Katie Hood Morgan

“Live in Your Head: Attitudes of Arte Povera"
HSz: as is/as if, Fall 2010
A publication on the late curator, Harald Szeemann
CCA Curatorial Practice Department Publication, edited by Leigh Markopoulos and Julian Myers

In this essay I will take a close look at the exhibition When Attitudes Become Form, curated by Harald Szeemann, focusing in on the large grouping of Arte Povera artists that Szeemann included. I take a close look at the respective "manifestos" of Szeemann and Arte Povera, as represented in the writings of Germano Celant and the Arte Povera artists. I hope to examine the driving forces behind these two projects, the Attitudes exhibition and the Arte Povera "movement" (for lack of a better word). What are political commitments of Celant, Szeemann, and the Arte Povera artists? Where do they diverge and converge?

I am also interested in the political moment in which the Arte Povera artists, or the poveristi, were working and in which Szeemann was pulling together the exhibition. I wanted to better understand the political implications of the main ideas of Arte Povera as well as the politics of Szeemann himself. His diary for Attitudes begins one month after the chaos of May, 1968, in France and the exhibition was developed during a period of intense social unrest worldwide. Is it possible to pin down Szeemann's politics or even his level of criticality? To what extent does his inclusion of 11 Arte Povera artists implicitly indicate his alliance with their political intentions? As a running thread throughout, I've been looking at perceptions of what the role of the artist is meant to be in a time of political upheaval.

Full publication HERE.