Manifesto Arte Utile 1

Year 1965
Text by Pino Poggi
Manifest AU, 1965

In the past art had a goal – to invoke certain feelings in the viewer. In the past art had a purpose – to express something to the public, that is, to reach the individual. Art in the past was an art of individuals for individuals. AVANTGARDE UTILE on the contrary is intended to help give the average man a clear grasp of his real problems in life.

AU reveals these as being essentially based on contradictions and thus contributes to their solution.
AU is concerned with the reality of here and now, for it is this reality which poses the problems which affect us all.
AU is not limited solely to the precincts of the universities and academies, where the same, small clique of intellectuals constantly embalms the whole with their verbiage.
AU is additionally and especially effective outside the museums, galleries and theatres which as we have long known are monopolized by a select portion of society. Society in this form is outdated and on the brink of obsoletion.
AU will then only exist of the people and for the people in public places, in shopping centres, and as street theatre.
AU has little regard for the art of the past as an art of the unique. We know that art in this form has outlived its usefulness for modern society.
AU has no intrinsic worth. The value of AU lies in its special form of contribution to a new society. AU will seek out and develop new and dynamic forms.

For the Utilist this means a continual process of disengagement from outdated modes of thought and action. The struggle for material existence is conjoined with the struggle for new conditions of social existence. And in this struggle the Utilist joins in organized cooperation with all those striving for social progress.

An AU work of art retains its significance for society only as long as the latter recognizes it as one of its own problems. Once society has reached a solution to that problem, the AU work of art has forfeited its right to exist. It remains as a document.

The AU work of art is also for sale. When it becomes an object of speculation, however, it loses its “Utile” value entirely, in other words, it is reduced to a commercial product like any other.

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