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THURSDAY, AUGUST 10, 2017 www.italoamericano.org L'Italo-Americano 2 NEWS & FEATURES TOP STORIES PEOPLE EVENTS A broad, Italy is a well esta- blished icon. From an artistic point of view it is Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassicism. It is Leonardo Da Vinci and the Gioconda's myste- rious charm. It is Sandro Botticelli and his graceful Primavera, Michelangelo and his Sistine Chapel, his David, his Moses, his Pietà. It is the passion in chiaroscu- ro of Caravaggio, the idyllic har- mony of Raffaello's Madonnas and the grand monumentality of Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Francesco Borromini. It is the elegant cleanliness of forms of Antonio Canova's Tre Grazie. It is a codified aesthetic canon that attracts millions of visitors to our museums and art cities every year, to a country home to the highest number of UNESCO heritage sites in the world. Just to give some examples, visiting Rome, Florence, Venice, Siena, Naples, Pompeii and Herculaneum, Assisi, Padua, Ferrara, Urbino, is the equivalent of a trip into an immense, open air history of art book. But Italian art didn't stop there, it kept creating important talents, who contributed to the construction of contemporary aesthetics. However, in our - and the world's - collective imagination,Italy's hardly asso- ciated with artistic talents histori- cally closer to us, even if many of them left indelible signs of their talent. Masters of the second half of the 20th century such as Renato Guttuso, Giorgio de Chirico, Carlo Carrà, Alberto Burri, Emilio Vedova, Mario Sironi, Giorgio Morandi and Lucio Fontana are part of hun- dreds of museums and exhibi- tions attracting hordes of visitors and art lovers, yet they're not identified as Italy's national cul- tural patrimony, as popular archetypes. To say it simply: it's difficult to hear someone say that Italian art is Arnaldo Pomodoro or Enrico Castellani. Yet, international art auctions of the past few years showed how, very often, it's our very own talents to rule the game. Sale prices, as well their acknowledg- ment and wide appeal within art circuits, should make us all think. Just to give you an example, Michelangelo Pistoletto is vir- tually unknown to most, yet he's worth a staggering amount of money. Born in 1933, he's one of the highest representatives of Italy's Arte Povera, artistic movement born in Turin as antithesis to traditional art and its aesthetic canons. The movement largely contests its use of a crea- tive language which is old, "passé," unable to portray con- temporary society. In order to defy this problem, Arte Povera chooses "poor" materials to create art with, like soil, wood, iron, rags, plastic, industrial waste, with the aim of regenerating meaning and recreating language. Significative in this sense is Pistoletto's most well known work, the Venere degli Stracci (The Venus of Rags), a formally classical statue of a goddess looking at a mound of rags. The interpretative keys of this phenomenon are multiple. Leaving aside an economical discourse - contemporary art could be a truly interesting market asset for Italy, but it is barely taken into consideration, focusing uniquely on its cultural value - it's been too long a time since Italy has reflected properly on its capability to valorize her own cultural patrimony. A patri- mony which is not solely tied to the past, but must necessarily by connected with the present, if it's true that art is a fundamental interpretative key of time passing and history. This is not a matter of techni- ques or schools, but rather of sensitivity, of being able to grasp the mood and feelings of an epoch, a society and a culture. And for those admiring it, art remains an essential instrument to develop their emotional intel- ligence. Why Italian contemporary art should be rediscovered and loved BARBARA MINAFRA Michelangelo Pistoletto standing next to the "Venere degli Stracci"

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