Salvatore Meo
Italian, 1914-2004
Salvatore Meo and the Poetics of Assemblage,
Boca Raton Museum of Art
Pavel Zoubok Fine Art

Under-recognized in 20th-century American art history, Salvatore Meo was an influential pioneer of assemblage art during the mid-20th century, whose mixed-media works—largely composed of discarded items found on the street—were a forerunner to the Arte Povera movement. The scraps and cast-offs Meo used in his work included items such as the grubby head of a doll, a shoe heel, string, and rusted wire, which acted as lyrical evocations of decay and abandonment. Meo’s sense of alienation and dispossession also contrasted starkly with the more glamorous work of his Pop Art contemporaries, suggesting themes of destruction and reconstruction following World War II. Meo is considered to have been an influence on Robert Rauschenberg and Cy Twombly, among many others, and his work has been compared to artists such as Jannis Kounellis and David Hammons.