Mimmo Rotella was born in Catanzaro, Italy, (1918 – 2006). Rotella served as a key figure in post-war European art.
Rotella received the Fulbright Foundation scholarship in 1951, allowing him to travel to the United States where he studied at Kansas City University. His experience fostered an admiration of the spirit of American Pop art – emphasizing the newly -familiar aesthetics of commodity, advertising, and celebrity culture which paralleled the economic boom of post-war Italy and the idealistic Roman dolce vita.
Since the early fifties, he participated in the most relevant collective exhibition in various such as Réalités Nouvelles, at Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris, Paris; Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Rome; The Art of Assemblage, Museum of Modern Art, New York; Galleria La Salita, Rome; XXXII Biennale Internazionale d’Arte, Venice; Stedelijk Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven; Vitalità del Negativo nell’arte italiana 1960/70, Palazzo Delle Esposizioni, Rome.
His works featured icons of mass media aesthetics such as Elvis Presley, Paul Newman, and Marilyn Monroe – the pieces themselves emphasizing the sanctity of the stars. While in Milan in the 1980s, Rotella began covering ripped posters with monochrome pieces of paper in which a tear became a gesture, a modus operandi, the embodiment of the artist’s daring genius.
In 1990 he took part in the Art et Pub exhibition held at the Centre Pompidou in Paris and in the High and Low show held in New York at the Museum of Modern Art. In 1992 he was conferred the title of Officiel des arts et des Lettres by the French Minister of Culture, Jack Lang. In 1994 he was invited to participate in Italian Metamorphosis held at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. In 1996 he took part in Face… l’Histoire at the Centre Pompidou and in the exhibition entitled Halls of Mirrors held at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles (an exhibition that was to tour the world. Rome included). 1996 also saw the Internet inauguration of a one-man show which was diffused online – the first event of its kind in Italy. He also exhibited in other most important galleries and art institutions around the world like Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Villa Croce, Genoa (2002); Institute of Contemporary Art, London (1957); Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain, Nice (1999); Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea (1949, 1951, 2018), Rome; Venice Biennale (1964, 1968, 1978); Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (1990, 2010); Murray and Isabella Rayburn Foundation, New York; Gagosian Gallery, London; La Triennale di Milano, Milan; Stedelijk Van Abbe Museum, Heindoven; Guggenheim Museum, New York (1994); Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome (1970, 1973, 1981, 1990, 2002); MoMA, New York (1961, 1990); Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris.