[Ital.,=poor art], influential art movement that arose in Italy in the late 1960s. It was championed by the Italian art critic Germano Celant, who also named (1967) the movement. It was characterized by generally large abstract sculptures made up of humble and often organic or discarded materials such as dirt, rope, rocks, old clothing, burlap sacks, wire, broken glass, tree limbs, industrial waste, and the like. Among the more than a dozen artists associated with Arte Povera are Jannis Kounellis, Mario and Marisa Merz, Luciano Fabro, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Giovanni Anselmo, and Piero Manzoni. Partially a reaction to Italy's economic boom, to its student and worker revolts, and to the prevalence of consumer culture, the movement is regarded artistically as a rejection of the tenets of high art and a reaction to American pop art
See catalogs by C. Criticos et al. (2001) and F. Malsch et al., ed. (2011); studies by G. Celant (tr. 1969 and 1985, tr. 2011), R. Lumley (2005), G. Lista (2008), M. Bürgi et al. (2012), and C. Christov-Bakargiev (2005 and 2014).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: European Art, 1600 to the Present