Martin Art Gallery looks forward to welcoming campus and community partners back into our galleries in person this year with a series of dynamic exhibitions.  

Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our community, and so safe access to the Gallery and the Campus will be determined by the leadership of the College following the advice of an advisory council informed by state and national health guidance. Conditions of access may be subject to change without notice and so we encourage you to check here and with the College's main website for guidance as to masking policies and general access to our spaces.

The Autonomist Anomaly

Curated by Felice Moramarco coming in spring 2022 

Enrico Scuro, Contro la criminalizzazione delle lotte, 1977
Image: Enrico Scuro, Contro la criminalizzazione delle lotte, 1977

Martin Art Gallery at Muhlenberg College looks forward to hosting The Autonomist Anomaly, guest curated by Felice Moramarco, in our Galleria Space in the spring of 2022. Because of Federal travel restrictions relating to the ongoing pandemic, this exhibition has been rescheduled for the spring of 2022.

Through archival images and materials and the film Settembre ‘77, this exhibition will take a look at the cultural production and organizing of the Italian movement Autonomia. For almost a decade throughout the 70’s, Autonomia upset the Italian political system with a wave of uprisings, animated by radical demands of equality and social justice. Through audio recordings, super 8 videos, photos, and magazines from the archives of activists of the movement, the Autonomist Anomaly recollects some of the crucial events that marked the history of Autonomia. By giving a glimpse into the dynamic organisation of the movement and its unusual forms of political struggle, the exhibition aims to highlight the unique political experience that was Autonomia, and its enduring legacy that is still relevant today.

For several reasons, Autonomia constituted an unparalleled anomaly in the history of Western post war politics. An aspect that immediately stands out is the remarkable impact that the movement had on the cultural and political life of the country, despite its lack of any kind of organisational structure. To clearly trace the boundaries of the movement is indeed an arduous task even for today’s historians. Having been more than a homogeneous movement, Autonomia was in fact a constellation of collectives, groups, pirate radios, magazines, often very diverse from each other, but all connected by the strong commitment to construct forms of collective life beyond state authority and private property. Autonomia was “the body without organs of politics” as the philosopher Sylvere Lotringere defined it, a political organism without a centralized organisation, thus constantly evolving, expanding and within which contradictory elements coexisted.

Furthermore, Autonomia introduced within the field of political struggle, aspects of private and public life that were traditionally considered non-political. The right to idleness, collectivisation of happiness, liberation of desire, general femminisation, expanded sexuality constituted some aspects the movement decisively advanced. To some these are ancillary cultural battlegrounds with little political value, but they were part of a larger project that aimed at radically revising the boundaries of political discourse. The radicality of this project inevitably led Autonomia to a frontal clash with state authorities, mass media, and both right-wing and left-wing parties. Despite the power imbalance, for the decade it was active, Autonomia was a catalysing force dramatically affecting political and cultural life in the country.

Felice Moramarco is a Milan based writer and curator, founding director of DEMO – Deptford Moving Image Festival. His practice and research focus on rethinking art’s agency in light of the current cultural, technological, and political paradigms shifts, exploring the possibilities of artistic practice to operate politically and configure new realities. He received his MA in Philosophy from the University of Bologna and his MFA in Curating from Goldsmiths. He held teaching and research positions at Goldsmiths – University of London, the British School in Rome, at Nordland Art and Film School and at the Academy of Arts in Berlin. He has curated various exhibition projects across Europe and the US, also in collaboration with renowned art institutions such as Arnolfini - Centre for Contemporary Arts in Bristol and the Museum of Modern Art of Bologna.

Past Exhibitions 

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Contact Information

Paul Nicholson

Director, Martin Art Gallery
Address Muhlenberg College Baker Center for the Arts 2400 Chew Street Allentown, PA 18104