Art and Carla Lonzi

Her life through art

By La Galleria Nazionale

Merz Mario, Oggetto 4 (1956 - 1962) by Lonzi CarlaLa Galleria Nazionale

Between 1956 and 1957, Carla Lonzi began to publish her first reviews of art exhibitions in the column "Mostre d'arte a Firenze" in Il Paese.

This included reviews of exhibitions by Pessarelli, Barbaro, Loffredo, Nativi, Peyron, Vespignani, Braque and Rouault, Midollini, Pecchioli, Pini and Rosai.

Twombly Cy, Oggetto 10 ([1963]) by Lonzi CarlaLa Galleria Nazionale

Her long collaboration with Galleria Notizie in Turin allowed her to meet and establish direct relationships with major Italian and international artists (Pinot Gallizio, Mario Merz, Cy Twombly), for whom she wrote the presentation texts for the catalogues of the exhibitions held there.

These writings reveal “the itinerary of Lonzi's critical choices, from the confrontation with the informal to the various trends that radically changed artistic languages in the Sixties".

Mostre d'arte a Firenze. Rubrica di «Il Paese», Oggetto 13 (dicembre 1956 - giugno 1957) by Lonzi CarlaLa Galleria Nazionale

For a long time, this amazing itinerary remained focussed on painting, which she observed with a gaze that she had refined while she was at the Longhi school in Florence.

Her uncommon ability to read the qualities of pictorial surfaces in their infinite variations, without ever losing sight of the complexity and depth of art history, can be traced back to those formative years".

Mostre d'arte a Firenze. Rubrica di «Il Paese», Oggetto 27 (dicembre 1956 - giugno 1957) by Lonzi CarlaLa Galleria Nazionale

From 1959 to 1969, she also collaborated in the radio show "L'Approdo" and the journal "L'Approdo Letterario".

Nigro Mario, Oggetto 4 ([1972]) by Lonzi CarlaLa Galleria Nazionale

Carla Lonzi and Mario Nigro.

Consagra Pietro, Oggetto 10 (08 luglio 1964 - 28 aprile 1969) by Lonzi CarlaLa Galleria Nazionale

Journey to the United States

In December 1967, she lived with Consagra in Minneapolis, where she stayed for six months. During this time, she edited the conversations with 13 major artists working in Italy: Carla Accardi, Getulio Alviani, Enrico Castellani, Consagra, Luciano Fabro, Lucio Fontana, Jannis Kounellis, Mario Nigro, Giulio Paolini, Pino Pascali, Mimmo Rotella, Salvatore Scarpitta, Giulio Turcato and Cy Twombly.

Consagra Pietro, Oggetto 31 (08 luglio 1964 - 28 aprile 1969) by Lonzi CarlaLa Galleria Nazionale

Also during this period, she sent three different articles to L'Approdo Letterario, published respectively in No. 41 of January-March 1968, No. 42 of April-June 1968 and No. 43 of July-September 1968, on exhibitions and artistic activities in American galleries and museums: Notizie da New York, Prestigio dell’Europa in due grandi mostre a New York e a Buffalo, Hemisfair 1968 a San Antonio Texas.

Viaggio negli Stati Uniti, Oggetto 105 (02 novembre 1967 - 21 aprile 1968)La Galleria Nazionale

In these articles, Lonzi affirms and stresses the still European nature of the artists "[...]. One wonders what American art could be if it detached itself from those categorical modes, if it rethought the process of identification from which it started...

Viaggio negli Stati Uniti, Oggetto 111 (02 novembre 1967 - 21 aprile 1968)La Galleria Nazionale

...It seems that much of American life – its inner workings – remain, so to speak, excluded from the mental patterns through which art operates. In short, [...], the concept of art and its meaning, the modes of production and the relationship of the artist to his work, place and function in society are still European".

Viaggio negli Stati Uniti, Oggetto 124 (02 novembre 1967 - 21 aprile 1968)La Galleria Nazionale

Her friend, Lando Landini, and Carlo Betocchi of "L'Approdo Letterario" asked her to clarify this concept.

In a letter dated 29th February 1968, Betocchi wrote to her: "Towards the end of New York II, indeed at the end of the last paragraph, I was unable to understand what the hell that phrase between the two full stops means 'American art between Julius II and Suleiman the Magnificent'. I circled it in red and put a question mark beside it".

Autoritratto, Oggetto 2 (1962 - 10 ottobre 1969) by Lonzi CarlaLa Galleria Nazionale

Autoritratto (Self-portrait)

Published by Di Donato in autumn 1969, it is Lonzi's most important text, one of the most beautiful and original on the art of the Sixties.

Autoritratto, Oggetto 95 (1962 - 10 ottobre 1969) by Lonzi CarlaLa Galleria Nazionale

Pubblicato da Di Donato nell’autunno 1969, è il testo più importante di Lonzi critica, uno dei più belli ed originali sull’arte degli anni Sessanta.

Autoritratto, Oggetto 3 (1962 - 10 ottobre 1969) by Lonzi CarlaLa Galleria Nazionale

Autoritratto, Oggetto 16 (1962 - 10 ottobre 1969) by Lonzi CarlaLa Galleria Nazionale

The use of the recorder – at the time an absolute innovation – allowed her to render the authentic voice of the artist, without the linguistic filter of the critic.

Autoritratto, Oggetto 14 (1962 - 10 ottobre 1969) by Lonzi CarlaLa Galleria Nazionale

In the introduction to the volume, she wrote:

“this book does not intend to push for a fetishism of the artist, but to reclaim artists for a different relationship with society. Therefore, it denies the role (hence the power) of the critic as a repressive control over art and artists, and especially in as far as it represents an ideology of art and artists that is common in our society".

Lonzi concluded her work as an art critic with Autoritratto.

Credits: Story

Curated by Lucia R. Petese

Quoted in text:
Scritti sull'arte, preface by Laura Iamurri, edited by Lara Conte, Laura Iamurri, Vanessa Martini, Milan, et al., 2012
Notizie da New York, "L’Approdo Letterario" No. 41, January-March 1968

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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