Achille Bonito Oliva

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Achille Bonito Oliva and Antonello Venditti.

Achille Bonito Oliva (born 4 November 1939 in Caggiano) is an Italian contemporary art critic and curator based in Rome, where he is a professor of History of Contemporary Art at La Sapienza University.

Bonito Oliva has curated thematic and interdisciplinary exhibitions, including "Contemporanea" (Villa Borghese, Rome, 1974), "Aperto 1980" (together with Harald Szeemann, Venice Biennale, 1980), "Avanguardia Transavanguardia" (Mura Aureliane, Rome, 1982), "'Mythe, Drame, Tragedie", Musée d'Art et d'Industrie, Paris (1982), "Art and Depression" (Museo Correr, Venice, 1984), and "Minimalia" (P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, 1998). He directed the 45th Venice Biennale (1993), the 1st Valencia Biennale (2001), and was the curator of the Italian Pavilion at the 7th Paris Biennale (1971). He has been awarded several prizes and recognitions, including the Valentino d’Oro, an international prize for art critics, in 1991.

In 1978 Bonito Oliva coined the term Transavantgarde to describe the Italian version of Neo-Expressionism, an art movement that rejected conceptual art, reintroducing emotions ― especially joy ― back into drawing, painting and sculpture. The artists revived figurative art and symbolism. The principal transavantgarde artists were Sandro Chia, Francesco Clemente, Enzo Cucchi, Nicola de Maria and Mimmo Paladino.

Bonito Oliva has written many books and authored monographs on the work of artists such as Marina Abramovic, Francis Bacon, Georg Baselitz, Joseph Beuys, Alighiero Boetti, James Lee Byars, Giorgio de Chirico, Braco Dimitrijević, Marcel Duchamp, Giuseppe Ducrot, Alex Katz, Georgia O'Keeffe, Frida Kahlo, Paul Klee, Nam June Paik, Joan Mirò, Pino Pascali, Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg, Mario Schifano, Nancy Spero, Andy Warhol, Wolf Vostell [1]and Robert Wilson.

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • Installation & Performance Art, Photology, Milan, 2007.
  • White and Other in Any Case, Art, Allemandi, Turin, 2006.
  • Art Tribes, Skira, Milan, 2002.
  • Ubi Fluxus Ibi Motus, 1990-1962, Mazzotta, Milan, 2002.
  • Travelers Without Baggage, Charta, Milan, 2000.
  • American Graffiti, Art Books, Rome, 1997.
  • Super Art, Politi Editore, Milan, 1992.
  • Antipatia, Feltrinelli, Milan, 1987.
  • Italian Transavantgarde, Politi Editore, Milan, 1978.
  • Europe/America: The Different Avant-Gardes, Deco Press, London, 1976.
  • The Idelology of the Traitor: Art, Manner and Mannerism, Feltrinelli, Milan, 1976.


  1. ^ Gewalttätigkeit als objet trouvé. Retrospektive Wolf Vostell 1958–1974. Neue Nationalgalerie Berlin, Berlin, 1974.