October 1, 2017 - National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art (Rome) - It’s Just a Beginning. 1968
October 1, 2017

National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art (Rome)

Courtesy National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art (Rome).

It’s Just a Beginning. 1968
October 3, 2017–January 14, 2018

National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art (Rome)
Viale delle Belle Arti, 131
00197 Rome
Italy
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 8:30am–7:30pm

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It’s the prelude. Thus begins the 50th anniversary of ’68, with a return to the radical upheaval that weighed down on Western society and that did not leave the art world untouched either. It begins with an exhibition (October 3, 2017–January 14, 2018) at the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Rome, the first in Italy devoted to ’68 and to its intersections with the movements and the artistic ferment that heralded it, ran parallel to it, and prolonged it.

It’s Just a Beginning. 1968 is not only the title of the exhibition curated by Ester Coen or the slogan of the May 1968 protests in France, but rather an invitation to look towards the processes, to the becoming, to the opening up of what began and never stopped beginning, ever new, from ’68 onwards. Art, democracy, life, nothing would ever be the same after that, yet nothing would ever be a sure win. What’s left of ’68 is its history, its defeats, its victories, but also a warning that becomes praise for the unfinished: "Ce n’est qu’un début."

From this beginning, which deliberately overlooks the outcomes and takes account of Gilles Deleuze’s words “We always knew it would end up badly," the exhibition tells the story of a short circuit between art, politics, creativity. Not only and not so much because the spirit of the revolt of ’68 stretched all the way to the art world too, but because art has its own way of creating that same desire for a beginning that it shared with ’68: with Minimalism, Conceptual Art, Arte Povera, Land Art, the many currents that in those years emerged rapidly and were propagated regardless of the diversity of the methods and processes they used, along with a radical renewal of thinking and of the arts of life expressed by way of design and fashion.

The artistic currents would end up newly classified in art history. The political movements in the history of those defeated. The exhibition It’s Just a Beginning. 1968 does not judge the ends and it does not express an opinion on the adequacy of the means. It tells us about “what began” through the works of:

Vito Acconci, Carl Andre, Franco Angeli, Giovanni Anselmo, Diane Arbus, Alighiero Boetti, Pier Paolo Calzolari, Carla Cerati, Merce Cunningham, Gino De Dominicis, Walter De Maria, Valie Export, Luciano Fabro, Rose Finn-Kelcey, Dan Flavin, Hans Haacke, Eva Hesse, Nancy Holt, Joan Jonas, Donald Judd, Allan Kaprow, Joseph Kosuth, Jannis Kounellis, Yayoi Kusama, Sol LeWitt, Richard Long, Toshio Matsumoto, Gordon Matta-Clark, Mario Merz, Marisa Merz, Maurizio Mochetti, Richard Moore, Bruce Nauman, Luigi Ontani, Giulio Paolini, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Emilio Prini, Mario Schifano, Carolee Schneemann, Gerry Schum, Robert Smithson, Bernar Venet, Lawrence Wiener, Gilberto Zorio

And from the Galleria Nazionale’s permanent collection, through the works of: Gianfranco Baruchello, Daniel Buren, Mario Ceroli, Christo, Tano Festa, Giosetta Fioroni, Eliseo Mattiacci, Pino Pascali, Andy Warhol

And it will be an unforgettable beginning.

The exhibition is accompanied by the Newspaper-Catalogue È solo un inizio. 1968 with an essay by Ester Coen and contributions by Franco Berardi Bifo, Achille Bonito Oliva, Luciana Castellina, Germano Celant, Goffredo Fofi, Franco Piperno, Rossana Rossanda, Lea Vergine, among others, edited by Ilaria Bussoni and Nicolas Martino.

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