When I arrived in Milan a few months ago I noticed an ad publicizing a very interesting expo: “ Addio Anni 70, Arte a Milano 1969-1980” (Goodbye ’70s. Art in Milan 1969-1980). Being very busy with work, moving and some other things- I forgot about it until a few days ago, when I realized in a few days it would end!
I decided to spend a Friday afternoon after work at the Palazzo Reale in Milan and let me tell you that I didn’t regret my choice! Not only because the Palazzo Reale is an amazing place to visit (I’ve never been there before!), but also because the expo was really worth every minute! Photographs, paintings, sculptures, books, newspapers, videos, posters of that era (really, every kind of art!) in Italy were exposed there. This was the kind of expo where you sit down every 5 minutes to check your iPhone to go online and look for more information about what you’re seeing.
Having been born in the ’70s, I really don’t know a lot about what happened in my country during that decade: first of all I was too young to remember, secondly at school we basically studied facts through the 2nd World War (as if our recent history doesn’t matter). And it’s a shame because art, especially in the ’70s, represented a lot of the social, cultural and historical backdrop of that period.
The violence and the fights for women’s rights, workers or sexuality were very well represented at the expo. The tragic and powerful events of those years are pictured as the cultural blossoming that made Milan the center of the political and cultural movements in Italy (for example there were pictures of Gabriel García Marquez or Andy Warhol visiting Milan).
I was particularly touched by the powerful presence of sex and sexuality in photographs, paintings and sculptures for example, or by the violence and anger of workers against the law of the money (I couldn’t help wondering what happened to the sons of those workers… I mean where have their ideals gone?).
It is not here the right place to discuss the political events of those years, but for me this expo was more a lesson of history and art than just an exposition of art.
Of course, being a fashion lover, I spent some more time in front of Alfa Castaldi photographs. Alfa Castaldi was a famous photographer of Vogue Italy and let me tell you that thanks to his work during the ’70s, he managed to give the status of art to fashion photography. This “Nudo di Marina à la Klimt” was definitely one of my favorite photographs of the whole expo.
“Goodbye ’70s” is probably one of the best and more interesting expositions I’ve visited lately: there was a bit of sadness in looking at that era and realizing that we have gone in a completely different direction. I can’t say, from my perspective, at what point we became stunted from growing from the better of that era… but I’m a nostalgic, you should know that!