The art historian and theoretician Germano Celant (1940-2020) coined the term Arte Povera in 1967 and had promoted the movement and its artists until his death from Covid-19.
Celant had organized hundreds of exhibitions in prominent international museums and institutions. He was the senior curator of contemporary art at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York between 1989 and 2008. He had worked with the Fondazione Prada since 1995, and was its artistic and scientific superintendent. Beginning in 2005, he had been the curator of the Fondazione Aldo Rossi, Milan and beginning in 2008 of the Fondazione Emilio e Annabianca Vedova, Venice. He was the artistic co-director of the first Biennale di Arte & Moda in Florence in 1996, and, in 1997, the director of the 47th Biennale di Venezia. He organized the Brazilian Pavillon at the 49th Biennale di Venezia in 2001.
In 2004, he was appointed Artistic Supervisor for “Genova 2004, European Capital of Culture”. From 2009 until 2011 he was the Curator of Art and Architecture at La Triennale di Milano, Milan. In 2015 he was the Curator of the exhibition “Arts & Foods: Rituals from 1851” in the Art Pavilion of Expo 2015 at the Triennale di Milano. In 2016 he was the Project Director of The Floating Piers, Christo and Jeanne-Claude work at Lago d’Iseo.
In 1987, Celant received The Frank Jewett Mather Award, honoring exceptional art criticism; in 2004, an honorary degree in Architecture from Università degli Studi in Genoa; and, in 2013, The Agnes Gund Curatorial Award from Independent Curators International, New York. He has authored more than 100 publications and was also a contributing editor to Artforum for 40 years and to Interview Magazine for almost three decades. He was the art columnist for the Italian weekly magazine L’Espresso and the Italian design magazine Interni.