Archive for November, 2009

Looking back, a week of November events at the American Academy in Rome

November 25, 2009

As the American Academy prepares for its Giorno del Ringraziamento (=Thanksgiving) festivities, there’s something to be said for taking stock—if only of events of the days leading up to the holiday.

Those events included two shop talks by current Fellows (filmmaker Abigail Child, typographer Russell Maret), a commemoration of the life of Roman historian Lily Ross Taylor (FAAR’18) by Mellon Professor Corey Brennan, a moonlit “walk and talk” for members of the Academy community along the Tiber (with contributions by Fellows Robert Hammond and Kiel Moe), a fireside chat by Rachel Donadio (Rome Bureau Chief for The New York Times),  a marathon of contemporary music at the Villa Aurelia under the auspices of the Nuova Consonanza artistic circle (with performances by Fellows Lisa Bielawa and Don Byron), and a visit by the newly appointed US Ambassador to the Italian Republic and San Marino, David H. Thorne. All that was over eight—not atypical—days in all. A few glimpses of that week can be found below… (more…)

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A happy 90th birthday to architectural historian and AAR Trustee Emeritus James S. Ackerman (FAAR’52, RAAR’65, ‘70, ‘75, ‘80)

November 9, 2009

JSA8James Ackerman at the Villa Lante (Rome), October 2009

It can be confidently stated that the leading historian of Renaissance architecture and Italian Renaissance architectural theory is James Sloss Ackerman (FAAR’52, RAAR’65, ‘70, ‘75, ‘80), Trustee of the American Academy in Rome 1967-1984, and now Trustee Emeritus. As it happens, James Ackerman and his wife, artist and professor Jill Slosburg-Ackerman, are spending five weeks at the AAR this fall. During that time, he has delivered a lecture on “Michelangelo, Palladio and Public Magnificence” to a capacity audience in the Academy lecture room, and has participated in a wide range of less formal walks and talks in Rome. Plus, on 8 November, he celebrated his 90th birthday at the Academy.

James Ackerman was educated at Yale; his graduate work was at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, completing his degrees (MA 1947, PhD 1952) following World War II service in the US Army in Italy. From 1949 through 1952, he was a Fellow at the American Academy in Rome. Ackerman taught at Berkeley and from 1960 at Harvard as Arthur Kingsley Porter Professor of Fine Arts until his retirement in 1990. In an in-depth interview, AAR Arts and Humanities Intern Diana Mellon asks James Ackerman about his formative experiences in Italy, his fellowship years at the AAR, his perceptions of changes at the American Academy over the decades, and of larger developments in the field of architectural history. And following the interview is appended Ackerman’s own current “must see” list for Rome and Venice. (more…)