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The CID/Arti Visive grew out of a project inititated by the Department of Culture of the Comune of Prato in 1982 for creating an archive of contemporary art. The task was  entrusted to a group consisting of a semiologist (Egidio Mucci) and two art historians and critics (Pier Luigi Tazzi and later Enzo Bargiacchi). 
The first body of works of the archive derived from the vast assortment of material accumulated during the exhibition “Mediamuseo” (Montecatini Terme, 1980), curated by Germano Celant. This was potentiated with documentation from the exhibitions organized by the Comune of Prato and from similar events of institutions and private contemporary art galleries scattered over the province of Tuscany.
The seed of the CID project was sown during “Progetti di archivio: convegno internazionale sulla documentazione di arte contemporanea” (Archive projects: International conference on contemporary art documentation), held in Prato in April 1984, and it was defined in detail in the first meeting of the scientific committee held in Prato from 1 to 2 March 1985, in the presence of Jean-Cristophe Amman, Renato Barilli, Maria Teresa Bettarini, Achille Bonito Oliva, Germano Celant, Enrico Crispolti, Gillo Dorfles, Rudi Fuchs, Filiberto Menna, Ermanno Migliorini, Egidio Mucci, Giampiero Nigro, Pier Luigi Tazzi.
A parallel committee of consultants set up a dense network of documentary exchanges among national and international art institutions. In 1985, the collection was integrated with the purchase of the Bequest of Ferruccio Marchi, the founder of the Florentine publishing house Centro Di.
In 1988 the Centro Pecci was inaugurated, and the CID with its huge legacy of publications passed from the Comune of Prato to the Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci Association.