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Politi was born in Trevi, and had a brief spell as artist and poet. In 1967 he moved to Rome, where he started his own art magazine, a bilingual publication called Flash, and then changed it to Flash Art. In 1970 he moved to Milan and founded Giancarlo Politi Editore, publishing art books, exhibition catalogues, and Art Diary, a directory to artists studios, art galleries, art critics and art institutions. In 1978 Flash Art was split into two separate editions, Flash Art Italia, mostly focused on the Italian market, and Flash Art International, covering the rest of the world. Over the years several attempts were made to publish the magazine in different languages, including Czech, French, German, Russian and Spanish. In 2004 he launched the first edition of the Flash Art Fair.
In 1993, Giancarlo Politi founded the Trevi Flash Art Museum. The museum has hosted several exhibitions featuring international artists, including Maurizio Cattelan, Vanessa Beecroft, Damien Hirst, Miltos Manetas, Piero Golia, Andres Serrano, Paola Pivi, Karen Kiliminik, and Mark Kostabi. In 2005 Politi withdrawn his support, and the museum is currently operating under the name Palazzo Lucarini Contemporary.
In 2001, Giancarlo Politi started the so-called "no-budget biennales". The first one was held in Tirana, Albania, but then, following a disagreement with the local art institutions, he opted for Prague.
In 1997 Politi publicly defended Alexander Brener for spraying a green dollar sign on Kazimir Malevich's painting Suprematisme. In 2011 a story emerged about an intern candidate who was mocked and offended after she has been denied a fair compensation. The episode raised some interest in Italy, due to a permanent situation of exploitation of youth work and skills of young graduates.
- Sante Monachesi: Sculture, Bruno Alfieri, Venice, 1970
- Dario Villalba, Galeria Vandres, Madrid, 1974
- Italian Painting Today, Multhipla, Milan, 1975.
- Flash Art: Two Decades of History, Politi Editore, Milan, 1990.
- Mimmo Paladino, Politi Editore, Milan, 1992.
- Fabio Sargentini, Politi Editore, Milan, 1992.
- Tirana Biennale 1: Escape, Politi Editore, Milan, 2001.
- Prague Biennale 1: Peripheries become the Center, Politi Editore, Milan, 2003.
- Pino Pascali, Cambi, Florence, 2006.
- Prague Biennale 3: Glocal and Outsiders: Connecting Cultures in Central Europe, Politi Editore, Milan, 2007
- "Artnet News". artnet. 19 May 2005. Retrieved 21 May 2010.
- "Daubs". Village Voice. 13 December 1976. Retrieved 21 May 2010.
- Rail, Evan (19 July 2009). "In Prague, Art is Everywhere but Not Always Easy...". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 May 2010.
-  "The Independent", 19 October 2011, Michael Day.
-  Il Fatto Quotidiano, 18 October 2011, Luigi Franco.