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Challenging notions of what is or could be art, this work and the Minus Objects are considered fundamental to the Arte Povera movement and would become one of Pistoletto's most important bodies of work.Wood - Collection of Walker Art Center Venus of the Rags, Pistoletto's iconic large-scale sculpture, consists of a classically rendered figure of the goddess Venus staring into a colorful mound of rags and discarded clothing.
RA Collection: People and Organisations Born in 1475 in the Republic of Florence, the Italian artist Michelangelo was long celebrated as the greatest practitioner of the three visual arts of sculpture, painting and architecture.
He was also a respected poet, although in spite of his various achievements the artist considered himself primarily as a sculptor.
Both playful (in his unconventional means) and serious (in his high-minded goals of changing the status quo), Pistoletto is a rare figure in arts practice for his commitment to do things differently, both in the art world and the world at large.
Helping both set the goals and provide some idiosyncratic means for the Arte Povera movement's attempt to dissolve the borders between art and life, Pistoletto rejected conventional art world practices with his constant shifting of the type of work he created, and by his insistence on avoiding the creation of objects only for visual admiration.
When exhibited, Pistoletto's mirror paintings are often displayed at a height lower than standard museum levels - this viewpoint actually gives casual viewers the opportunity for both seeing themselves as part of the work of art and shift their , showcasing the works in the context of the surrounding environment.
Oil, graphite on tissue paper mounted to mirror-polished stainless steel - Collection of Walker Art Center Quandro da pranzo (Lunch Painting) consists of a wooden frame containing simple geometric renderings of two life-size wooden chairs and a table, which, when hung, allows the gallery wall to be incorporated into the painting.Made early in Pistoletto's career, the artist considered these works to be an act of liberation and served as a kind of escape from the increasing demand for his mirror paintings.When first exhibited together in 1966 as an exhibition in the artist's Turin studio, the Minus Objects were not well received, in part because those in the commercial gallery world did not know how to represent or market them.He didn't simply create such works to be "finished" once and for all, but rather launched them into the world to live their own complex, unfolding lives with the help of their audiences and viewers.Both the content of the art experiences he produced as well as the locations he produced them in - insisting on occurring outside traditional gallery and theater spaces, and with the engagement of non-artists from all walks of life - have sought a more significant role for art in the real world through projects that have attempted to transform economics and politics as well as the environment.In this work's foreground, three women look out over a balcony rail into a gallery while reproductions of paintings resembling those of artists Ellsworth Kelly and Andy Warhol have been placed in the background.The mirror paintings, which form the foundation of Pistoletto's body of work, were an important example of work created as part of the short-lived Italian art movement known as Arte Povera.He did this while re-activating viewers experiences with art objects in order, as he later stated about his work, "to give a part of myself to those who wish to give a part of themselves." That is, he sought to make a more dynamic, shared exchange between artists and audience.Tre ragazze alla balconata (Three Girls on a Balcony) is one of a series of paintings on reflective materials that artist Michelangelo Pistoletto began working with starting in 1961.Influenced by the social implications of more experimental tendencies in theatrical performance of his time, Pistoletto promoted a greater role for art in society and politics through his later projects that attempted to re-fashion the human world while involving many creative collaborators and crossing disciplinary lines, including mixing elements of music, theater, and installation, along with other visual art elements.He also designed works so that each would appear to be created by a different artist, defying notions of "branding" a signature style.