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Pop/Beat – Palladian Basilica, Italy

2 Mar — 30 Jun 2024


The exhibition investigates Pop Art and Beat Generation in Italy for the first time: a path summarized by the slogan “Free to dream”, which corresponds well to the underlying feeling of that period, before the tragic awakening of the Years of Lead. The Pop section presents one hundred selected works by 35 artists favoring large formats, spectacularized by a large section of sculptures. The Beat temperature on display will be guaranteed by the music of those years, broadcast in loop and represented by the rare original documents of Gianni Milano, mentor of an entire generation, Aldo Piromalli, Andrea d’Anna, Gianni De Martino, Pietro Tartamella, Eros Alesi , Vincenzo Parrella and many others, as well as the militant artistic story of the Sicilian Antigroup.

While in the United States, from the end of the 1940s, the Beat Generation of Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gregory Corso, William S. Burroughs and many others established itself, over a decade before Pop Art led by Andy Warhol we witnessed in Italy, between 1962 and 1965, to a sort of contemporary pop awareness in the arts, literature and music, which interprets the social, political and cultural changes of the period and the requests coming from the squares, the universities , from factories. The Italian Beat, on the other hand, had a late development compared to the innovations in painting, with significant diffusion from the beginning of the seventies: a literature that also started “from below”, often in the most disadvantaged and peripheral areas of Italy, far from the golden capitals of the publishing houses towards which its interpreters will often make criticisms and claims. Endorsing the widespread opinion that the 1910s and the 1960s were the two pivotal decades for the arts in our country, Pop Beat Italia is a multidisciplinary project that takes advantage of this orientation, with an interconnected proposal between the various expressive forms involved: from painting to sculpture, from photography to music and literature.


The exhibition presents the proactive uniqueness and absolute stature of Italian Pop in Europe as well as the substantial differences and autonomy of Italian artists compared to American ones, the former oriented not only to the evidence of the amplified consumer products of mass society from advertising, but sensitive to Futurism, the first historical avant-garde of the twentieth century.

The journey begins with some of the precursors of this sensitivity: Mimmo Rotella, Enrico Baj, Pino Pascali and many others, highlighting the connection with the experiences of the Piazza del Popolo Group in Rome, of which Mario Schifano was an authentic protagonist, and of the artists neighboring the Marconi Gallery in Milan, thus reconstructing a more unitary and national-wide overall geography of the performers: Milan and Rome therefore, but also Turin, Bologna, Florence and Naples.

There are works by Valerio Adami, Franco Angeli, Enrico Baj, Paolo Baratella, Roberto Barni, Gianni Bertini, Umberto Bignardi, Alik Cavaliere, Mario Ceroli, Lucio Del Pezzo, Fernando De Filippi, Bruno Di Bello, Tano Festa, Giosetta Fioroni, Piero Gilardi, Sergio Lombardo, Roberto Malquori, Renato Mambor, Umberto Mariani, Gino Marotta, Titina Maselli, Fabio Mauri, Aldo Mondino, Ugo Nespolo, Pino Pascali, Concetto Pozzati, Mimmo Rotella, Sergio Sarri, Mario Schifano, Giangiacomo Spadari, Tino Stefanoni, Cesare Tacchi, Emilio Tadini.



As for beat literature, “stray lambs fucking angels” authors will be proposed – according to Gianni De Martino’s definition – such as Aldo Piromalli, Gianni Milano, Andrea d’Anna, Gianni De Martino, Pietro Tartamella, Eros Alesi, Vincenzo Parrella and many others , as well as the militant artistic story of the Sicilian Antigroup led by the charismatic figure of Nat Scammacca, certainly less investigated to date than the activity of the Gruppo 63 of Eco, Pagliarani and Sanguineti.

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