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BOOK LAUNCH: Italian Conversations-Art in the age of Berlusconi


BOOK LAUNCH: Italian Conversations-Art in the age of Berlusconi

Italian Conversations – Art in the age of Berlusconi 

Book launch: Saturday 4 February 2012 
h 5 pm MAXXI B.A.S.E. - Via Guido Reni, 4/A - Rome

A project by Fucking Good Art, commissioned by Nomas Foundation, published by NERO, Rome, and post editions, Rotterdam. Supported by Fonds BKVB (The Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture), Mondriaan Foundation, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Rome, and Parc Saint Leger – Centre d'Art Contemporain in France. In collaboration with Careof and O', Milan; Nosadella.due, Bologna; Progetto Diogene, Turin; Archiviazioni, Lecce; Fondazione Morra Greco, Naples; Francesco Pantaleone Arte Contemporanea, Palermo.

Guest relators: Vincenzo Latronico (writer and art critic)

Introduction: Cecilia Canziani and Ilaria Gianni (Directors Nomas Foundation), and Klaus de Rijk (Counsellor for Cultural Affairs at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Rome)


 Italian Conversations – Art in the age of Berlusconi

By Fucking Good Art, February 2012


In this book, the 29th issue of Fucking Good Art, you will find 26 conversations with artists, curators, critics and gallerists who play an active role in the Italian contemporary art world. There are 7 beautiful artists contributions and 9 texts, and there is a list of independent non-profit private initiatives by artists, curators, collectors and others, compiled in collaboration with partners from the seven different territories involved in this book project. 



Don’t worry! Our new Fucking Good Art is about Art and not Mister B. With ‘the age of Berlusconi’ we refer to ‘Reaganism’ or ‘Thatcherism’,  to a certain unfriendly attitude towards culture, the media-politics relation, the mistrust of intellectual value, the loss of commons.

This book is a report of our viaggio in Italia. The aim of our journey was not to expose ourselves to the famous cultural legacy of classical antiquity and the Italian Renaissance, but to explore – as artists and non-academic researchers – Italy’s contemporary artistic, social and political scene through active witnesses – the many people we met and talked with. We started in Rome and ended in Palermo, passing through Florence, Bologna, Lugo, Milan, Viganella, Turin, Rivoli, Lecce, Matera, Bari, Santa Maria di Leuca, Naples and Gibellina. The structure of the book echoes our route, and has the form of a travelogue in seven chapters.

This book was made at the invitation of the Nomas Foundation in Rome. From January to May 2011, we travelled to the seven predetermined cities or territories, where our partners and ‘knowledgeable guides’ provided hospitality, put a programme together and introduced us to the local art scene and the Italian art ‘system’ as a whole. The seven partners who participate in this project are: Cecilia Canziani and Ilaria Gianni (Nomas Foundation - Rome); Elisa Del Prete (Nosadella.due - Bologna); Chiara Agnello (Careof - Milan); Raffaella Spagna and Andrea Caretto (Diogene – Turin); Giusy Checola and Luigi Presicce (Archiviazioni - Lecce); Francesca Boenzi (Fondazione Morra Greco - Naples); Francesco Pantaleone (FPAC Gallery - Palermo).

As Vincenzo Latronico – who did most of the translations from Italian to English –remarks in his ‘note on the English’: This issue of Fucking Good Art, which centres on an exploration of Italy, is published in English. Most of the texts it includes were written in Italian; others are based on conversations which took place in half-Italian, half-English. For a good part it has been translated by a native Italian/French speaker, and edited by two Dutch artists.

Throughout Europe there are dramatic cutbacks in public spending, including culture, fuelled by similar  rhetorics based upon narratives from economics, business, Darwinism and management. The huge discontent and distrust concerning public institutes and services and the preference for the private, the independent and ‘autonomia’ surprised us, and seemed to be one of the few things everyone agrees on in Italy, from left to right.

Our journey was a search for new proposals, more ecological and sustainable practices that allow us to continue to make art in a confused world, ruled by money. 

Is the Italian situation soon to be our future? 

But there is one big difference: in Italy, at least you’ll always have Italy!


Robert Hamelijnck and Nienke Terpsma

Artists and editors