Flash Art

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Flash Art
Flash Art International October 2015.jpg
Flash Art International October 2015
EditorsGiancarlo Politi, Helena Kontova
CategoriesContemporary art
FrequencySix times a year
PublisherPoliti Editore
Year founded1967
Based inMilan
LanguageEnglish, Italian

Flash Art is a bimonthly magazine founded in Rome in 1967 by Italian publisher and art critic Giancarlo Politi focused on contemporary art. It has been based in Milan, Italy since 1971. Originally a bilingual publication, it was split in two separate editions, Flash Art Italia (in Italian) and Flash Art International (in English) in 1978 when Helena Kontova joined the editorial team.

Flash Art extensively covered the Arte Povera artists in the 1960s, before they became known in the English-speaking world.[1] It is especially known for featuring Andy Warhol's final interview before his death in 1987.[2]

It also publishes Flash Art Czech & Slovak Edition and Flash Art Hungary.

Key historical moments[edit]

The first issue of Flash Art International featured the seminal text "The Italian Transavantgarde" by Achille Bonito Oliva, whose ‘Ideology of the Traitor’ introduces the art of Enzo Cucchi, Francesco Clemente, Sandro Chia, Mimmo Paladino, among others.

In the November 1967 issue, "prime mover of the Arte Povera movement" Germano Celant published a manifesto entitled "Notes for a Guerrilla War," engaging political issues with the art of Michelangelo Pistoletto, Mario Merz, Giulio Paolini, Giovanni Anselmo, Alighiero Boetti, Luciano Fabro, and Jannis Kounellis among others.[1] In 1977 the Committee for the Artists Space hosted the exhibition “Pictures”. On its occasion, Flash Art published texts by Douglas Crimp and artists Thomas Lawson and David Salle, highlighting the birth of the Pictures Generation.[3]

In 1972, Flash Art dedicated an entire issue, on the occasion of Documenta V, with a cover by Hans Haacke.[citation needed]

In 1980 the editorial board started to give increasing attention to the New York City art scene; Thomas Lawson reviewed on David Salle at Larry Gagosian Gallery / Nosei-Weber / The Kitchen as well as the famous "Three Cs" (Chia, Clemente and Cucchi) at Sperone Westwater Fisher, helping to bring the central figures of the Transavanguardia to public attention.[4]

Jeff Koons independently published his iconic, color lithograph advertisements in 1988 in Flash Art along with Artforum and Art in America, advertisements that later became famous for being "deliberately provocative, questioning the merits of 'high art', whilst also endorsing popular culture."[5][6] "With slogans such as "Exploit the Masses / Banality as Saviour", the ads reflected Koons desire to 'remove bourgeois guilt and shame in responding to banality'".

During his tenure as Flash Art U.S. Editor Massimiliano Gioni started to collaborate more and more with Maurizio Cattelan. The latter continued his special relationship with Flash Art International in a series of sardonic interviews with young and promising artists. Years later, Flash Art International was featured in the form of a social-art experiment in the documentary "Maurizio Cattelan: Be Right Back" released in May 2017.[7]

In a 2017 ARTnews feature, MoMA PS1 founder Alanna Heiss revealed that "[t]he people hired by Flash Art were always interesting because they really liked art. I was interested in their peculiar hiring policy."[8]


It was described by Tony Stankus as "the confident, international journal of European and North American contemporary art" and by Publishers Weekly as a "distinguished by a cacophony of voices and congenial chaos".[9][10]


Flash Art acquired a magazine format in 1974. The magazine was published in three languages: Italian, English and French and was divided in two main parts. In 1979 it split into two editions: Flash Art International and Flash Art Italia.[citation needed] After Flash Art Russia, the brand new Czech and Slovak Republic edition of the magazine underlined the former USSR satellite as the new epicenter of Flash Art Eastern Europe activities.[citation needed]


Besides its magazine activities, Flash Art publishes books, monographs and catalogues, including Art Diary International, a directory that lists addresses and phone numbers of artists, critics, galleries, and museums. In 2016, Flash Art International published Chinese artist Wang Yuyang's monograph Tonight I shall meditate upon that which I am.[11][12]

Notable contributors[edit]

Other activities[edit]

In 1993, Politi published the catalogue of Aperto '93, a section of the Venice Biennale organized by his wife Helena Kontova.[13] Also in 1993, Giancarlo Politi opened the Trevi Flash Art Museum in his hometown, Trevi, which eventually closed due to the lack of public support. In the 2001 Giancarlo Politi started, together with Helena Kontova, the Tirana Biennale in Albania. In 2003 they started together the Prague Biennale in the Czech Republic and they have been the directors of the first six editions (2003-2005-2007-2009-2011-2013).


  1. ^ Suzaan Boettger, Earthworks: Art and the Landscape of the Sixties (University of California Press, Berkeley, 2002): p. 261. ISBN 0-520-24116-9
  2. ^ "Andy Warhol's Final Interview". www.warholstars.org. Retrieved 2017-04-14.
  3. ^ Douglas Eklund (ed.), The Pictures Generation, 1974-1984, exhibition catalogue the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 4/21/09 – 8/2/09, (Yale University Press, New Haven, 2009). ISBN 978-0-300-14892-3
  4. ^ David Rimanelli "Time capsules: 1980-1985 - Calendar," Artforum (March 2003).
  5. ^ "Art Magazine Ads (Arts) (1988 - 1989)". www.nationalgalleries.org. Retrieved 2017-04-14.
  6. ^ "Art Magazine Ads (Flashart, Art in America, Artforum, Arts), Jeff Koons | Artspace.com". Artspace. Retrieved 2017-04-14.
  7. ^ ""Maurizio Cattelan: Be right back" il film sul genio del nostro tempo, in sala solo 30 e 31 maggio | Radio Deejay". Radio Deejay (in Italian). 2017-05-22. Retrieved 2017-06-20.
  8. ^ "The ARTnews Accord: Alanna Heiss and Massimiliano Gioni in Conversation | ARTnews". www.artnews.com. Retrieved 2017-05-23.
  9. ^ Tony Stankus, Journals of the Century, (Haworth Press, Philadelphia, 2002): p. 125. ISBN 0-7890-1134-4
  10. ^ "Nonfiction Book Review: Flash Art: Two Decades of History - XXI Years by Giancarlo Politi". PublishersWeekly.com. Retrieved 2017-04-14.
  11. ^ http://www.scmp.com/magazines/style/tech-design/article/2008451/breaking-tradition-new-generation-chinese-artists
  12. ^ http://www.hiddengarments.com/index.php/2015/08/wang-yuyang-tonight-i-shall-meditate-on-that-which-i-am/#more-52941
  13. ^ Malcolm Miles and Tim Hall, Interventions (Intellect, Bristol, 2005): p. 42. ISBN 1-84150-118-2

External links[edit]