CFP: ITALY 1970s

by Webmaster on January 24, 2014

Palinsesti is a peer-reviewed journal dedicated to historical studies on Italian Art since 1960. Its fourth thematic issue is entitled: “The Years of Lead: Italian and West German Aural & Visual Culture in the 1970s.” The 1970s often appear to be a lost decade. Bracketed on one side by the revolutionary impulses and pluralist art practices of the late 1960s, and on the other by a conservative return to order and the retrenchment of authoritative painting in the 1980s, the 1970s is an era without a clear identity. In both Italy and West Germany, countries whose intellectual and linguistic disparities belie a comparable political fallout after World War II, these years have been retrospectively referred to as “leaden.” Die bleierne Zeit (Anni di Piombo) was the title of a 1981 film by Margarethe von Trotta about far-left German revolutionaries. The phrase was subsequently taken up to represent the preceding decade because it speaks of the continued economic stagnancy in Europe, as well as the devolution of the broad social movements of the 1960s into ever more radical activist groups like the Red Brigades (BR, Brigate Rosse) and the Red Army Faction (RAF, Rote Armee Fraktion). As the stuff of ammunition, lead is also evocative of those high profile acts of public violence that were carried out by such terrorist organizations throughout the 1970s. In art, this same period witnessed the dissolution of collective artistic attitudes like Arte Povera and Fluxus into the disparate orbits of individual careers, and to the re-emergence of expressionist painting as the allegorical figure par excellence of such alienated ambition. What happened in art and related visual and aural production between the protested 1968 Venice Biennale and that of 1980, in which both Italian and German representatives marshaled a new chapter of painting’s reappearance, this time as neo-expressionist? Is it useful to weigh the cultural production of the decade against the socio-political backdrop? What do we learn by looking at these two countries together, where similar trajectories can be traced from the idealism of social collectivity to marketable artists and artworks, or from heightened radicalization to political violence? Are the 1970s more than just a stage on which the endgames of modernism are performed? The on-line journal Palinsesti invites proposals for contributions (max 40,000 characters) that explore the aural and visual culture of these “Years of Lead” in Italy and/or West Germany such as: Where can we see the political failures of 1967-69 being registered in the aural and visual culture of the 1970s? How can we productively read the visual components of the Autonomia Operaio movement? How can we understand the visual role of the body among the Indiani Metropolitani (Italy, 1977), perhaps in relation to the art of the time or to the art that preceded/followed the 1970s? How does West German cinema in the 1970s (Der Neue Deutsche Film) become such a popular site for much of the more radical elements of art and music from the previous decade? What role did art schools and other pedagogical institutions play in the production of aural and visual culture in the 1970s in West Germany? Where can we see and hear feminist practices intersecting with the larger social debates of the decade? Is there a relationship between shifting importance of collectives and individuals in both art and social structures? What is overlooked in the scholarship of the 1970s? Submission guidelines online. Questions may be submitted via email. Deadline: 30 June 2014.

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