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Bruno Munari

The Lightness of Art

Edited By Pierpaolo Antonello, Matilde Nardelli and Margherita Zanoletti

Bruno Munari was one of the most important and eclectic twentieth-century European artists. Dubbed the «Leonardo and Peter Pan» of contemporary art, he pioneered what would later be labelled kinetic art, playing a key role in the constitution and definition of the aesthetic programmes of groups such as Movimento Arte Concreta and Programmed Art. He became an internationally recognized name in the field of industrial design, winning the prestigious «Compasso d’Oro» prize four times, while also being a prominent figure in Italian graphic design, working for magazines such as Tempo and Domus, as well as renowned publishing companies such as Einaudi and Bompiani. He left an indelible mark as an art pedagogue and popularizer with his famous 1970s artistic laboratories for children and was the author of numerous books, ranging from essays on art and design to experimental books.

Capturing a resurgent interest in Munari at the international level, the exceptional array of critical voices in this volume constitutes an academic study of Munari of a depth and range that is unprecedented in any language, offering a unique analysis of Munari’s seven-decade-long career. Through original archival research, and illuminating and generative comparisons with other artists and movements both within and outside Italy, the essays gathered here offer novel readings of more familiar aspects of Munari’s career while also addressing those aspects that have received scant or no attention to date.

CONTENTS: Pierpaolo Antonello/Matilde Nardelli/Margherita Zanoletti: Introduction: Bruno Munari’s Lightness – Ara H. Merjian: «On the Verge of the Absurd»: Munari, Dada, and Surrealism in Interwar Italy – Anthony White: Bruno Munari and Lucio Fontana: Parallel Lives – Giovanni Rubino: Bruno Munari versus Programmed Art: A Contradictory Situation, 1961–1967 – Jeffrey Schnapp: The Little Theatre of the Page – Maria Antonella Pelizzari: The Charade of Bruno Munari’s Photo-reportage (1944) – Margherita Zanoletti: Word Imagery and Images of Words: Bruno Munari the Writer – Nicola Lucchi: «The Great Painter Paints the Baker’s Sign»: Bruno Munari and the Art of Advertising – Matilde Nardelli: The Small, the Large, and the Moving: Bruno Munari and Cinema – Pierpaolo Antonello: Bruno Munari’s Natural Forms – Romy Golan: Campo Urbano: Episodes from an Unwritten History of Participation – Teresa Kittler: Bruno Munari’s Environmental Awareness.