The ‘poor’ of that epithet refers to the materials.
I’ve always thought of ‘arte povera’ as a bit of a non-concept.
It is exemplary of that 20th century mania of coining names for invented new art movements.
Think surrealism, dada, popart, post-popart, avant garde, post-avantgarde, nouveau réalisme, neomodern, remodern, metamodern, postminimal, stuckism, neoism, op art, fluxus.
Oh please stop already.
But then again, I like the cover of the 1969 book that made the term arte povera known around the world.
I wanted to check the book out, since my university has it in its library.
However, this being corona-time, the library is closed.