2016 Alberto Burri: The Trauma of Painting

Alberto Burri: The Trauma of Painting

Alberto Burri: The Trauma of Painting

Emily Braun, with contributions by Megan Fontanella and Carol Stringari
The Soloman R. Guggenheim Museum

2016 Dedalus Foundation Exhibition Catalogue Award Winner



Published to accompany a major retrospective exhibition—the first in the United States in more than 35 years and the most comprehensive ever mounted—the exhibition catalogue showcases the pioneering work of Italian artist Alberto Burri (1915-95). Exploring the beauty and complexity of Burri's process-based works, the volume positions the artist as a central protagonist of postwar art.


With great eloquence and clarity the catalogue illuminates how Burri’s distinctive approach to art was informed by his background in medicine and surgery; the austerity of being a prisoner of war, and subsequent return to the squalor of postwar Italy; and his lack of formal artistic training—but deep familiarity with Italian Renaissance art.


The catalogue is the culmination of three years of meticulous research by an interdisciplinary team of painting, paper, objects and textile conservators, art historians, and materials scientists. The essays offer insight into a singular artist, and his unprecedented approaches to manipulating abject materials, that moved beyond the painted surfaces and markmaking of American Abstract Expressionism and European Art Informel.


The jury also awarded an Honorable Mention to David Campany’s catalogue A Handful of Dust: From the Cosmic to the Domestic (Le Bal/Mack); and Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933-1957 by Helen Molesworth, with Ruth Erikson, (Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston and Yale University Press).


The members of the Dedalus Foundation Book Award jury were Carol Armstrong (Yale University), James Leggio (Brooklyn Museum of Art), and Rebecca Rabinow (The Metropolitan Museum of Art).