Critics’ Picks

Claudio Costa, Antropologia Riseppellita (Reburied Anthropology) 1976–77, mixed media, dimensions variable. Installation view.


Addio anni ’70

Palazzo Reale
Piazza del Duomo, 12
May 31 - September 2

Addio anni ’70” (“Goodbye to the ’70s”), curated by Francesco Bonami and Paola Nicolin, is a very broad and complex exhibition, featuring seventy-six artists and collectives. In an apposite nod toward 1970s desires for revolution, the exhibition offers free admission: The ticket office has been dismantled and in its place are tables and chairs, designed by Enzo Mari, which provide visitors an opportunity to study zines and publications from the era.

Addio anni ’70” also bravely attempts to come to terms with the wishes to astonish, assault, and provoke that we associate with that tumultuous decade. Milan was emblematic of this attitude, and its Diagramma Gallery, for one, was a crucible of talent. In terms of video production, however, Milan ceded the stage to Florence, where the video-art space Art Tape 22 nurtured many practitioners, including Urs Lüthi, who has two videos in the show (one of which, Self Portrait, 1974, speaks to the importance of an artist’s identity and role in society, central concerns of the era).

The curators’ extraordinary philological research into the depth and spirit of the ’70s is revealed in a spare installation that, even in the sumptuous spaces of the Palazzo Reale, very astutely expresses that art from the decade also focused on matter, flesh, blood, and land. Most compellingly, Nicolin and Bonami have installed some exceptional works that convey this theme, some of which are not well known, such as Alik Cavaliere’s W la libertà (Viva Freedom), 1977, and Claudio Costa’s Antropologia riseppellita (Reburied Anthropology) 1976–77.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.