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Sandro Chia
Leave the Artist Alone
Collezione D’Ercole, Roma
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by Donald Kuspit

Sandro Chia’s works belong to the celebrated return to painting -- and painting the figure -- that occurred in the early 1980s. Inaugurated by the "New Spirit of Painting" exhibition held in Berlin and London in 1981, it was an international movement that brought to the fore not only painting, which had been repudiated by conceptualism and which repudiated conceptualism in return, but that challenged the hegemony of the New York School by suggesting that European art was not only more advanced -- if ironically, for the regression to painting was a return of the repressed -- but that the baton of innovation had been passed to Germany and Italy. They were declassé countries from the point of view of American triumphalism, but they seemed to be emerging from their defeat with a new vigor -- an artistic as well as economic vigor.