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Alighiero Boetti at MoMA: From Sarcasm to Sap

by Corinna Kirsch on August 10, 2012
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Game Plan, MoMA’s retrospective of Alighiero Boetti, splices the Italian artist in two: there was the rabidly sarcastic pop-conceptual artist of the 1960s and the introspective dreamer of the 1970s onward who made big, furry wall hangings. Both of these Boettis produced a lot of art: Game Plan consists of hundreds of works produced from the 1960s through the 1990s and takes up room on two floors of MoMA and part of the sculpture garden.

Boetti started off his career on strong, if imperfect, footing, and like Piero Manzoni before him—the Italian artist who, in 1961, canned his own shit—he had flashes of sarcasm aimed at Anglophone pop and conceptual art. Later in Boetti’s life, the dreamer took over. The works became overly cryptic, based on personal systems and mythology, and they lost some of the playfulness associated with his earlier work.

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