Celebrating Academy Fellows in the Arts with Three Public Events

June 6, 2013
An evening of Open Studios
SimagePorticus in the Cryptoporticus
Peter Nitze in Carl D'Alvia's second floor studio
Arts Director Karl Kirchwey and Anthony Cheung
Jesse Jones with vocalist Sharon Harms
Sala Aurelia and the Alter Ego ensemble
Jessica Fisher
Lucy Corin
Fellows Certificates and Rosettes Ceremony
Director Christopher S. Celenza and Arts Director Karl Kirchwey
President of the Society of Fellows Drew Beattie, AAR Chairman of the Board Mary Margaret Jones, President Adele Chatfield-Taylor, Director Christopher S. Celenza
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During the final week of May, the American Academy in Rome celebrated its 2013 Rome Prize Fellows with three consecutive public events, which included the annual Open Studios by Fellows in Visual Arts, Design, Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Historic Preservation and Conservation, a concert by the Fellows in Musical Composition, and a reading by the Fellows in Literature.

Open Studios

During the busy evening of Open Studios, the Academy’s 16 Rome Prize and Italian Affiliated artists, designers and architects welcomed the public into the creative spaces of their studios for a little wine and a lot of good conversation about works in progress. The whole of the McKim, Mead and White Building was open for exploration from top to bottom on May 28th. Visual Arts Fellow Glendalys Medina’s “Dear Me” installation offered an intimate recitation in the dark to all those who stepped into the unknown space of a small white booth assembled outside her studio. Of her brief performance, repeated over the three-hour course of Open Studios, she said, “Love is what fills people up. There in the dark I felt seen, and spoke from my heart.” Italy’s Arte povera movement has provided a source of inspiration for Visual Arts Fellow Nari Ward during his stay and several of his projects share Piero Manzoni’s playful yet mischievous sense of artistic purpose. Visual Arts Fellow Polly Apfelbaum summoned a similar sense of play with colorful strings and swatches of cloth hanging in her studio to demonstrate her investigations into vibrant color. That common thread extended to Visual Arts Fellow Carl D’Alvia’s sculptures in bronze and resin, which are similarly light-hearted, inviting viewers to delight in visual and tactile oddities. Created specially for Trustees’ Week was D’Alvia’s Visitor, a cubic irruption in the lawn of the Bass Fountain courtyard. Architecture Fellow William O’Brien, Jr. outlined his project on “anachronous formalisms,” in which he has been revisiting, re-envisioning and re-inventing Roman architectural forms. Italian Affiliated Fellow (Literature) Tommaso Pincio displayed a stunning series of AAR Fellows’ portraits in tones of gold and red, while Italian Affiliated Fellow (Visual Arts) Eugenio Tibaldi has been exploring the impromptu dynamics of peripheral urban spaces. Landscape Architecture Fellow Karen M’Closkey highlighted her current studies of digital patterns in landscape architecture. Historic Preservation and Conservation Fellow Randall Mason has been researching the conservation projects of Gustavo Giovannoni during the Fascist period. Historic Preservation and Conservation Fellow Elizabeth Kaiser Schulte has been looking at Roman vedute and maps as seen through the eyes of visitors and mapmakers, in order to document changing visions of Rome. Design Fellow Erik Adigard dazzled visitors to the Cryptoporticus with his SimagePorticus, an installation that projects a cycling mis-en-âbime mosaic as a visual meditation on the entropy of images in the age of networked mobile social media. This visual installation was accompanied by a spoken and musical score composed by Musical Composition Fellow Jesse Jones. Design Fellow Nicholas Blechman has been examining questions about the future of food through graphic design and illustration. Italian Affiliated Fellow (Musical Composition) Valerio Sannicandro provided visitors with sample scores for his project A Book of Forms (2013), with verbs and images described with acoustic sounds and based on artist Richard Serra’s Verb List. Italian Affiliated Fellow (Design) Francesco Faccin showed images of his designed furniture as well as of a classroom built for students in rural Nairobi. Architecture Fellow Pablo Castro Estévez has been looking at modern social housing in Rome, and the walls of his studio were covered with his beautiful and expert drawings of sites and monuments ranging from Rome to the west coast of Sicily. Landscape Architecture Fellow Ross Altheimer has been exploring Rome’s urban anomalies and oddities to build a manual of urban typologies based on the traditional design treatise, and recalled an installation executed earlier in the year with Erik Adigard entitled Dinner Conversation.

Fellows’ Concert

On May 29 the Sala Aurelia was at full capacity for a concert of new music by Luciano Berio Rome Prize recipient Anthony Cheung and Elliott Carter Rome Prize recipient Jesse Jones. Each of the Fellows presented three pieces (including three European premieres), which were performed by the Alter Ego ensemble (Manuel Zurria, flute; Stefania Mercuri, oboe; Paolo Ravaglia, clarinet; Aldo Campagnari, violin; Luca Sanzo, viola; Valeria Brunelli, cello; Lucia Bova, harp; Oscar Pizzo, piano; and Fulvia Ricevuto, percussion), vocalist Sharon Harms and guitarist Kenneth Meyer. Meyer began the concert with Jones’ Ricordanza for solo guitar, in its world premiere, showing an acute sensitivity to the strengths and resources of that instrument. This was followed by Anthony Cheung’s Windswept Cypresses (2005), which the composer had discussed briefly during his five-minute “glimpse” shoptalk back in the fall, a piece written for the evocative combination of flute, viola and harp (to which Cheung added percussion), like masterworks by Debussy and Takemitsu. The last composition before intermission was Jesse Jones’ Harmonies poétiques et religieuses, a daring and searching setting of texts by Alphonse de Lamartine performed to very good effect by Sharon Harms, with the composer himself reading some of the passages aloud in French. The second half of the program began with Anthony Cheung’s Enjamb, Infuse, Implode (2006) with the composer himself conducting, and was followed by Harms’ powerful performance of Jones’ Margaret, a dramatic and haunting setting of Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem “Spring and Fall: to a Young Child.” The evening concluded with Cheung’s complex, effective and highly ambitious work SynchroniCities, utilizing the resources of the Alter Ego ensemble and with the composer himself conducting.

Fellows’ Reading

The annual Fellows’ Reading on May 30th brought another eager crowd to the Sala Aurelia where John Guare Writer’s Fund Rome Prize, a gift of Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman, recipient Lucy Corin and Joseph Brodsky Rome Prize, a gift of the Drue Heinz Trust/American Academy of Arts and Letters, recipient Jessica Fisher, introduced by Andrew Heiskell Arts Director Karl Kirchwey FAAR’95, shared both published and unpublished work. Lucy Corin read from her forthcoming book One Hundred Apocalypses and Other Apocalypses, a series of short reflections about moments of cathartic change told in witty and often moving prose. She explained that for her the notion of apocalypse has functioned as “the way things explode and settle back into new form.” Jessica Fisher expressed her sadness at the thought of the year’s imminent close and shared poetry from her collections Frail Craft (2007) and Inmost (2012), along with three new and unpublished poems, “Penultimate Sonnet,” “Hive,” and “Speedwell.”

After the reading the Fellows Certificates and Rosettes Ceremony took place on the steps of the McKim Mead & White building. This tradition marks the presentation to the Rome Prize winners of lapel-pins and certificates that confirm them as Fellows and members of the Society of Fellows. President Adele Chatfield-Taylor, FAAR’84, welcomed and thanked the Trustees, whose continuing support maintains the institution. The ceremony also offered an opportunity to salute Karl Kirchwey, who will be ending his three-year tenure as Andrew Arts Director, and whose dynamic leadership and personal warmth will clearly be missed. Karl Kirchwey, who organized the literature program “Ovid Transformed: the Poet and the Metamorphoses” with fifteen writers and scholars in May, was presented a gift by AAR Director Christopher Celenza, a beautiful 1598 Venetian edition of Ovid’s Metamorphoses translated into Italian ottava rima by Giovanni Andrea dall’Anguillara. AAR Chair of the Board Mary Margaret Jones, FAAR’98, also marked the conclusion of President Adele Chatfield-Taylor’s 25-year presidency by revealing plans for a celebratory and commemorative inscription, in Latin, to be carved in the Founders’ Atrium, recording Chatfield-Taylor’s devoted service to the AAR.

View the work of the 2012-2013 Fellows in the School of Fine Arts on line at