American painter and sculptor Salvatore Scarpitta (1919–2007) spent his childhood in Hollywood, where he fostered a love of dirt track racing.
He moved to Italy in 1936 to study painting, and later fostered friendships with artists such as Alberto Burri, Lucio Fontana and Piero Manzoni. Scarpitta’s mature work was to emerge from a unique mid-terrain between the unlikely twin influences of drag racing and Arte Povera; it led to his well-known wrapped or bandaged paintings, shaped canvases and even to replica racing cars, which frequently saw service before being exhibited.
In the 1970s he made a series of sleds, the first of which was bought by Willem de Kooning. Despite Scarpitta’s associations with both Abstract Expressionists and Pop artists, his work remained on the fringes of the postwar period’s defining movements. As his influence emerges on a younger generation, this volume assesses his oeuvre.