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ONCE MORE WITH INTELLECT: ITALY'S NEW IDEA ART

A SHARED IMPULSE AMONG young artists today—to reject the idea of art’s autonomy and address its connection to larger social contexts—has made itself felt in a host of recent international exhibitions, from the “Aperto” section of the last Venice Biennale to Sonsbeek 93 in Arnhem last summer, the Whitney Biennial in New York, and “Project Unité” in Firminy. In each of these cases Italian artists have made specific contributions to this general, international trend.

The tendency has a number of subordinate features. Nicolas Bourriaud, writing in the “Aperto” catalogue, for instance, notes that today’s young artists, rather than reacting against the movements that preceded them, seem to adopt the languages of their artistic precursors, but in forms diluted of radical potential.

This diminution of political agency, however, does not bespeak a willful complacency on the part of the artists;

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