May 2015


Steven Hughes – Virility, Blood, and Honor: Italy’s Belated Entry into WWI in 1915

  • Wednesday, 6 May 2015 - 6:30pm
AAR Lecture Room

To commemorate the centennial of Italy's entry into the First World War in May 1915, Steven Hughes will speak on the "Interventionist Crisis" and its consequences for Italian history. Thus, as the great powers went to war in August of 1914, Italy – despite its thirty-year old defensive alliance with Germany and Austria – declared itself neutral in the conflict, as did Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Switzerland. However, unlike these other states, Italy did eventually enter the war (albeit on the side of the France, England, and Russia) in May of 1915 after a series of debates, demonstrations, and street struggles that would manage to betray the anti-war sentiment of much of the populace while undercutting the opposition of a substantial majority of the parliament.  

This “Interventionist Crisis” is considered by many historians to be a defining moment in the failure of Italian democracy and the genesis of the fascist movement. This talk will lay out the forces at play during the crisis and will focus on how tropes of masculinity, virility, and blood variously played their part in mobilizing large sectors of the middle classes to take to the streets – sometimes with targeted violence – in support of the war. Conversely, Hughes will look at why the language of honor was less commonly used than one might assume during the debates and will then finish with a discussion of how the crisis helped determine the course of the post war period.

Steven Hughes is Department Chair and Professor of History at Loyola University Maryland and a Fulbright Senior Scholar.

This lecture will be given in English.
This event is in collaboration with the Fulbright Commission.


Erik Thuno – Medieval Art History and the South Caucasus

  • Thursday, 7 May 2015 - 6:30pm
AAR Lecture Room

The canon of medieval and Byzantine art, as currently defined by numerous art history text books, only rarely incorporates – if at all – the artistic achievements of the South Caucasus. Whereas the architecture and manuscript illumination of medieval Armenia have attracted some attention, the monuments of Georgia remain obscure even to specialists in the field. The South Caucasus continues to be only peripheral to the art historical discourse, and when included, the region is typically reduced to exemplifying one of the extremities of Byzantium’s influence. In this paper – while focusing on geography and chronology – Erik Thuno will briefly discuss the historiographical reasons behind this misrepresentation and then focus on the South Caucasus, not as a periphery but as a region in its own right, whose numerous and unique cross-cultural encounters situate it at the center of recent discussions on multiculturalism and globalism in medieval art. By examining a few case studies in both Armenian and Georgian art, he attempts to demonstrate that the South Caucasus has the potential to transform our ways of thinking about time and space in medieval art history and in the discipline more broadly.

Erik Thuno is the Richard Krautheimer Professor at the Bibliotheca Hertziana (2014-2015) and Associate Professor in the Department of Art History at Rutgers University.

The lecture will be given in English.

This event is in collaborazione with the Bibliotheca Hertziana (Max Planck Institute for Art History).


Open House Roma

  • Saturday, 9 May 2015 - 3:00pm to 6:00pm
  • Sunday, 10 May 2015 - 3:00pm to 6:00pm
McKim, Mead & White Building

The American Academy in Rome will be participating in the 4th edition of Open House Roma and will offer guided tours of the McKim, Mead, and White Building, including the Cortile, Salone, Billiard Room, Arthur and Janet C. Ross Library, Bass Garden, and Gallery.  

Tours are free of charge and registration is required.  


Italy’s Covered Markets: History and Contemporary Reuse

  • Tuesday, 12 May 2015 - 10:00am to 7:00pm
AAR Lecture Room

This interdisciplinary conference addresses the history of covered markets in Italy and their reuse. Starting in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, cities across Italy began to construct covered markets to modernize the food provisioning system. These structures were often symbols of civic pride: they incorporated new technologies, were the nexus of municipal infrastructural grids, and facilitated better regulations on the quality, price, and hygiene of food. Today, these markets are caught in debates across Italy as cities, citizens, and developers disagree on what to do with them after the buildings have fallen into disuse. While some of them have been upgraded or transformed to accommodate different uses, many are under threat of being destroyed to make way for other types of buildings.

The conference will convene leading scholars, artists, and architects to discuss the history, current and future states of Italy's covered markets. Historians will analyze these buildings from architectural, economic, and sociological perspectives, and the artists will present projects that reimagine their different uses. The participants will reflect upon the preservation, reuse, and destruction of the covered markets in relation to their changing civic functions.

Presentations will be in English and Italian.

The conference is organized in collaboration with the Umbra Institute.

Contact: Ruth W. Lo, American Academy in Rome,


Rebooting the Postwar Academy

  • Monday, 18 May 2015 - 2:00pm to 7:00pm
Swedish Institute in Rome

After World War II, Rome’s claim to be the caput mundi ceded to a more complex and contested geography of global culture. And yet, Rome did not fall off the map. One contributing factor was the city’s constellation of national academies and cultural institutes that sponsor residencies for artists and scholars. From 1945-1960, existing institutions resumed their prewar programs, often in revised form. During these years, a wider circle of nations also established new centers. Collectively, they contributed to Rome’s persistence as a capital of not just historic, but late-twentieth century culture.

This half-day workshop will present new information about various challenges, people, and issues that shaped different institutions’ histories between 1945-60. These discussions will add depth, nuance, and context to currently available histories, showcase research resources, and identify common themes and problems for future analysis. In addition to presentations that focus on individual academies, which will include site visits to three Valle Giulia institutions built during the 1950s and 1960s, the workshop will include two scholars whose work synthesizes the history of multiple academies during the 1940s through the 1960s. Frederick Whitling, Fellow of the Swedish Institute in Rome, will present his findings on the history of classical scholarship and research resources during and after the war. Denise Costanzo, Fellow of the American Academy in Rome and assistant professor of architecture at the Pennsylvania State University, will share her research into the postwar Rome Prize in architecture.

This workshop will begin at 14:00 at the Svenske Institut. From approximately 15:30-17:00 participants will visit the Danish Academy, Egyptian Academy and the Japanese Cultural Institute. At 17:00 the workshop’s final presentations will take place at the British School at Rome, followed by a reception at 19:00.

Organizers:  Frederick Whitling (Fellow, Swedish Institute in Rome) and Denise Costanzo (Fellow, American Academy in Rome and Assistant Professor of Architecture, the Pennsylvania State University). 

In collaboration with the Swedish Institute in Rome and the British School at Rome

Please note: picture identification is required for entry into the American Academy in Rome.


Martino Gamper and Hou Hanru

  • Tuesday, 19 May 2015 - 6:00pm

Celebrated London-based Italian artist and designer Martino Gamper, best-known for his project 100 Chairs in 100 Days, will speak with MAXXI Artistic Director Hou Hanru about the productive intersections between art and design and their potential as catalysts for social change. The Roy Lichtenstein Artist in Residence at the American Academy in Rome, Gamper is one of the artists featured in Transformers, an exhibition opening at the MAXXI in November 2015. In a special preview of the exhibition, this conversation will explore the way in which projects pursued by versatile creators such as Gamper balance utopian aspirations with clear-headed pragmatism and, in so doing, create innovative platforms for social interaction and improvement.

The conversation will be held in Italian.

This event is organized in collaboration with MAXXI.

Please note: picture identification is required for entry into the American Academy in Rome.

Fellow Shoptalks

Margaret Gaida - Reading Islamic Astrology in the Renaissance: Some Preliminary Remarks

  • Wednesday, 20 May 2015 - 6:30pm
AAR Lecture Room

Margaret Gaida, Lily Auchincloss Pre-Doctoral Rome Prize Fellow in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies and PhD Candidate in the Department of the History of Science at the University of Oklahoma, will give her shoptalk entitled Reading Islamic Astrology in the Renaissance: Some Preliminary Remarks.

You can watch this event live at:


Cliff Ando and Bryan Ward-Perkins – Rome in Late Antiquity: Center or Periphery?

  • Friday, 22 May 2015 - 5:00pm
AAR Lecture Room

Two renown historians address the question of Rome’s centrality or peripherality to the politics and cultural production of the late empire.

Cliff Ando (University of Chicago) Triumph in the Decentralized Empire

Bryan Ward-Perkins (Oxford University) Saints, Statues, and the Centrality of Rome in the Late-antique World

These lectures will be given in English.

Please note: picture identification is required for entry into the American Academy in Rome.


Nero su Bianco Roundtable Discussion

  • Tuesday, 26 May 2015 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm
AAR Lecture Room

Academy President Mark Robbins will introduce a roundtable discussion with the Co-curators of the Nero su Bianco exhibition: Trustees Robert Storr and Lyle Ashton Harris (FAAR'01), with Peter Benson Miller, Andrew Heiskell Arts Director.


Nero su Bianco

  • Tuesday, 26 May 2015 - 7:00pm to 9:00pm
AAR Gallery


Terry Adkins, Francesco Arena, Bridget Baker, Elisabetta Benassi, Adam Broomberg/Oliver Chanarin, Alessandro Ceresoli, Barbara Chase-Riboud, Onyedika Chuke, Theo Eshetu, Lyle Ashton Harris, Emily Jacir, Invernomuto, Vincenzo Latronico/Armin Linke, Meleko Mokgosi, Senam Okudzeto, Jebila Okongwu, Pietro Ruffo, Lorna Simpson, Giuseppe Stampone, Justin Randolph Thompson, Nari Ward, Carrie Mae Weems, Stanley Whitney, Fred Wilson.

The American Academy in Rome has long played host to artists who subvert and problematize conventional narratives and histories. Accordingly, it is a fitting venue for an international survey of multiple perspectives on radical shifts in private and public perceptions of identity, particularly regarding subjectivity and agency within the African-American, African-European, and African spheres. The questions raised by Nero su Bianco, in turn, call for a fundamental reconsideration of the historical idea of the Academy, underscoring the need to recast and galvanize “the canon” and position the institution as a forum for open discussion and constructive debate about ethnic and cultural hybridity in the world generally, in Europe particularly, and in Italy even more specifically. Taking advantage of the intellectual and creative community at the Academy, the project envisions a series of conversations between visual artists and scholars that engage these issues in a critical dialogue.

As an overview and assessment of the past several decades, Nero su Bianco features work by an international group of artists—many of them closely affiliated with the Academy. Its intent is to take the cultural, social, and political temperature in Italy today. With that goal, the exhibition examines and questions key sites, paying special attention to their historical origins and legacies and the conditions and modes of production that shaped them.

Nero su Bianco coincides with Black Portraiture{s} II: Imaging the Black Body and Re-Staging Histories, a conference organized by New York University in collaboration with Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African and African-American Research, to be held at New York University in Florence—Villa La Pietra on May 28–31, 2015.

Nero su Bianco is curated by Lyle Ashton Harris, Robert Storr and Peter Benson Miller.

A series of public events connected to Nero su Bianco will occur on Thursday’s beginning in June. Please check back for updates.

A fully illustrated catalogue accompanying Nero su Bianco will be published by NERO in Rome with text by Mark Robbins, Robert Storr, Lyle Ashton Harris, Frank M. Snowden, III, Taiye Selasi, Vincenzo Latronico, Christian Caliandro, Claudia Durastanti, and Peter Benson Miller.

The exhibition is made possible by the Syde Hurdus Foundation.  Additional support is provided by Miyoung Lee and Neil Simpkins. The catalogue is made possible by the DEPART Foundation. Program support is provided by the Embassy of the United States of America.

Opening hours: Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 4pm to 7pm until 19 July 2015. The exhibition will be closed on 5 June 2015.

Please note: picture identification is required for entry into the American Academy in Rome.