“Piero Manzoni: When Bodies Became Art”

Städel Museum
Schaumainkai 63
June 26–September 22

Curated by Martin Engler

Can the radical nature of Piero Manzoni’s work be appreciated in a museum retrospective mounted fifty years after his death? What power do his cans of “Artist’s Shit” still wield now that they no longer shock? Aiming to refocus our attention on the moment “when bodies become art,” curator Martin Engler posits that Manzoni’s primary target was the mythologization and commodification of the human body in postwar gestural abstraction. This exhibition brings together some 120 works—including Manzoni’s Day-Glo polystyrene monochromes, as well as documentation of the people he signed and then titled “Living Sculptures”—by the Italian artist and others. Connections both to the historical avant-gardes and to Conceptual art will emphasize the late artist’s use of diverse strategies, from travesty to debasement and humor, to savagely critique the body’s reification in art. Travels to the Palazzo Reale, Milan, Oct. 2013–Jan. 2014.