Maoism, Dadaism and Mao-Dadaism in
1960s and 1970s Italy
The presence of a problem in society, the solution of which is conceivable only
in poetic terms. A social command.
Vladimir Mayakovsky, How are Verses Made? (1926)1
In February 1977, a group of far-left activists published the first issue of a fourpage fanzine entitled Finalmente il Cielo è Caduto sulla Terra: La Rivoluzione
(The Sky has Finally Fallen to Earth: The Revolution) (Illustration 11.1). On
the first page, the authors announced their project: launching a weekly magazine that
Creative Camera the dynamics of the British pop and magazine
world was indebted to the British art school system with its ‘resistance of
rationalization and death-like grip on fine art and craft and laissez-faire
values’.20 In short, many in the British music and magazine industry had
an art school background and i-D was typical in this respect.
i-D initially took the form and layout of a fanzine. It consisted of forty
A4 pages, photocopied and stapled together, covered with text produced on
a typewriter and simple black and white photographs, in an edition of 2000
be connected to the 1970s
and 1980s DIY aesthetic of fanzines. DIY zine production often featured
low-resolution, collaged or appropriated imagery, deliberately low-tech
and handmade in appearance. This graphic style was associated with
punk and other anti-establishment subcultures; it rejected the ideological
drivers that lay behind high-production value commercial image making.61
A similarly hacked-up collage aesthetic is visible in many examples from
the Gov (despite the fact that the pieces would have taken time and care
In this case, however, the
Jacopo Galimberti, Noemi de Haro García and Victoria H. F. Scott
even a joke.
Could one at once be a Maoist and poke fun at Mao’s cult? This is the central
issue explored in Jacopo Galimberti’s chapter ‘Maoism, Dadaism and MaoDadaism in 1960s and 1970s Italy’, which investigates aspects of Italian
Maoism as they were played out in four publications: the hardline newspaper
Servire il Popolo, the counter-cultural magazine Re Nudo, the intellectual
periodical Che Fare and the fanzine A/traverso. By 1976, some Italian militants were advocating a new form of Maoism that conflated pop culture,
autonomist Marxism, Gilles Deleuze’s and
Looked At, 293. Also see Kosuth, “Art after Philosophy,” 136.
For a view on the contribution of writers to art that uses Dan Graham’s Schema
(1968) as a paradigmatic example, see Alexander Alberro, “Reductivism in Reverse,”
in Tracing Cultures: Art History, Criticism, Critical Fictions (New York: Whitney
Museum of American Art: 1994), 7–24.
59 For the interaction of a mail-art scene with underground music, fanzines, and other
subcultural phenomena see C. Ondine Chavoya, “Art and Life: Dreva/Gronk,” and
“Ray Johnson and Asco: Correspondence,” in Asco: Elite of the