pure form of figures, clearly distinguished from the “picture” through which it is revealed, that is to say a material object that can be burned, broken or ripped, such as a painting or sculpture. Rich in incursions into the history of art, cinema and photography, but also into politics and biocybernetics, this volume lays the foundations for a “science of images” in which the visual becomes a fundamental link between humanistic research and empirical sciences.
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Scienza delle immagini

Iconologia, cultura visuale ed estetica dei media

W.J.T. Mitchell

pages: 276 pages

While the advent of the digital era and the rapid evolution of technology have led to major change in the coordinates of the visible world and the relationship between word and image, experience and representation, new research methods have become necessary to explore the reasons behind the increasingly extensive production and circulation of image
Un posto per tutti
This book is much more than just an autobiography. It is a jazz improvisation featuring a fusion of personal memoirs and ideas for a better society. It encompasses projects, drawings and photographs, partnerships and disputes. The author expresses his passion for big cities and public spaces, his love for his family and friends, his trust in education and active citizenship. However we want to read it, it makes us realize how architecture is a fundamental tool for tackling the two great challenges of our age: social inequality and climate change.Born in Florence in 1933, amidst the modernist structures designed by his cousin Ernesto Nathan Rogers and a view of Brunelleschi’s dome, Richard Rogers soon grasped that good architecture has to reflect changing technology and the spirit of the age. Consequently, having completed his studies at Yale – where he met his future partner Norman Foster – he embarked on a road trip in search of innovative ideas and design solutions: the strong colours of California and Mexico, the open structures of industrial architecture, and the lightness and transparencies of the Case Study Houses proved great sources of inspiration, becoming a constant feature in that visual vocabulary that he brought with him when he returned to London. Parkside, the Wimbledon home built for his parents between 1968 and 1969, was the first result of his American experience and encapsulates his entire architectural ethos: the daring use of colour and eco-sustainable prefabricated elements, the importance of transparency and flexibility. It was a prototype for a building that lends itself to multiple changes of use, embodying our “long-lasting, widely adaptable, low-energy” diktat. It was also his last family building project before he was swallowed up, together with Renzo Piano, in the whirlwind of the competition for a major public building in the heart of Paris.Today, more than forty years after the deluge of criticism that surrounded its construction and opening, the Pompidou Centre continues to be an undisputed icon of modernity and one of the pulsating hearts of city life, demonstrating that architecture has the power to shape our lives: good architecture brings humanity and civilization, bad architecture brutalizes.
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Un posto per tutti

Vita, architettura e società giusta

Richard Rogers

pages: 372 pages

This book is much more than just an autobiography. It is a jazz improvisation featuring a fusion of personal memoirs and ideas for a better society. It encompasses projects, drawings and photographs, partnerships and disputes. The author expresses his passion for big cities and public spaces, his love for his family and friends, his trust in educat
Le vite dei surrealisti
Surrealism developed after the First World War, initially as a lifestyle rather than an actual artistic movement. Angered by an establishment that had made that massacre possible, the Surrealists came up with an unconscious strategy able to free humanity from the ties of reason and aesthetic conventions, restoring a central role to the dimension of dreams and eroticism through psychic automatism. From 1924 onwards, André Breton, the main theorist behind this doctrine, controlled the reins of an insolent group of intellectuals for over forty years. With its break-ups, mutinies and expulsions, this was one of the most fascinating and troubled artistic experiences of the 20th century. Desmond Morris held his first Surrealist solo exhibition in 1948. While he soon went on to become one of the most famous science writers of his generation, he frequented the irresistible personalities whose adventures are described here for many years. They included Roberto Matta, who had the name of the Marquis de Sade branded on him to find favour with Breton; Giacometti who turned down Marlene Dietrich (and her forty-four suitcases) for a prostitute, Caroline Tamagno, who was well-known in the Parisian underworld; Miró and Masson, forced by Hemingway to take one another on in a disastrous boxing match; Salvador Dalí in a diving suit, billiard cue at the ready and two greyhounds on the lead, as he performs in front of hundreds of journalists at the International Surrealist Exhibition of 1936. Thirty-two eccentric stories that wind their way through the bistros of the ville lumière and the most incongruous places, such as London Zoo, before finally arriving in New York, where the first seeds of Abstract Expressionism begin to be sown. Following the kaleidoscopic proliferations of Surrealism embodied by extremely diverse artists, including Max Ernst, Picasso, Delvaux and Duchamp, Morris celebrates the intensity, delirium and mystery that, as Magritte would say, “cannot be explained, you just have to let it envelop you.”
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Le vite dei surrealisti

Desmond Morris

pages: 272 pages

Surrealism developed after the First World War, initially as a lifestyle rather than an actual artistic movement. Angered by an establishment that had made that massacre possible, the Surrealists came up with an unconscious strategy able to free humanity from the ties of reason and aesthetic conventions, restoring a central role to the dimension of
Un monumento al momento
An artist loved by other artists, starting with Boccioni who praises his subversive power, Medardo Rosso (1858‒1928) produced revolutionary work that has never ceased to influence each new generation of sculptors. A forerunner to trends that were only fully developed in the 20th century, Rosso enjoyed extraordinary success after his death, making an indelible impression upon artists such as Brancusi, Giacometti and Moore, but also on many of his contemporaries: Fabrio stated that he owed him a substantial debt, and Anselmo, when faced with his wax sculptures, recognized how the material forged by Rosso vibrated from within, almost as if it had a beating heart of its own. From the very outset, Rosso set himself an irreverent objective: to dematerialize monumental sculpture, which went from being eternal and celebratory to anti-heroic and able to capture a fleeting moment in his creations. However, he was also revolutionary in overstepping geographical barriers at a time when art was strongly defined within national borders. Having grown up after the Unification of Italy and disappointed by the empty promises of the Risorgimento, he left the country in 1889 for Paris, where he spent much of his life. An emigrant by choice and cosmopolitan by vocation, his fearless personality meant that he shunned any form of belonging, but made him receptive towards every modern stimulus, from new channels of communication to progress in photography, enabling him to draw upon a variety of visual sources and circulate his work as never before in his turn. What is more, by working on a small scale, Rosso turned the most static and heavy of the arts into an easily transportable product, in keeping with the unorthodox strategies he developed to promote his work. This essay is the first to explore Rosso’s activity from a historical and transnational perspective, offering an alternative to the officially accepted account of the birth of modern sculpture. While Rodin has always been assigned the role of isolated and heroic innovator, Sharon Hecker upholds the important part played by an artist who pioneered many practices that have become commonplace in the global artistic vocabulary today.
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Un monumento al momento

Medardo Rosso e le origini della scultura contemporanea

Sharon Hecker

pages: 320 pages

An artist loved by other artists, starting with Boccioni who praises his subversive power, Medardo Rosso (1858‒1928) produced revolutionary work that has never ceased to influence each new generation of sculptors. A forerunner to trends that were only fully developed in the 20th century, Rosso enjoyed extraordinary success after his death, making
Costruito da dio
Contemporary churches often resemble industrial buildings, swimming pools, bars or garages. They rarely have a façade and bell towers are just a fleeting memory. Their interiors are disorienting and aseptic like waiting rooms and the dome has been replaced by a ceiling that doesn’t make one think of God, but of the tenant upstairs. The rose windows have been replaced by skylights and the sacred images by anodyne abstract artworks that evoke a vague spirituality lacking in transcendency. In homage to minimalism, the altars look like they’ve come out of an Ikea catalogue. The horror of the new holy buildings is the price the Church pays contemporary society. Following the Second Vatican Council, it did away with traditional forms in favour of more daring architectural eccentricity or, worse still, joyfully adhering to the bureaucracy of town planning committees. And yet new, magniloquent cathedrals are springing up everywhere: they are the museums designed by famous architects, driving forces behind tourism and multi-million euro investments, places destined not to conserve memories any more but to act as luxury packaging for contemporary art, themselves works of art, icons, places where the culture that is becoming a religion can be experienced. Throngs of the faithful set off in pilgrimage: just as they once headed to Chartres, now they visit the Guggenheim in Bilbao or the Tate Modern in London to worship the idols and relics of the contemporary age. Angelo Crespi takes a fun, light-hearted look at ugly churches, comparing them to the rules set for architects by the Italian Episcopal Conference in a comic little manual that is not the result of faith, but a sort of post-Council ‘pauperistic’ moralism. He compares them to the designs for Deconstructionist museums, huge alien spaceships made from glass, iron and concrete, which increasingly often determine the city landscape, fun houses and factories of meaning and consensus.
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Costruito da dio

Perché le chiese contemporanee sono brutte e i musei sono diventati le nuove cattedrali

Angelo Crespi

pages: 140 pages

Contemporary churches often resemble industrial buildings, swimming pools, bars or garages. They rarely have a façade and bell towers are just a fleeting memory. Their interiors are disorienting and aseptic like waiting rooms and the dome has been replaced by a ceiling that doesn’t make one think of God, but of the tenant upstairs. The rose wind
Avventure di un occhio
Just as there are noses with a prodigious sense of smell, enabling them to invent perfumes, so there are eyes able to reveal the authorship of a painting. If an expert eye takes just a few moments to identify the artist behind a work that has remained in the shadows for centuries, it is because long years of training have made it possible to isolate details that are worth more than a fingerprint. However, intuition and acquired knowledge are not always enough to flush out a masterpiece. The most sensational discoveries often take place thanks to a completely fortuitous event. For example, someone’s eyes might just alight upon a Christ on a cross hanging up in a gallery visited by chance, just at the moment that a ray of light illuminates the nails – recognizable out of thousands because of their polished shine – revealing a work by Bronzino that has been searched for over the centuries and given up for lost. Epilogues such as this tell us a lot about an activity that closely resembles that of the detective. On the trail of lost paintings, connoisseurs rely upon a network of informers, striving to put the pieces of the puzzle together, clue by clue. Their gaze does not linger upon poor restoration, overly casual earlier attributions and the proliferation of fakes, but becomes immersed in the life of the paintings. If they only saw images and were not sensitive enough to enter into them, they would never understand them. Philippe Costamagna, a member of this scant group of experts called upon to authenticate anonymous canvases in every corner of the world, reveals the tricks and pitfalls of a profession permanently poised between the need for scientific stringency and the gratifications offered by dealers and collectors, who are often blinded by personal interests. An account that combines private memoirs, reflections on the tools of the trade, interesting historical facts and succulent anecdotes regarding the affairs of certain illustrious predecessors of the calibre of Berenson, Longhi and Zeri: three radically different men and personalities, whose extraordinary photo archives have trained generations of scholars and who have left their mark on the mysterious art of attribution, each with their own eccentricities.
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Avventure di un occhio

Philippe Costamagna

pages: 192 pages

Just as there are noses with a prodigious sense of smell, enabling them to invent perfumes, so there are eyes able to reveal the authorship of a painting. If an expert eye takes just a few moments to identify the artist behind a work that has remained in the shadows for centuries, it is because long years of training have made it possible to isolat
Delirious Museum
In the guise of the flâneur and a situationist, Calum Storrie embarks on an imaginary voyage of discovery of different cities and eras that see him explore a series of environments – public places, architecture, but also historical exhibitions and artworks – all of which are possible embodiments of the concept of the “delirious museum”. The quintessential elusive place, the Delirious Museum reinterprets or redefines the traditional model by means of a détournement that takes shape in the rejection of a linear narrative in favour of a disarticulated form, composed – like art itself – of an anachronistic montage of traces and fragments. These are the echoes of a city that has invaded the museum (but also the contrary), thrusting it into life and bringing fluidity and change to its meanings. The theft of the Mona Lisa in 1911 marked the first sign of contagion. Taken out into the streets, Leonardo’s masterpiece became nomadic and entered modernity. The Surrealists took possession of it for their own ends: Duchamp added a moustache and beard, while Dalí transformed it into a self-portrait. With the return of the painting, the germ of the Delirious Museum had now entered the Louvre, spreading from its corridors throughout the streets of that Paris already explored by Baudelaire, and later by Benjamin, Aragon and Breton. A dreamlike and porous city, endowed with slots that offer glimpses of parallel realities, born out of chance and a certain degree of chaos. On the trail of potential derivations, the author encounters installations by El Lissitzky and Kiesler and the objets trouvés of Cornell and Warhol, losing himself in the Soane collection, in the museum architecture of Libeskind and the museum-maze of Carlo Scarpa. Ultimately, it is with Postmodernism that the Delirious Museum reaches the peak of its various interpretations: from the designs by Gehry and Koolhas, to spectacular city-spectacles such as Los Angeles and Las Vegas. The receptacle of anecdotes and arcane facts, this book-wunderkammer re-examines the evanescent boundaries between museums and the cities that contain them. It does so by means of a rhizomatic narration that, by imitating what it describes, proceeds from the present to the past before returning to the present-day and, lastly, establishing a symbiotic relationship between space and its memory.
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Delirious Museum

Un viaggio dal Louvre a Las Vegas

Calum Storrie

pages: 256 pages

In the guise of the flâneur and a situationist, Calum Storrie embarks on an imaginary voyage of discovery of different cities and eras that see him explore a series of environments – public places, architecture, but also historical exhibitions and artworks – all of which are possible embodiments of the concept of the “delirious museum”. Th
Corpo delle immagini, immagini del corpo
The story of the tableaux vivant is as old as Pygmalion immortalized by Ovid. A story that unfolds over the centuries, encompassing practices as far removed from each other as medieval sacre rappresentazioni – which became increasingly profane from one celebration to the next – and the most recent video installations by Bill Viola that recreate Pontormo’s Mannerist visions. They are static figurations in which models or actors, arranged in expressive poses, reproduce the image of famous paintings or sculptures. What is more, all tableaux vivants are based on art, not life. And perhaps because of this status as art born out of art, what’s more contaminated by popular genres and subgenres, the art of “living pictures” has often been deemed to be one of the secondary visual arts.  However, it has managed to survive by keeping up with changing times and cultural mores, boosted by the trait that has always marginalized it: the fact that it cannot be traced back to any specific set of rules, fluctuating tirelessly between academic regulations and pure entertainment. In this perennial renewal, the tableau vivant also becomes merged with photographic and film experiments (from Rejlander and von Gloeden to Artaud and Pasolini), dance and theatre (from Isadora Duncan to Grotowski) and has even been incarnated in performances by Luigi Ontani, Gilbert & George and Cindy Sherman. The profusion of names who continue to devote themselves to it shows how the genre, which is now a permanently consolidated part of the repertoire of contemporary languages, is more alive than ever today. Flaminio Gualdoni takes us on a sparkling, cultured and bubbly excursion packed with lascivious anecdotes and unforgettable figures,  such as Lady Hamilton, a comely young woman with a tumultuous past who, as the bride of her Pygmalion, became an expert in impersonating figures from classical iconography: her attitudes, slow silent pantomimes praised by Goethe, eternalized by Tischbein and admired by aristocrats, artists and writers, encode the genre within a horizon situated between the respectability of art, the bon ton of bourgeois taste and sexual marketing.
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Corpo delle immagini, immagini del corpo

Tableaux vivants da san Francesco a Bill Viola

Flaminio Gualdoni

pages: 192 pages

The story of the tableaux vivant is as old as Pygmalion immortalized by Ovid. A story that unfolds over the centuries, encompassing practices as far removed from each other as medieval sacre rappresentazioni – which became increasingly profane from one celebration to the next – and the most recent video installations by Bill Viola that recreate
Come vedere il mondo
The fact that the power of images has grown out of all proportion is obvious to everyone. With the advent of new media, image production has increased massively and the circulation of images is so pervasive that it affects every moment of our lives. In the United States alone, more photographs are taken every two minutes than were taken throughout the entire 19th century, and every month ninety-three million selfies are uploaded onto the internet, not to mention the millions of new videos posted daily on social networking sites. The world of today, which is younger, more urbanized, connected and overheated than ever before, inevitably seems to have been fragmented. The image of the Earth itself – no longer that compact blue marble sphere immortalized in 1972 by the analogue shot taken by the astronauts on Apollo 17 – is presented to us through a mosaic of satellite photos that are put together in a form that reproduces the details with great accuracy, but is really “virtual”, because it is no longer linked to a single time and place. How can we now relearn to look at a world that technological innovations, dramatic climate and political changes have transformed so radically over the course of a few decades, and that continues to change at an unsustainable pace before our very eyes? Nicholas Mirzoeff explores the world in which we produce images and how they, in their turn, shape our existence, triggering profound political and social changes. In doing so, the author makes reference to a vast repertoire of theoretical writings – from John Berger to Walter Benjamin, Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze – and examines numerous phenomena of contemporary culture from a historical perspective, moving between the various disciplines and geographical contexts. From the selfie, a form of self-portrait that is no longer exclusive to the elite but has become a tool with which the global majority communicates, to drones, which have replaced generals in the art of visualizing war, How to See the World is an essential map for finding our way through the sea of images in which we are immersed.
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Come vedere il mondo

Un'introduzione alle immagini: dall'autoritratto al selfie, dalle mappe ai film (e altro ancora)

Nicholas Mirzoeff

pages: 220 pages

The fact that the power of images has grown out of all proportion is obvious to everyone. With the advent of new media, image production has increased massively and the circulation of images is so pervasive that it affects every moment of our lives. In the United States alone, more photographs are taken every two minutes than were taken throughout

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