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Alberto Burri: The Trauma of Painting

ISBN: 9780892075232
Publisher: Guggenheim Museum Publications
Publication Date: 2015-10-27
Number of pages: 280
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Published to accompany a major retrospective exhibition--the first in the United States in more than 35 years and the most comprehensive ever mounted--this title showcases the pioneering work of Italian artist Alberto Burri (1915-95). Exploring the beauty and complexity of Burri's process-based works, the exhibition positions the artist as a central and singular protagonist of postwar art. Burri is best known for his series of Sacchi (sacks) made of stitched and patched remnants of torn burlap bags, often combined with fragments of discarded clothing. Far less familiar to American audiences are his other series, which this exhibition represents in depth: Catrami (tars), Gobbi (hunchbacks), Muffe (molds), Bianchi (whites), Legni (woods), Ferri (irons), Combustioni plastiche (plastic combustions), Cretti and Cellotex works.
Burri's work both demolished and reconfigured the Western pictorial tradition, while reconceptualizing modernist collage. Using unconventional materials, he moved beyond the painted surfaces and markmaking of American Abstract Expressionism and European Art Informel. Burri's unprecedented approaches to manipulating humble substances--and his abject picture-objects--also profoundly influenced Arte Povera, Neo-Dada and Process art.
Alberto Burri was born in Italy in 1915. He first garnered attention in the US in the early 1950s when his work was included in the group exhibition Younger European Painters at the Guggenheim Museum and was also shown at the Frumkin Gallery, Chicago, and at the Stable Gallery, New York. In 1977 a retrospective was presented at the University of California's Frederick S. Wight Gallery, Los Angeles, and traveled to the Marion Koogler McNay Art Institute, San Antonio, Texas, and the Guggenheim Museum (1978). He died in Nice, France, in 1995.

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