Despite of its high-brow credo of using ordinary materials and its close association with the progressive Italian student movement of the 1960s, Arte Povera was essentially a cerebral men’s club. The lone woman, who was tolerated at the margins (no doubt owing to her role as the wife of one of the founders), is finally getting an extensive and long-overdue retrospective at the Met Breuer. Marisa Merz’s work is defined by the materials and processes she had at hand. Her studio was her kitchen and her weapon the knitting needle. For her earliest work she hung enormous molded aluminium forms from her kitchen ceiling which scared her small daughter Bea. She made up for the fright by knitting beautiful little shoes (scarpette) for the child using nylon and copper wire and decorating them with buttons and nails. Over the years, either by default or choice, Merz created works that blurred the line between fine art and function and muddied the role of artist, mother, and wife. The show includes several of Merz’s esoteric heads and faces from the 1980s and 1990s, her haunting Madonna-like drawings, as well as her later, much larger-scaled installation works. But it is the earlier works that stay with you, such as this wooden swing from 1968 which Merz made for Bea and hung from the ceiling of the family apartment. It shows Merz’s keen grasp of geometric minimalism, architectural awareness, and a sense that the nucleolus of our lives are the people who are closest to us. Through May 7.