Call for Papers: Processi italiani: Examining Process in Postwar Italian Art, 1945-1980
Session Sponsored by the Italian Art Society at the College Art Association Conference, Los Angeles 2018
Chair: Tenley Bick, Visiting Assistant Professor of Art History, Washington University
Dominant narratives in modern and contemporary art history have long positioned the 1960s Italian avant-garde Arte Povera—a movement known for ephemeral practices, informalist aesthetics, and “deskilled” procedures—as a subset of process art and post-minimalism, ascribing Italian innovations to movements better associated with British and American artists. This Anglo-Americentric reading, however, does not account for the rich experimentation in artistic process in Italian art throughout the post-WWII period or for the distinctly Italian concerns thereof. These concerns include the politics of artistic labor during the Italian labor movement, the turn to process art as a politicized response to the cultural geopolitics of object-based practices, and the significance of process-focused rather than product-focused art in the post-fascist state, to name a few. Indeed, closer examination of process in Arte Povera—and postwar Italian art, more broadly—distinguishes the work of Italian artists from that of their ostensive American and British counterparts. At a moment of renewed attention to postwar Italian art and culture, especially within American and British scholarship and institutions, this problem is particularly pressing, calling for a revisitation of process in postwar Italian art and revision of postwar art history, in turn.
To that end, this panel invites papers that examine process as a critical site of creative practice in postwar Italian art. Especially welcome are papers that consider process as a distinctive problem or politicized site of Italian artistic practice from 1945 to 1980. Topics might include, among others: the reconfiguration of design in the contro-design movement and vanguard groups such as the Gruppo N; the implementation of the artisanal and craft in the postwar Italian avant-garde; paper practices in Italian radical architecture; the reconceptualization of artistic work and the Italian labor movement; and ephemeral practices in Arte Povera.
Abstracts of 200 to 250 words should be submitted to Tenley Bick by 14 August 2017. Applicants should submit the following with their paper proposals: completed CAA session participation proposal form, shortened cv, and email explaining your interest in the session, expertise in the topic, and availability during the conference.