Thesis: Francesco Conz, the Collector of Artists
Supervisor: Michael Hatt
Background: Nicola Viviani was born in Verona, Italy, in 1985. After graduating in Classical Studies at ‘Scipione Maffei’ High School, he got a BA in Cultural Heritage and MA in Artistic and Archeological Disciplines. He had the unique opportunity to know the central figure of his doctoral research in person, the renowned collector Francesco Conz, who became a close family friend during the 1990s. Moreover, growing up attending Conz’s house represented the chance to make friends with many remarkable international vanguard protagonists. Through this in-depth experience, he gained full knowledge of Conz’s way of conceiving and collecting art, which is a topic that suffers from a significant lack of information.
Research: This doctoral research is the first substantial account of Francesco Conz, one of the most influential figures in the neo-vanguard of twentieth-century art, as a collector, patron, publisher, and artistic collaborator. Despite his centrality to major movements (e.g. Fluxus, Viennese Actionism, Concrete Poetry), Conz has been little discussed by scholars of the avant-garde. Such a project shall address this lacuna, analysing Conz’s challenge to orthodox conceptions of patron and collector in the post-war art world. This challenge was aesthetic, political, ethical, and philosophical.
Publications: Francesco Conz Editions: Complete Catalogue Raisonné (2016). Published in collaboration with De Montfort University (Leicester, UK).
Günter Brus portrays Francesco Conz on Nicola Viviani. Photo taken at Conz's 'Secret Museum', 2005.