Through 3 March 2011, An Exhibition of 15 AAR Italian Affiliated Fellows in the Arts

The American Academy opened its doors, windows, and communal spaces to a public of more than 400 from 6 to 9 PM on Thursday 20 January 2011 to highlight the work of fifteen of its Italian Affiliated Fellows in the Arts in a show called ACCADEMIA °  STANZE ° PERSONE. The exhibition runs at the Academy until Thursday 3 March 2011.

This show is co-curated by AAR Programs Associate Lexi Eberspacher and by Luca Massimo Barbero, Director of Rome’s hugely popular MACRO Museum. It provides a splendid anthology of the best work being done today in Italy in diverse artistic disciplines.  For a description in Italian see here; the Facebook page is here. And see throughout this post below for photos of the 20 January event opening.

Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

Manfredi Beninati, Gualtieri 2, 2002. Oil on canvas. 98 x 98 cm. Courtesy Galleria Lorcan O’Neill, Roma and the artist

The Italian Affiliated Fellowship Program began in 2006 and is funded by the American Academy in Rome’s McKim Medal Gala. The show ACCADEMIA ° STANZE ° PERSONE, made possible by a grant from the Nando Peretti Foundation, is intended to celebrate the Academy as a venue for artistic creation  by focusing on the work of the fifteen Italian Fellows who have been affiliated with the Academy.

Italian Affiliated Artists gather in the Kitchen of the AAR. From left, Luca Vitone, Marco Raparelli, Luca Nostri, Flavio Favelli (partially obscured), AAR Executive Chef Mona Talbott, SISSI, Gianmaria Sforza, Emanuele Casale, Giovanna Latis, Paola Pivi. Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

The public spaces (stanze) of the Academy—the art gallery, atrium, bar, billiards room, cortile, cryptoporticus, dining room, salone, and stairs—are reimagined as spaces in which the work of this talented group of architects, composers, designers, poets, and visual artists can be presented.

At the 20 January opening, US Ambassador to the Holy See Miguel H. Diaz. Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

In the atrium of the McKim, Mead & White building are displayed archeological artifacts and inscriptions, including an ancient torso that has become the subject of an arresting lighting installation by Giovanna Latis, recipient of the first annual Elsa Peretti Italian Affiliated Fellowship in Design.

Giovanna Latis Lampada Brancusi 2, 2010. Iron rod, folded and painted, steel cable. 160x10x100 cm (variable)

The versatile art gallery space, which has hosted shows by artists ranging from Piranesi to Maya Lin and from Joel Shapiro to Alex Katz and Alec Soth, has become the venue for Manfredi Beninati’s oil paintings, Paola Pivi’s I wish I am fish, Nico Vascellari’s Gnawing my own teeth behind a closed door, Luca Vitone’s interventions to old engravings, SISSI’s Medusa-like fabric installation Self-Portrait with Mirror, and Luca Nostri’s photographs.

Paola Pivi I wish I am fish, 2009, Ex. 3/5. Photographic print mounted on aluminum. 160 h x 240 cm. Photo by Hugo Glendinning. Courtesy Galleria Massimo De Carlo, Milano

Nico Vascellari, Gnawing my own teeth behind a closed door, 2009. Black and white photo in black wooden frame, bronze. 35 x 50 cm. Unique piece. Photo by Marco Anelli. Courtesy Galleria Monitor—Roma

Luca Vitone, Capricci, 2007. Black and white engravings with interventions in ink, wood frame, 44 x 56 cm. Courtesy Luca Vitone and Galleria Cesare Manzo, Roma

All this is just a prequel to the range of provocative and beautiful art that had been ingeniously integrated into the living spaces of the Academy. In the august public spaces created by the stairs and the salone is exhibited a project by architect Gianmaria Sforza—the documentation of a widespread system of stairways across the hills of Rome, views and key passages, absent and undocumented on maps—and work by visual artist Flavio Favelli and by Giovanna Latis.

Flavio Favelli, Roma e dintorni (Urbe II), 2007. Collage of geographic maps. 89 x 69 cm with frame. Courtesy Galleria S.A.L.E.S. Roma

In the billiards room, a locus for after-hours sociability, the pool table sports a new cover, on which Flavio Favelli’s image of an original black-and-white postcard of the Vatican City (with interventions in red) establishes a dialogue with the heroic proportions of Chuck Close’s iconic work depicting Alex Katz.

Flavio Favelli (at right) with his installation in the AAR Billiard Room. Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

An attentive and ironic look by visual artist Marco Raparelli at the rows of portraits of past Fellows arrayed over the bar results in the infiltration of that portrait gallery with his own work—delightful caricatures of present members of the AAR community.

Marco Raparelli from Unfamiliar Idea of Rome, 2010. Ink on paper. Dimensions variable. Courtesy Umberto di Marino Gallery, Naples

The Roman light filling the elegant AAR dining room, where the cuisine at the American Academy has been elevated to new heights by the Rome Sustainable Food Project, is now inflected by visual artist Carola Bonfili’s window transparencies reproduced from a sixteenth-century herb dictionary.

In the splendid barrel-vaulted space of the basement cryptoporticus, the voice of the water that used to run below in the Aqueduct of Trajan is silent. But many more recent voices have spoken, including those of the collective Destroy All Monsters in the recent Depart Foundation show Hungry For Death.

Here at the 20 January opening work by Italian Fellows in Musical Composition Filippo Perocco and Emanuele Casale was performed (respectively) by Ensemble L’Arsenale and the MDI Ensemble. Poets Massimo Gezzi and Guido Mazzoni read from their work (the projected texts abstracted into visual art on the brick ceiling), with Moira Egan and Damiano Abeni reading the English translations.

Luca Nostri Una famiglia di pastori, aprile 2008—ottobre 2010, 2008-2010. C-prints. 21×16.7 cm. Courtesy of the artist

SISSI Autoritratto con specchio, 2010. Fabric, mirror, wood. 100 x 130 cm. Courtesy FaMa Gallery. Photo by Ela Bialkowska

Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

And here is a map to all of the above, prepared by AAR Gallery Installer Stefano Silvia. The show can be viewed at the Academy from 21 January through 3 March from 9.30-12.30 each Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.

Marco Raparelli

Flavio Favelli (left), SISSI (right)

Co-curator Lexi Eberspacher (AAR)

Guido Mazzoni, Gianpaolo Battaglia (AAR). Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio


Emanuele Casale listens as the MDI Ensemble rehearses. Credits: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

Lavinia Ciuffa (AAR), Luca Nostri. Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

Diana Mellon (AAR)

From left, co-curator Luca Massimo Barbero (MACRO); Bartolomeo Pietromarchi (MAXXI). Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

Giovanna Latis

Allegra Brennan with lighting installation by Giovanna Latis

SISSI, Emanuele Casale, Giovanna Latis. Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

Marco Raparelli, Luca Vitone, Flavio Favelli. Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

Gianmaria Sforza, Paola Pivi, Luca Nostri. Credit: Davide Franceschini / Altrospazio

From left, Sebastiano Bellanca, Fabrizio Lambiti, exhibition installer Stefano Silvia (all AAR)

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