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Art, History & Politics, Literature

Images of Class

Operaismo, Autonomia and the Visual Arts (1962-1988)

April 27, 2023
6:30 pm

Book Presentation
Images of Class
Operaismo, Autonomia and the Visual Arts (1962–1988)

(Verso Books, 2022)

Jacopo Galimberti, IUAV, Venice

The author in conversation with:
Christina Aislinn Chalmers, NYU
Andreas Petrossiants, NYU
Matthew Zundel, NYU

Moderated by
Ara H. Merjian, NYU


During the 1960s and 1970s, Workerism and Autonomia were prominent Marxist currents. However, it is rarely acknowledged that these movements inspired many visual artists such as the members of Archizoom, Gordon Matta-Clark and Gianfranco Baruchello. Jacopo Galimberti’s book (Verso, 2022) focuses on the aesthetic and cultural discourse developed by three generations of militants (including Mario Tronti, Antonio Negri, Bifo and Silvia Federici), and how it was appropriated by artists, architects, graphic designers and architectural historians such as Manfredo Tafuri. Images of Class signposts key moments of this dialogue, ranging from the drawings published on classe operaia to Potere Operaio’s exhibition in Paris, the Metropolitan Indians’ zines, a feminist art collective who adhered to the Wages for Housework Campaign, and the N group’s experiments with Gestalt theory. Featuring more than 140 images of artworks, many published here for the first time, this volume provides an original perspective on post-war Italian culture and new insights into some of the most influential Marxist movements of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries worldwide.

Jacopo Galimberti is an art historian and assistant professor (with tenure track) at IUAV (Venice). His articles have appeared in journals such as Art History, The Art Bulletin, The Oxford Art Journal and Grey Room. He is the author of Images of Class: Operaismo, Autonomia and the Visual Arts (1962-1988) (Verso Books, 2022), Individuals against Individualism. Western European Art Collectives (1956–1969) (Liverpool University Press, 2017), Détournement & Kitsch. Die Postkarten von Hans Peter Zimmer/Les cartes postales de Hans Peter Zimmer (Les Presses Universitaires de Nanterre, 2021), and of Lucio Fontana e l’artventure parigina (Scalendi, 2014) (written with Silvia Bignami). He is one of the editors of Art, Global Maoism and the Chinese Cultural Revolution (Manchester, 2020).