“American Art 1961 – 2001” is opening at Palazzo Strozzi on 28 May until 29 August 2021: four decades of American history through the lens of artistic practice

A new show “American Art 1961 – 2001 From Andy Warhol to Kara Walker” opens today May 28th at Palazzo Strozzi in Florence after more than a year since the launch of the previous exhibition in February 2020. It is so refreshing and exciting that museums and exhibition centres can resume their activities after such a long and painful period of closures and restrictions.

The new project of the Florentine foundation showcases 80 works from the collection of the Walker Art Centre in Minneapolis, presenting some of the most celebrated American artists of the last decades, among which Andy Warhol, Robert Indiana, Roy Lichtenstein, Cindy Sherman, Bruce Nauman, Barbara Kruger, Jenny Holzer Lorna Simpson and Kara Walker. Curated by Vincenzo de Bellis (curator and associate Director of Program, Visual Arts at the Walker Centre) and by Palazzo Strozzi’s Director Arturo Galansino, the show brings together painting, photography, dance, sculpture and installation from the artistic production of one the most intense periods of American history. The brand new show, opening to public on 28th May until 29th August 2021, explores four decades of artistic production through the political, social and cultural changes of American society. Issues such as consumerism, mass production, feminism and gender identity, racial issues, and the struggle for civil rights are addressed through the exhibition itinerary, focusing on three different visit paths: American Dream, Women’s Role and Art becoming politics.

Claes Oldenburg, Shoestring Potatoes Spilling from a Bag, 1966. Minneapolis, Waler Art Center

The show leads the visitiors from Pop Art’s reflection on the symbols of mass consumerism and the power of mass media and advertising, to Minimalism’s choice of pure forms and colours, through to the AIDS crises in the 80s and the Picture Generation examining the relation among art, mass media and society to the work of one of the most remarkable contemporary artist in the show: Kara Walker.

Kara Walker, Cut, 1998. Minneapolis, Walker Art Center

Kara Walker starts her career at the half of the 90s, when she gains international recognition for her visually stunning pictorial works, drawings and animation films created through the use of cut-out paper silhouettes representing grotesque, disturbing and often violent scenes of the complex multiethnic history of the USA and addressing racism and abuse on women.

Cut, a life-size black paper silhouette, depicts a woman whose wrist veins are cut and bleeding. This work is a critical investigation on the role of black women in history as well as on the broad discurse on gender issues, suggesting the author’s alienation as an Afro-American artist working in a male-dominated art world. The closing work of the show Testimony: Narrative of a Negress Burdened by Good Intentions (2004), is a black and white video where the artists comments on race, slavery, exploitation and discrimination.