Contemporary Art, 1960s–present

Conceptual Art and Other Modern Art Movements

What is Arte Povera?

Arte Povera, meaning “poor art” or “impoverished art” is a movement that emphasized the use of everyday objects and aims to broaden just what can be considered art. The term was invented by Italian artist German Celant in 1967 and is related to similar movements such as Art Informel. Artists associated with Arte Povera include Greek artist Jannis Kou-nellis (1933-), as well as Italians Giulio Paolini (1940-) and Michelangelo Pisto-letto (1933-). Pistoletto is famous for his arte povera work, Venus of the Rags (1967), in which a glimmering sculpture of Venus, the goddess of love (with her back turned to the viewer), is juxtaposed with a large, colorful pile of rags. Kounel-lis also contrasts refined classicism with the everyday in his Untitled from 1978, in which fragments of a classical sculpture are held together with cord.

Rachel Whiteread’s installation, Embankment (2005) was designed for the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern Museum in London. (Art courtesy The Art Archive / John Meek / Gagosian Gallery, New York, NY, © Rachel Whiteread.)


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