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Piero Manzoni at Gagosian

PIERO MANZONI HAS APPEARED in only a small handful of shows in the US over the past two decades, among them the grand “Italian Metamorphosis, 1943–1968” at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York in 1994, curated by Germano Celant, and “Minimalia: An Italian Vision in 20th Century Art” at P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center in 1999, curated by Achille Bonito Oliva. Both positioned Manzoni’s work as an enigmatic last gasp of modernist painting, and just one example among many of a proliferation of artistic brilliance and productivity in Italy in the 1950s and ’60s. Yet “Piero Manzoni: A Retrospective,” recently on view at the Chelsea branch of the Gagosian Gallery franchise, was a monographic show of such scale that it replaced previous endgames with inaugurations. Also curated by Celant—who, with few exceptions, has monopolized the discourse on Manzoni for four decades—the exhibition

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