Germano Celant

  • A Note on A.R. Penck

    Today a neo-Mannerist tension is apparent, a sort of anti-Classical revolt against the definition and the monolithism manifest in the reductivism and structuralism which were typical of the last decade. Visual writing is tending toward dissolved, contorted forms, eccentric configurations, and color. We are witnessing the break-down of all equilibriums in favor of a deformation which tolerates disorder, incoherence, ambiguity, and confusion as working methods for systems of analysis.

    Alone, theory is not sufficient to analyze this expanding excursion into disintegration. We need the blinding


    THE CRITICAL FORTUNES OF FUTURISM are continuously improving as philological investigations of the manifestoes and works of art accumulate. Research into Futurism requires continuous scrutiny of the sources from which it emerged, and of the cultural environment in which it developed. It demands a systematic critical reinterpretation and a thorough examination of the cultural roots, which seem to lie in every area of social and esthetic activity of the years 1900–1916. The relationship between Futurism and studies concerned with the investigations of evidence for parapsychology and parascience

  • “Strada Novissima” in “The Presence of the Past”

    As soon as I was immersed in the “marvel” of “Strada Novissima,” I asked myself if it was an exhibition of architecture or if it was architecture. While I contemplated the facades and the built structures created by the protagonists of architectonic post-modernism, this problem continued to plague me until I realized that it was this very ambiguity that was important.

    An architecture exhibition usually “documents” work constructed elsewhere. It consists of residues—drawings, photographs, plans, models, theoretical writings—with which the architect can demonstrate that the ideas behind

  • “Dirty Acconci”

    Dirtiness in itself is not . . . bad
    —Sigmund Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents, 1929.

    IN THE SPAN FROM 1960 to today, art has perpetuated the loyalist position which established it as absolute knowledge and dogma, capable of holding within itself all contradictions—with the result that it has been transformed into ritual, into repetitions of all-comprehensive formulae that furnish a response to every situation. This leaves no possibility of doubt. At the public level, in fact, the artistic experience has been sustainable only to the extent that the existential fracture manages to be hidden

  • Urban Nature: The Work of Maria Nordman

    Not to know how to orientate oneself in a city doesn’t mean much. But to get lost in it, as one gets lost in a forest, is something to learn about.
    —Walter Benjamin

    THOSE PEOPLE IN NEW YORK who for hours stop and observe, through specially cut windows, the construction of a skyscraper or of a new building; or those people in Los Angeles who love to cover long distances to observe the nature of the urban suburbs from the automobile or the bus, or who stay seated on boulevard benches looking at the traffic and the city’s happenings, today appear to me to be the people who are nearest to one of the

  • Mario Merz: The Artist as Nomad

    He who practices art is a vagabond, a nomadic survivor who will never find a home among people who have become settled.
    —Adorno and Horkheimer

    MARIO MERZ’S “IGLOO” OF broken glass is an uncertain and unsheltering space. Its fluid irregularity upsets its tranquility as a secure object by transforming it into something referential, raising questions of what is reconcilable and definitive in art. The structural and the referential come together; the openings and the transparency of the glass allow osmotic exchanges to filter between the two contexts. Recalling the huts and domes of primitive builders,