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View of “Che fare? Arte Povera—The Historic Years,” 2010, Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, Vaduz.

“Less is More” and “Che fare? Arte Povera—The Historic Years”

IN SEPTEMBER 1971—in “Notes on the Spectator,” his editorial statement for the inaugural issue of the Milanese art journal Data—Tommaso Trini discerned the collapse of a classic avant-garde opposition between art and anti-art. The embrace of previously rejected forms, an ever-quickening cycle of acceptance increasingly determined through the “complicity of a clique [gruppetto] of spectators-readers-dealers-critics-collectors,” had imploded when artists definitively joined the gruppetto, making their function as producers indistinguishable from that of participants in art’s consensual reception. No longer could one speak of an extra-artistic work or situation, but instead only of the discursive nature of a given context as well as of presentational styles and other “elements [that] underlie communication in art,” all of which had in fact become the work of art. Trini named collectors

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