Alighiero Boetti (Italian, 1940–1994) was a Conceptual artist, often associated with the Arte Povera movement and best known for his series of embroidered maps. Born in Turin, Italy, Boetti left business school to become an artist, producing a wide variety of works that embraced unusual materials and processes. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Boetti travelled extensively in the Middle East, creating a body of work rooted in his interest in the textile arts of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Many of these works addressed a variety of poetic and playful themes, based on folkloric anecdotes he came across in his travels. Boetti often designed textiles to be embroidered in artisan workshops, resulting in a body of work that cut across national borders, embracing traditional art forms rooted in tradition, collaboration, and ritualistic meanings of creation. From 1987 until his death, Boetti was completely absorbed in the creation of his largest and most complex tapestry, Tutto, which was created to represent the cultural diversity of the world. Although he died in 1994 before its completion, Boetti’s work continues to be written about and studied as an important paradigm of the newly international approach of contemporary artists.

Timeline

1940
Born in Turin, Italy
1967
Joined the Arte Povera movement in January
1972
Moved to Rome, where he discovered the pleasure of light and colours, far from the austerity of Turin
1994
Died in Rome, Italy

Exhibitions

2012
Alighiero Boetti: Game Plan, Tate Modern, London, England (solo)
Alighiero Boetti: Game Plan, Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA (solo)
Alighiero Boetti: Tutto, Galerie Andrea Caratsch, Zurich, Switzerland (solo)
2010
Alighiero e Boetti: Insicuro Noncurante, Sprüth Magers, Berlin, Germany (solo)
2009
Mappe, Galerie di Meo, Paris, France
Orientamento, Galleria Cardi, Pietrasanta, Italy
Alighiero e Boetti: Mappa, Gladstone Gallery, New York, USA (solo)
Alighiero e Boetti, Museo di Arte Contemporanea Donna Regina, Naples, Italy (solo)
2008
Order and Disorder, Museum Ritter-Sammlung Marli Hoppe-Ritter, Waldenbuch, Germany (solo)
Eurasia: Dissolvenze geografiche dell’arte, Museo di Art Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Roverto, Rovereto, Italy
Red Sky, Luhring Augustine, New York, USA
2007
Après la pluie, Musée départmental d'art contemporain, Rochechouart, France
Italian Visions: 40 Years of Art, Vivian Horan Fine Art, New York, USA
Volare, Corsoveneziaotto Arte Contemporanea, Milan, Italy
Arte Povera, Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, Liechtenstein
Numerica, Palazzo delle Papesse Centro Arte Contemporanea, Italy
Music to my Eyes, esso gallery, New York, USA
Edward Tyler Nahem, New York, USA
Alighiero e Boetti, Gladstone Gallery, New York, USA (solo)
2006
Alighiero e Boetti: Insicuro Noncurante, La Case D’Arte, Milan, Italy (solo)
Im Anfang war das Wort, Langenscheidt KG, Munich, Germany
Wrestle, CCS Bard/Hessel Museum of Art, Annandale-on-Hudson, USA
Italian Modernism: Balla to Boetti, Barbara Mathes Gallery, New York, USA
Cieli Ad Alta Quota, Galerie Andrea Caratsch, Zurich, Switzerland (solo)
Il Buco, Pio Monti, Rome, Italy
Alighiero Boetti: Un Pozzo Senza Fine, Embroideries, Ben Brown Fine Arts, London, England (solo)
2005
Looking at Words, Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York, USA
Open Systems: Rethinking Art c.1970, Tate Modern, London, England
Ordering the Ordinary, Timothy Taylor Gallery, London, England
Arte Povera, Galerie Di Meo, Paris, France
2004
Alighiero e Boetti, Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York, USA (solo)
2003
Alighiero e Boetti. Ordere et désordre du monde ouvres 1967-1990, Frac Bourgogne, Dijon, France (solo)
2002
Alighiero Boetti. Villa Paleotti Isolani, Minerbio, Bologna, Italy (solo)
Alighiero Boetti, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, USA (solo)
Alighiero Boetti. Works 1966/1988, Monika Spruth – Philomene Magers, Munich, Germany (solo)
Simmetria Asimmetria. Sperone Westwater, New York, USA (solo)
Alighiero e Boetti, Arts Club of Chicago, Chicago, USA (solo)
20 years Galerie Steinek, Vienna, Austria
2001
Alighiero e Boetti. Galerie Guy Bärtschi, Geneva, Switzerland (solo)
Alighiero Boetti. Niente da vedere niente da nascondere. XLIX Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte, La Biennale di Venezia, Padiglione Venezia, Venice, Italy (solo)
Multipli 1967-2001: Multiples, Editions and Books by the Arte Povera Artists. Esso Gallery, New York, USA
Zero to Infinity: Arte Povera 1962-1972. Tate Modern, London, England; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, USA
In Between. Crestet Centre d’Art, Vaison La Romaine, France
Green on Greene. Sperone Westwater, New York, USA
2000
Open Ends, Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
Le temps vite! Centre Georges Pompidou, Musee National d’Art Moderne, Paris, France
Minimalia: An Italian Vison in 20th Century Art. PS 1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, USA
1999
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, USA
1998
Alighiero Boetti: Mettere al mondo il mondo, Museum für Moderne Kunst&Jahrhunderthalle Hoechst Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Alighiero Boetti, Lindig in Paludetto zeitgenössische Kunst Nürnberg, Germany
1997
Alighiero Boetti, Galerie Steinek, Vienna, Austria (solo)
Alighiero Boetti, Galleria Civica d'arte Moderna e Contemporanea Turin, Italy
1995
Simply red, Galerie Steinek, Vienna, Austria
1994
Sommercocktail, Galerie Steinek, Vienna, Austria
1993
Alternating 1 to 100 and Vice Versa, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, USA
1991
Alighiero Boetti, Galerie Steinek, Vienna, Austria (solo)
1990
Sommerausstellung, Galerie Steinek, Vienna, Austria
XLIV Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy
1989
Arazzi, Galerie Steinek, Vienna, Austria (solo)
1988
Works on paper, Galerie Steinek, Vienna, Austria (solo)
1981
Galleria Banco/Massimo Minini Brescia, Italy
1980
La Natura una Faccenda ottusa, Galleria Massimo Minini, Brescia, Italy
1978
Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland
1976
Galleria Banco/Massimo Minini Brescia, Italy

Literature

2005
Niente Tutto, exhibition catalogue, Kunstmuseum Lichtenstein, essay by Kristin Schmidt and Cordula von Keller, 2005
2005
“L’art du Xxe Siecle: De l’art Moderne a l’art Contemporian 1939- 2002”, Citadelles and Mazenod, Paris
2001
Boetti, Annemarie Sauzeau, Alighiero e Boetti, “Shaman-Showman”, Umberto Allemandi & C., 2001.
2001
"Green on Greene," Sperone Westwater, New York (ex.cat.)
2000
Le Temps, vite, Exhibition catalogue by Jean-Pierre Criqui, Musée national d'art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, (Editions du Centre Pompidou, 2000)
2000
da Warhol al 2000, Palazzo Cavour, Regione Piemonte, exhibition catalogue, 2000, p. 64.
2000
Gian Enzo Sperone; Torino, Roma, New York; 35 Anni di Mostra tra Europa e America, 2000, pp. 52, 136-137, 145, 166, 200, 255.
2000
Pugliese, Marina, Le Tecniche e I Materiali Nell'Arte Contemporanea, Arti della Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Rome, 2000.
1999
Allianz & Kunst, catalogue of the collection of Bayerische Versicherungsbank AG, Allianz Versicherungs-AG, with forewords by Dr. Michael Albert and Harald Szeemann, Anderland Verlag, München, 1999.
1998
Change of Scene XIII, exhibition brochure by Jean-Christophe Ammann, Frankfurt: Museum für Moderne Kunst, 1998).