Archive for July, 2008

In Sicily, honorary citizenship to Malcolm Bell III, FAAR‘70, RAAR’89

July 27, 2008

From the University of Tokyo, archaeologist Sandra K. Lucore (FAAR’07) writes:

“On June 26, 2008, the town of Aidone in Sicily honored Malcolm Bell, III (FAAR‘70, RAAR’89), Professor of Art History at the University of Virginia, by awarding its first ever honorary citizenship.

This was in recognition of Bell’s long association with and commitment to the ancient site of Morgantina, where, since 1980, he has been director of the American excavations.”

Lucore continues, “This exceptional award was given also in recognition of Bell’s many efforts to integrate the site [of Morgantina] and its history within the community of Aidone. It is a testament as well to the many excellent personal and professional relationships he has cultivated over the years.

A very fine SRO ceremony took place in the Aidone City Hall, with the mayor of Aidone and the head of the Aidone city council presiding over the formalities in the presence of the city council, officials from the local superintendency of antiquities, friends and colleagues from Aidone and elsewhere in Sicily, along with other members of the American excavations.”

Photos: Alex Walthall



William H. Fain, Jr. (FAAR’02) evokes AAR experience in Italy sketchbook

July 18, 2008

“I should mention that this is my forty-first sketchbook, and the most complete.”

So writes William H. Fain, Jr. (FAAR’02) in “At the Academy”, introducing his sumptuous recent book, Italian Cities and Landscapes: An Architect’s Sketchbook (Balcony Press, August 2007).

Fain generously has donated all proceeds from the sketchbook sales to the American Academy in Rome.

The 264 page book is a compilation of sketches Fain drew while holding a six-month Rolland Rome Prize Design Fellowship at the American Academy. Exploring the city on bicycle and later roaming further afield in the Italian countryside, the sketches—in colored pencil—start out modestly using a single method, but become more developed as Fain’s process of discovery builds momentum.

Below, Tuscan Montalcino:

“Most drawings were begun and completed on site”, explains Fain in Italian Cities and Landscapes, while “[s]ome were finished in my studio at the Academy”. The published sketchbook includes prefaces also from Richard Koshalek, President of the Art Center College of Design (Pasadena CA), and Adele Chatfield-Taylor (FAAR’84), President of the American Academy in Rome

Fain, who is managing partner and partner-in-charge of urban design and planning for the Los Angeles firm Johnson Fain (which he co-founded in 1989), illustrated views of the Eternal City, plus his travels to Naples, Venice, Florence, Lake Como and other destinations.

“My sketches embody what I can only describe as a Renaissance experience—the luxury of time to grow, discover and experience the glories of life,” said Fain in an interview about the book. “I tried with the sketches to capture the ‘feel’ of a location through a combination of color, texture and light.”

Bill Fain’s drawings were exhibited early this year at the Italian Cultural Institute of Los Angeles; and he raised significant money for the Academy through booksignings in late 2007 and spring 2008 at Valcucine/DOM showrooms in Los Angeles and New York.

Amazingly, Italian Cities and Landscapes sells for less than $25.00, either direct from Balcony Press, or through the AAR Society of Fellows portal to Amazon (which additionally gives the SOF a referral fee), or through numerous other booksellers.

Bill Fain’s project in 2002 as an AAR Fellow was “Water and Space, Returning the Tiber to Rome.” Fain studied Rome’s Tiber River, which he saw as sharing a common “lost opportunity” with the Los Angeles River. Fain proposed to transform the Tiber River into a dynamic urban zone and gathering place; after completing his work, the City of Rome invited him to present his recommendations for reuniting the Tiber with the city.

On 4 June 2008, Fain with firm partner Scott Johnson FAIA received the Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architects Los Angeles (AIA/LA), the highest honor that organization presents to individuals for design contributions to the profession of architecture.

Below, at the AAR in 2002: William H. Fain, Jr. (right) with Andrea Pavia, his assistant at the Academy

Joseph F. McCrindle (1923-2008), American Academy in Rome Trustee Emeritus

July 18, 2008

Joseph F. McCrindle, art collector, philanthropist and publisher, died at his home in New York on July 11 at the age of 85, following an extended illness.

He had served as a Trustee of the American Academy in Rome from 1980 to 1994.

McCrindle was founder and editor of the Transatlantic Review, a literary journal based in London which ran for 60 issues between from 1959 to 1977. His goal in the TR was to strike a balance between American and British writers, and between prominent and less known (sometimes unknown) ones. Here he published work by such writers and artists as W. H. Auden, Paul Bowles, Anthony Burgess, Jean Cocteau, William Goldman, Iris Murdoch, Joyce Carol Oates, Grace Paley, Harold Pinter, Larry Rivers, William Trevor and John Updike.

Greatgrandson of the American painter Henry Mosler, he grew up in a New York mansion designed by Stanford White. McCrindle developed an early appreciation of the arts—for instance, he began collecting 16th-century books at the age of eight.

McCrindle graduated from St. Paul’s School in Manhattan, and (in 1944) Harvard College. His Harvard senior thesis treated “Flaubert’s opinions of Shakespeare as contained in his letters”; later McCrindle was to translate several French non-fiction books.

During World War II, he served in the Office of Strategic Services in London as a translator, reaching the rank of first lieutenant. Later he attended Yale Law School, receiving his JD degree in 1948. After a brief period with a Wall Street law firm and stints at one London and two New York publishing companies McCrindle became a literary agent, with clients including Philip Roth and John McPhee.


Photography exhibit at AAR celebrates activist architecture, 40th anniversary of “Battle of Valle Giulia”

July 10, 2008

It was, as historian Alessandro Portelli notes, the moment when an entire generation found its voice.

On 1 March 1968, the Valle Giulia School of Architecture at the University of Rome became a flashpoint for the Italian student movement. It marked the first time that Italian students staged protests—in this case against proposed university reforms as well as the Vietnam War—and fought back against police.

That day has since become known as “The Battle of Valle Giulia”—what John Cary (FAAR’08) describes as “a poignant confluence of architecture and social activism”.

Cary, winner of the Rolland Rome Prize in Design, has curated at the American Academy in Rome an exhibition of this transformational moment, THE BATTLE OF VALLE GIULIA: PHOTOGRAPHS BY FAUSTO GIACCONE. Some of the images shown here rank as icons, but many are previously unseen.

The exhibition, which also chronicles the events leading up to and following this historic student protest, opened at the AAR on 30 June and runs until 27 July 2008. The opening attracted over 200 visitors to the courtyard studio in the McKim, Mead and White building where “Valle Guilia” is mounted. Plans are afoot to show the installation next in New York, and later elsewhere in the United States.

The unusually striking photographs in this exhibition are the work of Fausto Giaccone, an architecture student at the school in 1968, whose subsequent career as a photographer was profoundly shaped by the events of that year. Born in Tuscany in 1943 and raised in Palermo, Giaccone is now based in Milan.

Says John Cary of the Valle Giulia students who took to the streets in 1968, “They marched. They sang. They occupied campus buildings like the School of Architecture, until their forced removal. In the process, these students were thrust into the limelight, some more willing than others. Their faces and stories adorned every major news outlet in Italy, often labeled as radicals, while others hailed for their bravery.”


Roman and American artists collaborate in exhibition series Beware of the Wolf I, II, III

July 8, 2008

In spring and early summer 2008 the American Academy in Rome hosted BEWARE OF THE WOLF, an ambitious three-part series of exhibitions that displayed work of Fellows and other AAR artists together with work by emerging counterparts from Rome. Two curators with deep knowledge of the Roman art scene—Lorenzo Benedetti and Lexi Eberspracher—organized the exhibition series.

Beware of the Wolf I, which ran 20 March through 2 April 2008 (see above and below for photos from the opening), focused on the narrative process of storytelling. Here “the artists represent reality in different ways, from irony to politics, from chronicle to poetry.” Featured were Tim Davis (FAAR’08), Federico Pietrella, Marco Raparelli, Andrea Salvino, and Caveh Zahedi (FAAR’08).

Below, Caveh Zahedi: video Mussolini was Here (2008);

Andrea Salvino: painting Moi un Noir (2006)

Below, Tim Davis: photographs Politicians in Cyan (2008);

Marco Raparelli: drawings My social awareness (2007)

Beware of the Wolf II (15 May-28 June 2008) explored the space of the work of art as it relates to the subject of landscape, “a process that goes from the abstraction of the landscape to the representation of the urban space.” The show included Adam Chapman, Flavio De Marco, Lisa Sanditz, Corrado Sassi, and Lisa Switkin (FAAR’08).

Below, two paintings by AAR Fellow Traveler Lisa Sanditz: Tang Factory (2008), and The New Mall in Shoe City (2007). For a short excerpt from an interview with Sanditz, a Guggenheim Award winner for 2008/9, discussing the show (audioclip, 1 min.): sanditzbow2

The third and final installment of the Beware of the Wolf series was shown in the AAR gallery space from 12 June through 28 June 2008. “The contrast or relationship between the work of art and the exhibition space”, said the BOW III statement, “represents an essential role in the process of the creation of the work itself. This last exhibition puts in relationship artists who question the balance between the two.”

These artists were Daniel Bozkov (FAAR’08), Marco Fedele di Catrano, Stanislao Di Giugno, Kate Gilmore (FAAR’08), Daniel Mihalyo / Annie Han (FAAR’08), and Alessandro Piangiamore.

Below, Annie Han / Daniel Mihalyo: Under the surface (2008)

Below, Marco Fedele di Catrano: Exchange (2008)

Below, Stanislao di Giugno: Frustrated Thoughts (2008)

Below, Daniel Bozhkov: Cara Claudia (2008)

But wait, there’s more.


George P. Garrett, Jr. (1929-2008), FAAR’59 in Literature

July 2, 2008

George Garrett FAAR’59, who died in Charlottesville on 26 May aged 78, was celebrated not just as a Southern novelist of the first rank, but also as an extraordinarily gifted writer who brought a “peripatetic, swashbuckling sensibility” (in the words of one critic) to a whole host of literary genres.

From The Blackbird: an online journal of literature and the arts: “Garrett was the author of thirty-five books, including novels, short story collections, poetry collections, essay collections, screenplays, and plays.

His most recent publications were Going to See the Elephant: Pieces of a Writing Life (Texas Review Books, 2002), essays; A Story Goes With It (Five and Ten Press, 2004), a novella; Double Vision (University of Alabama Press, 2004), a novel; and Empty Bed Blues (University of Missouri Press, 2006), stories.

He was most widely recognized, however, for his trilogy of historical novels, Death of the Fox (1971), The Succession: A Novel of Elizabeth and James (1983), and Entered from the Sun (1990), all published by Doubleday.

His eighth collection of poems, Days of Our Lives Lie in Fragments, was published by Louisiana State University Press in 1997.”

One notes that this volume included “Grapes”, a poem written at the AAR when Garrett held an Academy of Arts and Letters Rome Prize in Literature in 1958-1959, “coming back to Italy for the first time since I had served as a soldier there.” It was reprinted in the Spring 2002 issue of the SOF News [.pdf download].

Other poems from Garrett’s Rome fellowship year—delivered at a public reading at the Academy on 16 May 1959—were published in A Reading of New Poems, by Garrett and others (Rome: American Academy, 1959); also as New Work by 5 Poets (Frascati: Tip. Laziale, 1959).

But Garrett’s experiences at the American Academy in Rome informed even his latest work. For instance, the nonfiction piece “Portraits”—published in Chronicles for July 2007—recalls his ongoing dialogue with sculptor Pritchett Allen Harris FAAR’61. Garrett’s yet uncollected work (“Roman Neighborhood”; “Roman Fever: The Sequel”) meditates still more on his time at the AAR.