Working in 1970s Italy, a young generation of artists, namely Ugo La Pietra, Maurizio Nannucci, Francesco Somaini, Mauro Staccioli, Franco Summa, and Franco Vaccari, sought new spaces for the creation and exhibition of art. Looking beyond the gallery and reimaging the possibilities of art and architecture, they generated conceptual and participatory interventions – called Arte Ambientale (Environmental Art) – situated directly in the city streets. Their experimentation emerged during a decade of cultural crisis when fierce domestic terrorism aggravated an already fragile political situation. Arte Ambientale artists reacted by embracing a position of artistic autonomy and social critique to confront the widespread sense of malaise. Their work engaged with cultural patrimony, social actuality, and political contingency at a time when the lines between public art and protest were increasingly indistinct.
Book to be published by Routledge Advances in Art and Visual Studies, forthcoming June 2019