Incontri internazionali di arte

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Incontri Internazionali d’Arte, founded in 1970, is an apolitical, non-profit association which aims to spread and increase awareness of contemporary art in all its forms, focusing in particular on new developments. The Secretary General is Graziella Lonardi Buontempo, who has held the position since the foundation of the association. Alberto Moravia has been President since 1975. In the early 1970s, artistic activity, especially in Italy, revolved around two completely separate poles: the public institutions, and a range of private initiatives. Incontri Internazionali d’Arte aimed right from the beginning to bring about an innovative mediation between the two spheres. Clear proof of this was provided by the association’s first exhibition, “Vitalità del negativo nell’arte italiana 1960/70″, curated by Achille Bonito Oliva, in which the artists of the most recent Italian avant-garde, in the ambit of a revolutionary system of exhibition, were offered the chance to present their work in a prestigious public venue, the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome. Since then the association has begun to collaborate with numerous institutions all over the world, from Europe to the United States, Latin America and China. In order to achieve its aims, Incontri Internazionali d’Arte encourages and arranges the exchange of information and experience, paying special attention to the international scene. In 1973, when contemporary art in Italy was excluded without exception from the most significant cultural projects, the association organised what is still recognised as the greatest exhibition of contemporary art held in Rome. Held in the new underground car-park at Villa Borghese before it came into use, the exhibition “Contemporanea”, designed by Achille Bonito Oliva and curated by a team of experts, presented the leading international exponents of contemporary art in an anthropologically complex vision of culture and its various languages: the visual arts, poetry, dance, media, photography, theatre, and cinema. It was on this occasion that Christo wrapped up 200 metres of the Aurelian Walls. During the 1970s, as well as the major exhibitions organized in conjunction with public institutions and private sponsors (Incontri Internazionali d’Arte was responsible, in Italy, for establishing the idea of the co-funding of cultural projects by public and private companies), the association also set up the Centro d’Informazione Alternativa (Centre of Alternative Information), conceived by Achille Bonito Oliva and co-ordinated by Bruno Corà, in the historic seat of Palazzo Taverna in Rome. A place which, during a difficult period for Italian society, when democracy itself was under threat, welcomed the most daring and innovative expressions of contemporary art in a context that favoured collaboration and participation. In Palazzo Taverna exhibitions, performances and debates were held, studies on art, cinema and theatre were presented, and there was continuous discussion about art and politics, art and the media, and art and education. Jannis Kounellis, Giulio Paolini, Vincenzo Agnetti, Alighiero Boetti, Eliseo Mattiacci, Luciano Fabro, Mario Merz, Daniel Buren, Sol LeWitt, Gino De Dominicis, Luigi Ontani, and Luca Patella, among others, helped to create the special character of the place through their assiduous presence. Together with them were the art critics and historians Giulio Carlo Argan, Maurizio Calvesi, Alberto Boatto, Filiberto Menna, and Germano Celant, as well as Achille Bonito Oliva, the current artistic director of the association, who also curated all the activities in the first ten years of Incontri, and Bruno Corà, who was the artistic director of the association in the 1980s. With the aim of promoting awareness of contemporary art by means of instruments other than simple divulgation, at Palazzo Taverna collections of books, journals, photos and videos were begun and a vast range of documentation on contemporary culture was gathered and made available for consultation. During the 1980s the activity of Incontri Internazionali d’Arte was characterised above all by exhibitions devoted to Italian artists abroad: the major exhibition entitled “Identité italienne. L’art en Italie depuis 1959″ at the Centre Georges Pompidou, curated by Germano Celant, Pistoletto at the PS.1 in New York, Mario Merz at the MOCA in Los Angeles, and Kounellis at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. The first exhibitions devoted to cinema were held towards the end of the 1970s, curated by Adriano Aprà and Patrizia Pistagnesi, above all for the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. In a climate of renewed collaboration with the Italian public institutions, in 1987 Incontri Internazionali d’Arte set up a project together with the Department of the Artistic and Historical Heritage of Naples, for the orga