Radical Italian Art Goes Over the Top, Dazzlingly, in Houston

Capitello, designed 1971, made c. 1972–78, by Studio65, manufactured by Gufram©. Polyurethane foam and Guflac®. (The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Dennis Freedman Collection, gift of Dennis Freedman. © 1971 Studio65, Brad Bridgers, photographer)
A chair crafted by woodworms, a buffet made of car doors, eye-popping color … serious whimsy for an Italy shattered by WWII.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE R adical: Italian Design, 1965–1985, from the Dennis Freedman Collection is the unusual, fascinating new show at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts. The “Radical movement” — composed of young Italian artists, teachers, and architects — was a fleeting, disorganized one, with more than a few aesthetic bomb throwers. Prepare for an abundance of fun, even kinky chairs, tables, cabinets, and lamps. The Radicals were scrappy intellects, too, advancing entirely new ways to think about design.

I visited the great Houston museum last week. This is the first of two stories about the museum’s programs. Later this week, I’ll write about its

(Will Michels)

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