At the height of the 1960s, the Italian art critic Germano Celant noted that a group of young artists were working in a way that seemed to herald a new relationship between the artist and the viewer through the art object. While everyone else seemed to be interested in situations, dematerializations, and pure conceptualisms, the artists who came to be known as "Arte povera" struck a careful balance between conceptualism and craft.* In this studio workshop we will look at the social context, key ideas, and protagonists of "Arte povera" in order to better understand what that critic meant when describing their works as being emptied of predetermined meaning. We will consider the possibility of working in such a vein today, another moment when conceptualism and craft seem to be at odds, and ask what the political potential is in making objects that present themselves in this way. This studio course will involve a good bit of reading, but the course project will be studio-oriented, and may involve a small group exhibition. *"Arte povera" artists include Giovanni Anselmo, Alighiero Boetti, Pier Paolo Calzolari, Luciano Fabro, Jannis Kounellis, Mario Merz, Marisa Merz, Giulio Paolini, Pino Pascali, Giuseppe Penone, Michelangelo Pistoletto, and Gilberto Zorio.