Thursday, June 21, 2007

Sandro Dernini: Art Eating Impresario

Aside from the fact that Dr. Sandro Dernini holds doctorates in Art and Biology, he is one of the most astonishing figures in the world of arts and research. He happens to be extremely original, and thus is slightly incomprehensible to the ordered worlds of academia and society. His ideas have resonated across continents since the 1970s, and the emergence of PLEXUS INTERNATIONAL coincides with those years and was extremely effective in establishing startling collaborative efforts through numerous exhibitions, happenings, lectures, and showings of artists of all media.

Sandro Dernini is a mercurial spirit that inspires much of the work of Plexus, but perhaps his greatest gift is creating working networks among artists that lead to new creative activity, and his fierce determination to restore art to the community. Indeed, the arts have been skillfully hi-jacked and institutionalized by critics, historians, and an inner circle of anointed artists. This began in the 20th century with the rise of commercializing "high" art and has continued in this century through the institutionalizing of the past and using the past to control the future.

However, Sandro is a knight errant, keeping the art establishment off-balance, and taking on incredible adventures that are largely misunderstood because of his unique inventiveness. Yet he has impact that comes from the energy that radiates from his activities. Although the establishment has tried to marginalize him, in the spirit of Derrida, Dernini has expanded the margins so that the true substance of artistic creativity is discovered in the margins.

Recently he published his doctoral research as Eating Art, a book that is a sweeping gesture of crossing boundaries, indeed, of demolishing the borders that separate human disciplines and activities and replacing them with the organic flow of intensified moments. Such a combination of nutrition and art emerges naturally for Dernini, for food and art have long been intertwined in the Italian culture. Printed by the Beniamini Group, a private publishing house for specialized publications, Eating Art is not yet available through, an oversight that surely the author will rectify.

This is not the place to enumerate the countless happenings and art events instigated by Dernini, a magical impresario who has continued to cause gastric distress for the art establishment. The number and quality of events will astound you. Dr. Dernini subtitles his book "Artistic Practice and Creative Process as Qualitative Problem-Solving for Individual and Community Well Being."

Now Dernini has emerged as a contributing member in ISALTA (International Society for Advancement of Living Traditions in Art), a website that has brought together the work of artists largely mentored as artist researchers by Dr. David Ecker at New York University. The collective work of these artists are on this new website, the inspiration and work of Dr. Carleton Palmer, which celebrates ISALTA's renewed mission deserving wider recognition.

Eating Art has the look and feel of a happening of the moment, a newspaper of the last four decades. It is a book to be consumed with leisurely and casual excursions which will ultimately grab you, and rivet your attention in the conscious acknowledgment that you are indeed uncovering something significant and worth knowing.

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