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November 9, 2012

In June 2011, a redesign and reconceptualization of the website of the American Academy in Rome subsumed the SOF Weblog.

Please see here for AAR features of the type previously presented on this blog, and here for news of the Society of Fellows of the AAR.

A December 2011 Conference on Roman Architecture in Memory of William L. MacDonald, FAAR’56 (1921-2010)

July 11, 2011

Hadrian’s Villa at Tivoli. Credit: Gjon Mili (LIFE/Google)

It was on 12 July 1921—precisely 90 years ago today—that noted architectural historian William L. MacDonald (FAAR’56) was born in Putnam, Connecticut. His death in March 2010 deeply touched his numerous friends, colleagues, and former students, many of them linked by their connections with the American Academy in Rome. Three distinguished scholars from this group—Diane Favro (California, Los Angeles), Fikret Yegül RAAR’98 (California, Santa Barbara), and Trustee John Pinto FAAR’75, RAAR’06 (Princeton)—have aimed to celebrate his achievements by organizing an international conference on Roman architecture.

The American Academy in Rome will host the conference on 6-7 December 2011 in its Villa Aurelia. Entitled “Paradigm and Progeny: Roman Imperial Architecture and Its Legacy”, scheduled presenters include Corey Brennan (FAAR’88), Diane Favro, Elizabeth Fentress, Sandra Gatti, Pierre Gros, Lothar Haselberger, Tom Howe, Guy Metraux, Eugenio La Rocca, Tom Morton, Luisa Musso, James Packer (FAAR’64), John Pinto, Gianni Ponti, Marcello Spanù, Mark Wilson-Jones, and Fikret Yegül. Panels are projected on “Rome Builds: Construction and Design”, “Urban Armatures: The City Shaped”, “Hadrian, the Empire, and Beyond”, “The Nature and Legacy of Classicism”, and more. Further details to follow in the months to come. Read the rest of this entry »

Remembering AAR Trustee Cy Twombly (1928-2011)

July 7, 2011

Artist Cy Twombly, as the 2006 recipient of the AAR’s McKim Medal, which he himself had earlier designed

Rome resident and beloved American Academy Trustee artist Cy Twombly died 5 July 2011 aged 83. Many obituaries worldwide have appeared, including that of Randy Kennedy inThe New York Times (in its full version here). Remembers AAR President Adele Chatfield-Taylor (FAAR’84):

“Cy has been involved in the American Academy in many ways over the years. In the 1950s when he moved to Rome, he was part of a wave of artists who came through after the war, albeit the iconoclast, but the Academy saw all the comings and goings in those days. In the 1990s, we had an absolutely perfect exhibition in our galleries, of a small number of Twombly sculptures, about eight, as I recall, curated by Martha Boyden, our arts liaison at the time. They were so beautifully placed, and scaled, and ghostly white, that the space seemed to have been made for the show. They still haunt the space. I will never forget this show.” Read the rest of this entry »

On Tuesday 28 June, A Book Presentation of ‘Sacred Possessions: Collecting Italian Religious Art 1500-1900’

June 20, 2011

Four years ago (19-21 June 2007), the American Academy in Rome hosted a conference co-organized by the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles and the Bibliotheca Hertziana—Max Planck Institute for Art History that explored the collecting of religious art in and of Italy. On Tuesday 28 June 2011 at 5 PM the Academy hosts the presentation of a new volume based on this conference: Sacred Possessions: Collecting Italian Religious Art 1500-1900, edited by Gail Feigenbaum FAAR ’78, and Sybille Ebert-Schifferer and published by the Getty Research Institute.

At the event a panel of distinguished scholars will offer their perspectives on the general topic and on the fourteen essays included in the book. Speakers include Francesca Cappelletti, Professor at the University of Ferrara and Director of the Fondazione Ermitage Italia; Giovanna Perini, Professor at the University of Urbino; and Rossella Vodret, Soprintendenza Speciale per il Patrimonio Storico, Artistico ed Etnoantropologico e per il Polo Museale della Città di Roma. A reception follows the book presentation. Read the rest of this entry »

In Rome, a Conference on History and Environment in the Ancient Mediterranean (Wed 15-Thu 16 June 2011)

June 9, 2011

Whether it is climate, or the use and overuse of timber resources, or the extent and effects of urbanization, or a host of other issues, the history of the Mediterranean environment in antiquity is full of unresolved debates. The intention of the conference History and Environment in the Ancient Mediterranean is scarcely to resolve these debates but rather to redefine their terms and to think about what progress we can hope to make in the immediate future. Co-hosting the conference are the American Academy in Rome and the Institutum Romanum Finlandiae. The speakers are environmental scientists, historians and archaeologists from some seven nations; the conference is free and open to the public.

The morning session of the first day (Wednesday 15 June) will take place at the Institutum Romanum Finlandiae, Villa Lante (Passeggiata del Gianicolo 10), while the afternoon session will take place at the Villa Aurelia of the American Academy in Rome (Largo di Porta San Pancrazio 1). Both sessions of the second day (Thursday 16 June) will take place at the Villa Aurelia. The conference is supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and organized by William V. Harris (RAAR’79, ‘81), William R. Shepherd Professor of History at Columbia University. See below for the full program. Read the rest of this entry »

In Rome, American and Spanish Academies Present ‘Dialogue: Two Projects of Antoni Muntadas and Giulio Squillacciotti’

June 2, 2011

Internationally-renowned artist Antoni Muntadas brought two Janiculum neighbors together on Tuesday 7 June 2011, when the American Academy in Rome and the Real Academia de España en Roma united to present two Muntadas events as well as a new project by Italian artist Giulio Squillacciotti.

At 6 PM, Muntadas spoke in the AAR Lecture Room about past work and his new project About Academia, which was seen in its European premiere in the Cryptoporticus of the McKim, Mead & White building. By means of simultaneous projections (texts, interview subjects and architectural spaces) on three screens, About Academia examines the complex interrelationship between “the university” and “academia” in American higher education, both as concepts and as practical entities. This lecture and installation at the AAR are made possible through the generous support of Poste Italiane. Read the rest of this entry »

A Whirlwind Week in Review: Annual Events in Late May for AAR Fellows, Trustees (Part 1)

June 1, 2011

Fellows’ Open Studios, Wednesday 25 May 2011

It was five full days, but still it seemed like a whirlwind when the AAR’s Board of Trustees made their annual visit to Rome from 25 May to 29 May. They convened formally in committees and as a whole, took a good look at  the institution they support throughout the year, and all across the city squeezed in what cultural activities they could.

While in Rome, the AAR Trustees attended some major annual spring events at the Academy—such as the Open Studios, the McKim Medal Gala, the Fellows’ Reading, and the Fellows’ Concert—learned about many of the Fellows’ projects on walks in and around Rome plus in a special installment of the Conversations That Matter series, and received more than a taste of informal community life (especially in the billiard room). Read the rest of this entry »

From 25-28 May, the AAR Presents the Fellows’ Annual Events in the Arts: Open Studios, Reading, and Concert

May 17, 2011

Three days in late May—Wednesday the 25th, Friday the 27th, and Saturday the 28th—see one of the Academy’s oldest and most consistently rewarding traditions, the annual presentation of work by current Rome Prize Fellows in the AAR’s School of Fine Arts.

On Wednesday 25 May (6-9 PM) the Academy’s Open Studios in the McKim, Mead & White building offer the public an opportunity to see the studios of the current Rome Prize Fellows in the fields of Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Design, Historic Preservation and Conservation, and Visual Arts. On Friday 27 May (6 PM) the Academy’s Villa Aurelia provides a spectacular setting for a Reading by the two Rome Prize Fellows in Literature. And on Saturday 28 May (this time at 9 PM), the Villa Aurelia again is the setting for a Concert with music composed by the two Rome Prize Fellows in Musical Composition. Reservations for these events are requested; please click here to RSVP for one or for all of these May evenings. Read the rest of this entry »

In Rome on 24 May, Trustee John R. Clarke RAAR’95 Delivers the 2011 Friends of the Library Annual Lecture

May 12, 2011

One of the undisputed highlights of the Academy’s year in Rome is the 

Patricia H. Labalme Friends of the Library (FOL) Lecture. This year the lecture is dedicated to the memory of Christina Huemer, Drue Heinz Librarian Emerita, who served as a spirited leader of the AAR’s Arthur and Janet C. Ross Library for fifteen years (1993-2007), retiring just a few years before her untimely death on 12 November 2010. The thousands of artists and scholars touched by Chris Huemer’s learning, creativity and curiosity will remember her forever; a memorial service was held in in New York City on 3 February 2011.

The date of this year’s FOL lecture is Christina Huemer’s birthday, 24 May. Honoring Chris’ memory will be Professor John R. Clarke, RAAR’95, AAR Trustee and Annie Laurie Howard Regents Professor in The University of Texas at Austin. His topic? “The Story of the Villa ‘of Poppaea’ at Oplontis (50 B.C.-A.D. 79) and its Archives: Daybooks, Photographs, and Plaster Fragments.” Clarke’s lecture takes place Tuesday 24 May 2011 at 6pm 
at the Academy’s Villa Aurelia (Largo di Porta San Pancrazio, 1). 

Reservations are necessary by Friday 20 May; you can register here. On the evening of the event, please present your e-mail confirmation and a document of identification at the entrance of the Villa Aurelia. Read the rest of this entry »

Looking Back at Galileo’s Gianicolo Anniversary (2): ‘Conversations That Matter’ (07.04.11)

May 10, 2011

On Thursday 7 April 2011 the American Academy in Rome hosted a public program on “Science and Faith” in its Conversations That Matter series. Academy Director Christopher S. Celenza (FAAR’94. pictured above at left) discussed the interrelationship between scientific and religious inquiry with bestselling author Brother Guy Consolmagno, SJ, astronomer at the Vatican Observatory (Specola Vaticana). You can view the entire Conversation here; see also below.

The Conversation was followed by the opening of the exhibition Historical Instruments from the Collection of the Specola Vaticana in the Academy’s Gallery. The exhibition featured one of the world’s finest collections of historical instruments for observing the sky and identifying stars and celestial bodies. Contributing to the exhibition was Florence’s Museo Galileo, which loaned to the Academy a replica of a 1610 Galileo telescope, one that traveled in 2009 on the space shuttle Atlantis. The AAR warmly thanks Finmeccanica for its generous support which made this anniversary commemoration possible.
Read the rest of this entry »