In the 1960's and 70's when artists were taking a radical turn in Modern Art, the Italian art critic Germano Celant coined the term Arte-Povera, meaning quite literally "poor art". This term was not necessarily related to the money spent creating the artwork however, but moreover the work of anti-materialists that fell into this category (according to Celant). Common artists who demonstrated Arte Povera included Giovanni Anselmo, Luciano Fabro, Giuseppe Penone, along with several others. They "found vitality as well as metaphysical import in every kind of common, even perishable material...and chose to present rather than represent it" (Hunter, Jacobus, Wheeler, Modern Art). While in italy, the museum I visited most often was the GAM (Gallery of Modern and Contemporary art in Turin). One exhibit I remember my professor talking about extensively while on a tour, (probably because it was very close to her, being that it took place in the museum 45 years earlier), was an exhibition called "Fluxus alla Gam" curated by Maria Teresa Roberto. "Fluxus" was a type of "anti-art" of the time, which usually combined several different mediums into one piece. This work was a one time installment which took place on April 26, 1967 and resulted in a mark on a long roll of paper created by a man being drug on his head to create it. The other installation was when he tied himself with a bunch of different strings attached to different parts of the room, and had people come and observe. These events were part of a three day event "Concert Fluxus art total",which included actions and concerts of music. The idea of this kind of "anti-art" was to be in the instant of the event and for that reason, this piece is much more about the moment in time in which this event happened, and less about the outcome of the piece after the fact. However, these artifacts become something interesting in themselves, and something we as viewers are able to hold onto and try to understand though we may never have the full experience of being there at the happening. "The performative dimension thus entered for the first time in the museum, according to the principles of a Fluxus art practice widespread, collective, aimed at denying the principles of originality and authorship." This piece and Fluxus, Anti-art, and Arte-Povera in general were crucial movements in defining what art is. This was the beginning of the transition from modern to contemporary art, for the re-definition of what art is, is an ongoing question even today.
Hunter, Sam, and John M. Jacobus. Modern Art: Painting, Sculpture, Architecture. 2nd ed. New York: H.N. Abrams, 1985. Print.