Alighiero Boetti on Alighiero and Boetti

“Alighiero Boetti: Game Plan.” (Courtesy the Museum of Modern Art)

We’re pretty excited for the Museum of Modern Art’s upcoming Alighiero Boetti show, “Game Plan,” here at The New York Observer office, and our appetite was thoroughly whetted today when the catalogue for the show landed in our editor’s office. It includes an interview between Boetti and critic Bruno Corà. The question of Boetti’s peculiar name comes up—for a long time the artist styled himself not Alighiero Boetti but Alighiero e Boetta. Let’s get to the interview for an explanation!

Corà: …What role, in this sense, is played by the word “Alighiero,” and what part does the word “Boetti” play? What does Alighiero Boetti bring to this union?

Boetti: Incredibly banal. The most banal thing in the world. Alighiero is the most childish, most extreme part, which dominates family things. Alighiero is what people I know call me. Boetti is more abstract, precisely because the surname is a category, a classification. This is something that affects us all. The first name offers certain sensations of familiarity, acquaintance, and intimacy. By the mere fact that Boetti is a surname means that it’s already an abstraction, it’s already a concept. If people see one of my works they say: “It’s a Boetti” not “It’s an Alighiero.” “Have you got a Boetti to sell me?”—”How big d’you want it?”—”100 x 150.” So it’s a Boetti, not an Alighiero. Alighiero, on the other hand, is the one who kicks up a racket—more banal things.

The show runs at MoMA from July 1 through Oct. 1, 2012.

Alighiero Boetti on Alighiero and Boetti