Painting, Politics, and the New Front of Cold War Italy
The first English-language monograph on Il Fronte Nuovo delle Arti, this study explores the rise and fall of this postwar Italian artists' group as a representative instance of the tensions facing Italian painting during the transition out of two decades of Fascism and into the global divisions of the Cold War. Adrian Duran argues that the binary structures of the era - realism vs. abstraction, Communism vs. democracy, conformism vs. freedom - have monopolized the discourse surrounding the Fronte Nuovo and, with it, the historiography of Italian painting during this period, 1944-50. Beginning with the dialogues that framed the formation of the Fronte Nuovo, this book reconsiders artists' works, correspondence, critical writings, and manifestos. These are married to examinations of specific exhibitions, the most important of which are the group's 1947 inaugural exhibition and the 1948 and 1950 Venice Biennali. The critical responses to these exhibitions are reconsidered in light of their groundings in the heated political debates of the period. In total, these diverse sources reveal the vast divide between the internal discourse of the arts, generated by the participant artists and their works, and the surrounding politics of Cold War Italy.