September 2014


Getty Connecting Art Histories Seminar: Framing Medieval Mediterranean Art and Archaeology

  • Monday, 29 September 2014 - 9:00am to Tuesday, 30 September 2014 - 5:00pm
  • Wednesday, 1 October 2014 - 9:00am to Thursday, 2 October 2014 - 5:00pm
AAR Lecture Room

“Framing the Medieval Mediterranean” is a research seminar supported by the Getty Foundation as part of its Connecting Art Histories initiative. Held in three meetings over two years at the American Academy in Rome (2014-2015), the seminar program explores the impact of national discourses on the development of medieval art history and archaeology in the Mediterranean littoral.

The role of nationalism in the preservation and presentation of medieval art and architecture in Mediterranean contexts has not yet been treated in any scholarly forum with the depth and comprehensiveness the subject deserves. And yet, national narratives fundamentally influence both scholarly discourse and public understanding. The periodization of material culture as “Ancient,” “Medieval”, “Byzantine”, “Ottoman”, and “Modern,” the characterization of religious change as positive or negative, even the visualization of the historical arc as one of progress or decline, are all fundamentally impacted by the ordering and categorizing activities that take place in museums and archaeological sites. These sites of presentation in turn shape the agendas of scholars as well as the ways in which the various national publics make sense of their past.

The seminar brings together younger scholars from around the Mediterranean to rethink their own research projects in light of discussions shared in the seminar. The seminar uses visits to local museums and archaeological parks in Rome and central Italy, as well as visits by local specialists, to inform its ongoing work.

Seminar Website:

Contact: Kim Bowes, American Academy in Rome, or William Tronzo,

October 2014


Art and War – Destruction and Protection of Italian Heritage, 1943–1945

  • Monday, 6 October 2014 - 2:45pm
AAR and Deutsches Historisches Institut

A major international conference reconsidering the role of the so-called “Monuments Men” in the Allied and German armed forces during World War II. How important were these military units in a conflict characterized by aerial warfare and strategic bombing? Was their role limited simply to recording the damage caused by the fighting and modern technology, or could they implement strategies for prevention and protection? Were they non-partisan or did they subscribe to a prevailing political ideology? The conference aims to answer these questions by analyzing the context from different national and disciplinary perspectives.


Monday 6 October
American Academy in Rome

Tuesday 7 October
Deutsches Historisches Institut
Via Aurelia Antica, 391

The event is organized in collaboration with the Deutsches Historisches Institut:

Conference organizers: Carlotta Coccoli (Università di Brescia) ( and Lutz Klinkhammer (Deutsches Historisches Institut) (


Grear Patterson, Forest Theater

  • Wednesday, 8 October 2014 - 6:00pm
AAR Gallery

A precocious former member of The Still House Group, American artist Grear Patterson focuses on stark contemporary language and its visual surrogates, a nowadays dictionary made up of winking and frowning emoticons distilled and reshuffled into ambiguous ciphers. These impenetrable hieroglyphs are countered by expressive images almost overflowing with romanticized nostalgia for lost innocence and childhood rituals. In a show named for the site of many of his most significant formative experiences, he plumbs the pleasures and traumas of adolescence in photographs, videos, paintings and sculptures that evoke both personal and collective rites of passage. His work, alternating between disclosure and reticence, subtly explores not only the immediacy of reckless experience, violent impulses and erotic yearning, but the often halting emotional and linguistic shorthand used to express those furtive memories and desires.

The exhibition is curated by Peter Benson Miller, Andrew Heiskell Arts Director at the American Academy in Rome, in collaboration with Depart Foundation.

PLEASE NOTE: The closing date of the exhibition has been postponed to 4 December 2014.

The exhibition is open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 4pm to 7pm and Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, December 2, 3 and 4 from 4pm to 7pm.

Fellow Shoptalks

Lindsay Harris

  • Monday, 13 October 2014 - 6:30pm
AAR Lecture Room

Lindsay Harris, a 2014 Fellow, is Interim Andrew W. Mellon Professor-in-Charge of the School of Classical Studies at the American Academy in Rome. The title of her shoptalk is “Photography and the Myths of Primitivism in Italy, 1904–1954.”


André Aciman in Conversation with Giorgio van Straten

  • Tuesday, 14 October 2014 - 6:30pm
Casa delle Letterature

A conversation in Italian between André Aciman and Italian novelist, editor, translator and critic Giorgio van Straten, held at the Casa delle Letterature in conjunction with the release of the Italian translation of Aciman’s acclaimed new novel Harvard Square. Born in Alexandria, Egypt, to a Jewish family of Turkish and Italian origin, Aciman, one of the foremost interpreters of Marcel Proust, is a writer whose works, including his classic memoir Out of Egypt (1995) - a mesmerizing portrait of a now vanished world - subtly explore exile and memory. These are themes that van Straten also developed in his award-winning book Il mio nome a memoria [My name, a living memory], published in 2000.

André Aciman is the John T. Sargent Writer in Residence at the American Academy in Rome and Director of The Writers’ Institute at the Graduate Center at the City University of New York, New York.

The event will be held in Italian.

Location of event:

Casa delle Letterature
Piazza dell’Orologio, 3



Patricia H. Labalme Friends of the Library Lecture: Francine Prose

  • Wednesday, 15 October 2014 - 6:00pm
Museum of Arts and Design
New York

Join the Academy for our New York debut of Conversations/Conversazioni: From the American Academy in Rome, featuring author Francine Prose. In addition to reading from her critically acclaimed novel Lovers at the Chameleon Club: Paris 1932, Ms. Prose will discuss her creative process as a writer and novelist, including how she works within the framework of historical events to create fictional narratives. A National Book award finalist for her novel Blue Angel, Prose is visiting professor of Literature at Bard College, and is the former president of PEN American Center. Her most recent works of nonfiction include the highly acclaimed Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife, and the New York Times bestseller Reading Like a Writer. Patricia H. Labalme Friends of the Library Lecture.

Francine Prose
Wednesday, October 15, 2014 - 6:00pm
Museum of Arts & Design
2 Columbus Circle
New York, New York 10019



Accademia Aperta/Open Academy

  • Saturday, 18 October 2014 - 3:00pm to 6:00pm
McKim, Mead & White Building

In October 1914, the newly formed American Academy in Rome opened its doors in a new building, designed by architects McKim, Mead & White, on the Janiculum Hill. The event marked in stone the merger of the School of Classical Studies and the American Academy in Rome, which had taken place 3 years earlier. With a building in common, including a magnificent library, the joined schools ushered in a new beginning, uniting innovative artistic and humanistic endeavour under one roof.

2014 thus marks the 100th anniversary not only of the buildings - the McKim, Mead & White Building and the Arthur and Janet C. Ross Library - but also of the radical experiment in integrating the arts and humanities that is the American Academy in Rome.  

To celebrate this centennial, the American Academy in Rome will offer guided visits of the McKim, Mead, and White Building including the Cortile, Salone, Billiard Room, Arthur and Janet C. Ross Library, Bass Garden, and Gallery.  Subject to availability, the visit will also include a tour of the stunning 17th century Villa Aurelia and its gardens.

Tours will be given in English and Italian and are free of charge.  Registration is required.  


RSVP Online


Patricia H. Labalme Friends of the Library Lecture - Women, Books and Blogs: Public Speech in the Age of Social Media

  • Tuesday, 21 October 2014 - 6:30pm
Villa Aurelia

**Please note time change to 6:30pm 

The Patricia H. Labalme Friends of the Library Lecture.

Academics, journalists and politicians discuss the status of women as public intellectuals and how the advent of new media has changed the nature and tenor of feminist discourse. The historical role of women’s voices - as authors and advocates - will be laid against the new terrain presented by the 24-hour news cycle and the democratized internet.

Participants include professor of classics and blogger for The Times Mary Beard, former White House Communications Director for Health Care Linda Douglass, entrepreneur and blogger for Il Fatto Quotidiano Sabina Ciuffini, and Italian politician and ophthalmologist Kashetu Kyenge.

Simultaneous translation will be available. Seating on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Friends of the Library Annual Book Sale will be held in the Academy's salone from 2pm to 5pm on the same day.

This event is made possible, in part, by the generous support of the Embassy of the United States of America.


Vittoria Colonna at the Crossroads of History

  • Thursday, 23 October 2014 - 5:00pm
  • Friday, 24 October 2014 - 10:00am to 6:00pm
Palazzo Colonna and AAR Lecture Room

This conference focuses on new approaches to Vittoria Colonna, one of the central figures in the literary, religious, and political life of sixteenth-century Italy. Not only was Colonna the first woman in Italy ever to have her poems printed in their own edition, and the first poet, male or female, ever to see a commentary on her poems printed during his or her lifetime, but she was also an active player in the religious and political controversies raging in the mid-1500s. As a member of one of the most powerful families in Rome, and as a friend of Bembo, Michelangelo, Pole, Ochino, among others, Colonna was personally involved in many of the most significant historical and literary developments of the time.

In the past few decades, scholars have greatly expanded the ways in which we understand the extent of Colonna’s contribution to her culture. This conference is designed to bring together a group of these scholars who have worked on different aspects of Colonna’s life and career, and whose collective research reveals how extraordinary Colonna’s role was in shaping the direction Italian literature and religion took during the mid-sixteenth century. Individual papers will address both the full range of Colonna’s writings—from her love sonnets to her deceased husband to her spiritual poems, from her informal letters to her friends to her formal epistles to popes and emperors—and the broader religious a cultural climate in which she lived.

Presentations will be given in English and Italian.

Locations of event:
Thursday 23 October
Palazzo Colonna
Piazza della Pilotta, 30

Limited seating on a first-come, first-served basis. Entrance open until 5:30pm.

Friday 24 October
American Academy in Rome

The event is organized in collaboration with Brandeis University and the Università di Roma “La Sapienza”.

Fellow Shoptalks

Marilynn Desmond

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

Marilynn Desmond, National Endowment for the Humanities Post-Doctoral Prize Fellow in Medieval Studies and University Distinguished Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Binghamton University-SUNY, will give her shoptalk entitled Trojan Time.

You can watch this event live at:


Architecture and the Arts from 1945-1968: Comparisons and Intertexts

  • Wednesday, 29 October 2014 - 5:00pm to 8:00pm
  • Thursday, 30 October 2014 - 10:00am to Friday, 31 October 2014 - 6:00pm
AAR Lecture Room and Istituto Svizzero

This scholarly conference, convened by Bruno Reichlin and Letizia Tedeschi, seeks to illuminate the complexity inherent to the notion of the “synthesis of the arts,” which emerged in the years 1945-1968 in Europe and America. This two and a half day conference will define its specific characteristics and theoretical moorings, and trace similarities and differences compared with analogous situations in the past. Soon after World War II, architects, artists and visual operators active in many different art forms, together with influential critics began to promote a new form of collaboration that affected their work on the level of programs, practices, contents, artistic languages, materials, production strategies, potential synergies and much else. Despite certain critical problems, the term that more than any other most clearly expresses this period, when viewed from this standpoint, is “synthesis of the arts,” sometimes equated with the rebirth in other forms of the “Gesamtkunstwerk” which had ushered in the art of the twentieth century. Speakers include: Yve-Alain Bois, Jean-Louis Cohen, Dietrich Neumann and Giorgio Ciucci.

Locations of event:
Wednesday 29 October
American Academy in Rome

Thursday 30 October
American Academy in Rome

Friday 31 October
Istituto Svizzero
Villa Maraini, Via Ludovisi, 48

The event is organized in collaboration with the Archivio del Moderno at the Università della Svizzera Italiana ( and the Istituto Svizzero (