January 2014

Home from Rome

Peter J. Bell - The Museum, the Academy and Rome

  • Wednesday, 8 January 2014 - 6:00pm
Metropolitan Club
New York City

"I went to Rome having worked for several years in New York on an art history dissertation and a museum collection catalogue in tandem.  It was doubly my good fortune to move for nearly a year to the American Academy in Rome and then return again to New York and museum work in an expanded role.  In the six months since, I have begun to discover the ramifications of ‘The Rome Year’ on my area of scholarship—the history of European sculpture in the fertile years of the 15th and 16th centuries—and, just as importantly, on my vocation—presenting and interpreting art of the past." Peter J. Bell, FAAR’13

Peter Jonathan Bell is Assistant Curator of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  He is a doctoral candidate at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, and holds degrees from the Courtauld Institute of Art and Oberlin College.  He has lectured in North America and Europe and published on Renaissance and Baroque sculpture and printmaking.  He has won grants and fellowships from the Courtauld, NYU, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, the Met, and was the Robert Lehman Pre-Doctoral Rome Prize winner 2012-2013.

The Home from Rome series is made possible by the New Initiatives for Don Fund, a gift of Maria R. Cox. 

Please note the Metropolitan Club’s required dress code for entry is business attire. Jacket and tie are required for gentlemen. Jeans and sneakers are not permitted.

Fellow Shoptalks

Thomas Leslie - A Tale of Two Columns

  • Tuesday, 14 January 2014 - 6:30pm
AAR Lecture Room

Thomas Leslie, Booth Family Rome Prize Fellow in Historic Preservation and Conservation, will give his shoptalk entitled A Tale of Two Columns.

Fellow Shoptalks

Martin Eisner - What is Literary History?: Dante and the Afterlife of the Book

  • Wednesday, 15 January 2014 - 6:30pm
AAR Lecture Room

Martin Eisner, Lily Auchincloss Post-Doctoral Rome Prize Fellow in Medieval Studies, will give his shoptalk entitled What is Literary History?: Dante and the Afterlife of the Book.


Sculpture in Rome: Rethinking Classicism and Questioning Materiality

  • Thursday, 16 January 2014 - 10:00am to 6:30pm
AAR Lecture Room

A workshop exploring the commissioning, making and marketing of sculpture in sixteenth century Rome, organised by Claudia La Malfa (Università Telematica Internazionale Uninettuno), Alessandro Scafi (The Warburg Institute, University of London) and Marta Ajmar (Victoria & Albert Museum).

The Rome component of this three-part series of workshops focuses on the relationship between artists working in Rome and those based in other important as well as peripheral centers of the Italian peninsula. It draws attention to the early elaborations of sculptors’ ideas on paper, and highlights the activity of artists working in Rome in the 1540s, 1550s, and 1560s, such as Guglielmo della Porta, Pirro Ligorio, and Niccolò da Viggiù. It looks at the practices of stoneworkers’ workshops (scalpellini) working for these artists and explores the experience of ancient art in the practice of the restoration of classical statues. Finally, it examines the ideas behind the use of different materials when creating a new artwork, from bronze to white marble from Carrara to ancient coloured marbles found in archaeological sites near Rome.

Subjects discussed will include: the productions of the major artists; the impact of Michelangelo and Raphael; the importance of classical models; artists’ relations with patrons and humanists; painted sculpture; the role of sculptors in producing ephemeral architecture and decorations for festivals and momentous events; the relationship between sculpture and urbanism and between small bronzes and monumental sculpture; the identi-cation of sources and iconographic models; the economics of sculpture and the market; and the impact on sculpture of major historical events, such as the Sack of Rome and the Council of Trent.

Papers will be given in English and Italian.

Conference organizers: Claudia La Malfa, Alessandro Scafi and Marta Ajmar.


Associazione Internazionale di Archeologia Classica (AIAC)

  • Monday, 20 January 2014 - 5:00pm
AAR Lecture Room

The American Academy in Rome will host a panel presentation of AIAC, the Associazione Internazionale di Archeologia Classica/International Association for Classical Archaeology (AIAC), in that organization's longstanding Incontri series. The current President of the Association is Elizabeth Fentress, former American Academy in Rome Mellon Professor-in-Charge (1996-1999).

Founded in Rome in 1945, AIAC aims to facilitate international collaboration among classical archaeologists through coordinating conferences and congresses of classical archeology. It also serves in Rome as the principal clearinghouse for information on archaeology-related scholarly events. AIAC publishes Fasti Online, the premier international database for archaeological excavations in 13 countries in the territory of the former Roman Empire (including of course Italy), which in turn continues its print Fasti Archaeologici (published 1948-1987). Since 2000, AIAC also has organized a series of monthly Incontri in Rome, where young scholars from Italian universities and the many foreign institutes in the city can present their research. 

The theme for this evening at the American Academy in Rome will be Riti etruschi: dal santuario alla tomba ,  moderated by Helga di Giuseppe (AIAC). Presenting on the AIAC program will be:

Angela Trentacoste (University of Sheffield), Beyond sacrifice: re-evaluating the ritual use and deposition of animals in Etruscan and early Roman Italy

Alessandro Giacobbi (Sapienza-Etruscologia), Dionisio in Etruria: la documentazione dal santuario di Campo della Fiera di Orvieto   

Edwige Lovergne (ED112, Université de Paris I), Sepolture e corredi dalla necropoli ellenistica di Musarna. Un contributo alla conoscenza dei gesti funerari

Home from Rome

Patricia Fortini Brown - Reflecting on Renaissance Venice

  • Wednesday, 22 January 2014 - 6:00pm
Metropolitan Club
New York City

Patricia Fortini Brown, FAAR'90, RAAR'01, will be joined by AAR Trustee Mary Frank, co-editor of Reflections on Renaissance Venice: A Celebration of Patricia Fortini Brown (Five Continents, Milan, 2013) and other contributors in an illustrated conversation about how the book reflects Brown’s scholarship and career, including her time at the Academy.  Frederick Ilchman and Sarah McHam, contributors to the volume, will join the conversation, which will be moderated by Diane Cole Ahl, RAAR'13.

Brown spent her academic career at the Department of Art and Archaeology at Princeton, retiring in 2010. She is the author of three landmark volumes: Venetian Narrative Painting in the Age of Carpaccio (1988), Venice and Antiquity (1996) and Private Lives in Renaissance Venice (2004).  During Brown’s time at the Academy she focused on what would become Venice and Antiquity. As any Venetianist who spends time in Rome will attest, the ancient city highlights the otherness of Venice.  Brown seized on that characteristic, sometimes described as venezianità, to explore Venice’s unique sensitivity to the passage of time and how it is manifest in the city’s art and architecture.  Her experience in Rome colored the way she saw Venice, experienced venezianità, and approached it in her scholarship. For Brown, it was her return to Venice that constituted going home from Rome.

Mary E. Frank, an independent scholar, worked with Brown as her dissertation advisor at Princeton. In addition to being a trustee of the Academy, Frank is also on the Board of Directors of Save Venice and the Advisory Board of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice.

Frederick Ilchman did his undergraduate work at Princeton with Brown.  He is the Mrs. Russell W. Baker Assistant Curator of Paintings at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.  Ilchman is also on the Board of Save Venice.

Sarah Blake McHam is a Professor of Art History at Rutgers University.  Her most recent publication is Pliny and the Artistic Culture of the Italian Renaissance (Yale University Press, 2013).

Diane Cole Ahl, RAAR'13, is the Rothkopf Professor of Art History at Lafayette College. She is the author of Fra Angelico (Phaidon Press, 2008) and Benozzo Gozzoli (Yale University Press, 1996). 

The Home from Rome series is made possible by the New Initiatives for Don Fund, a gift of Maria R. Cox. 

Please not the Metropolitan Club's required dress code for entry is business attire. Jacket and tie are required for gentleman. Jeans and sneakers are not permitted. 

Fellow Shoptalks

Lindsay Harris - Rome and the Power of the Picturesque: The Associazione Artistica fra i Cultori di Architettura, 1895-1921

  • Monday, 27 January 2014 - 6:30pm
AAR Lecture Room

Lindsay Harris, Marian and Andrew Heiskell Post-Doctoral Rome Prize Fellow in Modern Italian Studies, will give her shoptalk entitled Rome and the Power of the Picturesque: The Associazione Artistica fra i Cultori di Architettura, 1895-1921.


Roma Capitale e l’American Academy in Rome: cento anni di collaborazione

  • Tuesday, 28 January 2014 - 9:00am to 1:00pm
Sala della Protomoteca, Campidoglio

Land Use, Urban Voids and Abandoned Areas: New Landscapes for Contemporary Rome.

Launching the celebrations marking the centenary of the McKim, Mead & White building and organized in collaboration with Roma Capitale, this symposium gathers landscape specialists from the American Academy and their Italian counterparts presenting research and concrete proposals regarding the renewal of abandoned or underused space on the periphery of Rome. In order to improve the existing infrastructure and halt the erosion of agricultural land, landscape design and maintenance offers the key to requalification according to an organic, sustainable system governing new construction in line with economic activity and the requirements of the existing urban fabric.

To celebrate 100 years of collaboration between the City of Rome and the American Academy in Rome a Protocollo d’intesa will be signed during the symposium by Ignazio Marino, Mayor of Rome, and Mark Robbins, President and CEO, American Academy in Rome.



Participants include: Walter J. Hood, Professor of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning and Urban Design, UC Berkeley; Elizabeth Fain LaBombard, Rome Prize 2013-14, Landscape Architecture, The American Academy in Rome; Nicholas de Monchaux, Rome Prize 2013-14, Design, The American Academy in Rome; Alessandra Vinciguerra, Bass Superintendent of Gardens, The American Academy in Rome; Antonino Saggio, Università degli Studi di Roma, “La Sapienza"; Lucina Caravaggi, Università degli Studi di Roma,  "La Sapienza"; Luigi Franciosini, Università degli Studi Roma Tre; Ketty Di Tardo, Alberto Iacovoni, Luca La Torre, Studio ma0; Roma.

In collaboration with Paolo Masini, Assessore allo Sviluppo delle Periferie, Infrastrutture e Manutenzione Urbana, e Flavia Barca, Assessore alla Cultura, Creatività e Promozione Artistica, Roma Capitale.

Simultaneous translation will be available.


Cinque Mostre 2014

  • Thursday, 30 January 2014 - 6:00pm to 9:00pm
AAR Gallery

The American Academy in Rome is pleased to present the 2014 edition of CINQUE MOSTRE, five distinct exhibitions in various locations in the McKim, Mead & White building grouped under the overall title TIME AND AGAIN. The exhibitions, conceived and organized by current Rome Prize fellows and Italian critic Christian Caliandro, feature a wide variety of works in different media by American and Italian artists interrogating the ways in which contemporary art reimagines the past, celebrates new beginnings, evokes a lived experience of history, and calls into question entrenched systems of knowledge and conventional chronologies. With initiatives such as this one, the American Academy in Rome demonstrates its continuing support of innovative artists, writers, and scholars living and working together in a dynamic international community characterized by interdisciplinary dialogue.

CONCRETE GHOST, curated by Christian Caliandro

Nanni Balestrini, Anna Gimon Betbeze, Hamlett Dobbins, Tony Fiorentino, Dan Hurlin, Catie Newell, Reynold Reynolds, Giuseppe Stampone, Marco Strappato, Thomas Kelley, Catherine Wagner

The artists gathered together in Concrete Ghost / Fantasma Concreto condense, in various ways, the diffuse sensation of suspension permeating the present moment. The idea is adapted from a text by Giorgio Vasta, Italian Affiliated Fellow in Literature at the American Academy in Rome. It is at once a very specific condition and, at the same time, an elusive and evanescent one. It is that of a ghost possessed of a body, senses, sensuality, and a brain that comprehends. The embodied ghost is the precise opposite of a vanishing body: it is rather immateriality assuming concrete physical form. The concrete ghost entails movement, tension, an oriented mechanism, an atmosphere of perfectly controlled and dominated obscurity.


Diana Machulina

From ruins to relics in churches and embalmed bodies in catacombs, memento mori are everywhere in Rome, a city whose earthly delights are indelibly associated with La Dolce Vita. Rome is suffused with both hedonism and melancholia; the pleasures of life are ineluctably entwined with the sadness of the inevitability of death. A contemporary meditation upon the Rome’s dual identity, Dance macabre revisits Andy Warhol’s “Dance diagrams,” adding skeletal partners who haunt the dancers’ steps outlined on the floor. 


Evidence and Commentaries on a False Material Culture

Peter Bognanni, Thomas Kelley, Catie Newell

Found Realities is a study collection of unreal domestic objects and behaviors that expose, project, and speculate on a fantastical material culture and the evidence of a fictionalized, unreliable researcher. The work is composed of a series of bizarre objects, drawn depictions of their expected use and nonsensical setting, and elaborate narrative field notes that expose these assumed truths. Everything, at first glance, appears ‘off’ and abnormal to our current tendencies, suspended between familiar associations and a documentation set that feels both thorough and unreal. Staged within an occupied archeological workshop, the uncanny objects, elaborate drawings and passionate field notes take cues from objects, documents, and notational systems from prior archaeological research sites placing Found Realities in a delicate balance between the unbelievable and assumed truths. 

HISTORY RECAST, curated by Lindsay Harris

Photography and Roman Sculpture in Contemporary Art

Antonio Biasiucci, Marco Delogu, Milton Gendel, Leonora Hamill, Mimmo Jodice, David Maisel, Catie Newell, Sara VanDerBeek, Catherine Wagner

History Recast offers a close examination of the relationship between photography and Roman sculpture in contemporary art.  Revisiting the claim made by French critic André Malraux in 1947 that the history of art—in particular sculpture—had become “the history of that which can be photographed,” this exhibition explores how artists today no longer use the camera simply to document sculpture.  Instead, they embrace photography to create new visions of iconic objects that call into question how we view our heritage, our systems of knowledge, and ourselves.  The exhibition focuses on photographs of objects located in and around Rome, the city’s museums, or collections abroad, casting new light on the Eternal City as a laboratory in which to excavate the past, as well as our lived experience of history.


A multi-disciplinary immersive installation

Catherine Wagner, Thomas Kelley, Eric Nathan, Loretta Gargan

Inspired by newly inaugurated Pope Francis’s affinity for light as a metaphor for change, LUMEN abstracts and re-contextualizes an act of spiritual contemplation. In keeping with a secular regard for the Pope’s palpable sense of hope, LUMEN, an interdisciplinary and multi-sensory experience synthesizing various art forms, reshapes contemporary spirituality by reconsidering the pew, a site for conventional prayer. Audiovisual elements and thyme plantings create an immersive, scented environment removing the pew from its archetypal context. The physical relic, or conventional object of devotion, is replaced with a video projection of light and a musical composition responding to the movement of the video. While the pew remains iconic in scale and orientation, it no longer demands the observer to acknowledge any singular beliefs, but rather encourages a new and open contemplative experience.

Hours: The Exhibition is open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 4pm to 7pm until 2 March 2014

Image: Catherine Wagner
Rome Works - Angel Encased (Bernini), detail
Color print 1.27 x 93 cm
Museo storico artistico - Tesoro di san Pietro. Basilica di San Pietro in Vaticano
Permission granted by Capitolo Vaticano
Photograph courtesy of Stephen Wirtz Gallery and Gallery Luisotti