Beginning in the 1960s, the German-Italian gallerist and publisher Edigio Marzona has created one of the largest and most significant art collections on twentieth-century avant-garde movements that includes works of conceptual art, minimal art and arte povera from America and Europe. It has been housed at Staatliche Museen zu Berlin since 2002.
Based on an exhibition series hosted by the Hamburger Bahnhof contemporary art museum in Berlin over a period of two and a half years, the book is the first ever overview of the collection in all its diversity. Its chapters are headed by the letters of the alphabet and address representative ideas, individual positions, significant historical exhibitions and artistic genres of the 1960s and 70s. The first chapter, for instance, offers insights into the Italian “Arte Povera” movement; chapter “Handlung” (“action”) discusses performative aspects of art; and the part of the book entitled “Kubus” (“cube”) focuses on geometrical forms that are relevant to minimal art.
All chapters and letters are prefixed by short texts, including some original historical texts that have been translated into German for the first time, such as the seminal essay “Escape Attempts” by the US curator and critic Lucy Lippard. With its wealth of material and key works, texts and documents, this book is a new and essential work of reference.