February 2018


Scharoun Ensemble Berlin

  • Friday, 2 February 2018 - 8:30pm
  • Saturday, 3 February 2018 - 8:30pm
Villa Aurelia

The renowned Scharoun Ensemble of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra will offer two concerts to the AAR community and the city of Rome as the culminating events of a week-long residency. This is the 10th anniversary of the Scharoun Ensemble's annual visit and concert series at the American Academy. They will perform music featuring current Rome Prize Fellows in Musical Composition Ashley Fure and Suzanne Farrin and Italian Fellow Federico Gardella, and music from their repertoire by Rome Prize Fellows Lisa Bielawa (2010 Fellow), Martin Brody (2002 Resident), Keeril Makan (2009 Fellow), Paula Matthusen (2015 Fellow), Andrew Norman (2007 Fellow), Paul Rudy (2011 Fellow), and Nina Young (2016 Fellow).

2 February 2018 at 8:30pm
Music by Lisa Bielawa, Ashely Fure, Keeril Makan, and Paula Matthusen 

3 February 2018 at 8:30pm
Music by Martin Brody, Suzanne Farrin, Federico Gardella, Andrew Norman, Paul Rudy, and Nina Young

Seats available on a first-come, first-served basis. You are kindly requested to take your seat fifteen minutes before the beginning of the performance.

Please note: valid photo ID is required for entry into the American Academy in Rome. Backpacks and luggage with dimensions larger than cm 40 x 35 x 15 (inches 16 x 14 x 6) are not permitted on the property. There are no locker facilities available.

Fellow Shoptalks

Michelle Berenfeld - At Home in the City: Community, Class, and Christianity in the Later Roman Empire

  • Monday, 5 February 2018 - 6:30pm
AAR Lecture Room

The ‘Christianization’ of the Roman empire is a source of fascination for scholars and non-academics alike. It was a major transformation of the ancient world and continues to shape our world today. But it was far from inevitable and did not happen quickly. We moderns tend to highlight the big moments of change or resistance—when an important church was built, when monks took hammers to a temple, when fights broke out between pagans and Christians. These are important stories, but the Roman world did not erupt in mass religious conversion at any one moment. Neither angry monks nor brawling philosophy students converted the empire. The rich and powerful members of the upper classes, who ran that world, arguably did.

In late antiquity, the elite included both Christians and pagans, who lived within a shared physical environment, which they negotiated based on their common cultural background as citizens of the Roman empire. They shared educational histories, social habits, and a common visual language, all of which shaped and decorated not only their lavish houses, but also the churches that they and others eventually built. In this talk, Michelle Berenfeld considers how class and religion intersected in the built environments of late antique neighborhoods in Rome, Carthage, and Athens and how the broad historical processes of the fourth and fifth centuries CE may have been experienced as they were happening on the ground and on a human scale. 

Michelle Berenfeld is the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman/ National Endowment for the Humanities Post-Doctoral Rome Prize Fellow in Ancient Studies at the American Academy in Rome and John A. McCarthy Associate Professor in Classics at Pitzer College.

The event will be held in English. You can watch it livestreamed at


Ayad Akhtar - The Mythos of Money: An Artist's Observations of Finance's Rise to Predominancy in the Twenty-First Century

  • Wednesday, 7 February 2018 - 6:30pm
AAR Lecture Room
A scene from the Lincoln Center Theater production of “Junk” by Ayad Akhtar. Photo by T. Charles Erickson © T Charles Erickson Photography.

This event is part of the series New Work in the Arts & Humanities: East and West.

In this talk, the Pulitzer Prize–winning writer Ayad Akhtar will discuss generational transformations in the social body at the hands of finance. He will explore the implications (and causes) as the results of shifts in contemporary mythopoesis. Akhtar’s latest play, Junk, which recently concluded its acclaimed run at Lincoln Center in New York, explored the emergence of the United States as a republic of consumers fanned by the greed-driven and unregulated hostile takeovers in the heyday of the junk bond on Wall Street in the 1980s.

Akhtar was born in New York City and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is a novelist and author of American Dervish, published in over twenty languages worldwide. His play Disgraced won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, ran on Broadway at the Lyceum Theatre, and was nominated for the 2015 Tony Award for Best Play. His plays The Who & The What and The Invisible Hand received Off-Broadway runs and are currently being produced around the world, garnering nominations for the Evening Standard and Olivier Awards in London this past year. His most recent play Junk received its world premiere at La Jolla Playhouse in 2016, winning the Craig Noel Award for Best New Play. As a screenwriter, he was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay for The War Within. He is also the recipient of an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, two Obie Awards, a Jeff Award, and the Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award. Akhtar has received fellowships from MacDowell, Djerassi, the Sundance Institute, Ucross, and Yaddo, where he serves as a Board Director. He is also a Board Trustee at PEN/America and New York Theatre Workshop. 

Ayad Akhtar is Writer in Residence at the American Academy in Rome.

The event will be held in English. You can watch it livestreamed at

Please note: valid photo ID is required for entry into the American Academy in Rome. Backpacks and luggage with dimensions larger than cm 40 x 35 x 15 (inches 16 x 14 x 6) are not permitted on the property. There are no locker facilities available.


Black Value - Exhibition of Rome Prize Fellows in Florence

  • Thursday, 8 February 2018 - 6:00pm to Saturday, 17 March 2018 - 6:00pm
Fondazione Biagiotti Progetto Arte

Black Value is an exhibition coorganized with the American Academy in Rome and with the support of Galleria Continua that examines the contemporary dynamism of marginalized people in the context of a continuously shifting sociocultural landscape that challenges traditionally prescribed communal, geographical, and political realities. Drawing upon past and present Rome Prize Fellows from the American Academy in Rome, the show features a range of work by artists actively probing global perspectives, transnational aspirations, pluralized histories, and meditations on distance from the vantage point of US nationals abroad. Renegotiating societal perceptions of value these works transcend the posturing of binary logic and resonate with uncharted mythologies that shake their implicit allusions to a hurriedly superficial characterization of their creators. Blackness in the global context and the historical romanticism of an outsider’s point of view on US history and sociopolitical currents resonate in these works that shatter the constraints of a black American monolith.

Participating artists: current Rome Prize winners Sanford Biggers, Abigail DeVille, and Beverly McIver; and Fellows Kevin Jerome Everson (2002), Lyle Ashton Harris (2001), Senam Okudzeto (2015), and Nari Ward (2012).

Fondazione Biagiotti Progetto Arte
Via delle Belle Donne 39r
Florence, Italy
Open Tuesday to Friday, from 3:00 to 7:00pm or by appointment
Tel: +39 335316349 / +39 055 214757

Fellow Shoptalks

Shoptalk - Liana Brent - Nameless Bodies and Disembodied Names: Disposing the Dead in Roman Italy

  • Monday, 12 February 2018 - 6:30pm
AAR Lecture Room

In ancient Rome, death set off a series of ritual and corporeal transformations that prompted the removal of a body from the world of the living. But for modern funerary archaeologists, human remains have been an afterthought compared to the art and inscriptions that adorned their tombs. Bringing together funerary inscriptions from the American Academy in Rome with skeletal evidence from Roman burials, this talk explores the sensorial impact and embodied experiences of touching, handling, burying and digging up the dead in Roman cemeteries.

Liana Brent is the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation/Samuel H. Kress Foundation Pre-Doctoral Rome Prize Fellow in Ancient Studies (year one of a two-year Fellowship) at the American Academy in Rome and a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Classics at Cornell University.

The event will be held in English. You can watch it livestreamed at


Cinque Mostre 2018 - The Tesseract

  • Wednesday, 14 February 2018 - 6:00pm to Sunday, 25 March 2018 - 7:00pm
AAR Gallery
Cinque Mostre 2018: The Tesseract

CINQUE MOSTRE 2018: The Tesseract
An annual exhibition of artwork and curatorial projects by the Rome Prize Fellows and invited artists.
Guest curator: Ilaria Gianni.
Opening: February 14th, 6 pm

Josè Angelino, Sanford Biggers (in collaboration with Michelle L. Berenfeld), Jennifer Birkeland + Jonathan Scelsa, Ulises Carrion, Brandon Clifford + Federico Gardella + CEMEX Global R&D + Simone ConfortiSean Gullette, Leslie Cozzi, Abigail DeVille, Alessandro Di Pietro, Rochelle Feinstein + Allen Frame + Ishion Hutchinson, Aroussiak Gabrielian + Alison Hirsch with Grant Calderwood (in collaboration with Rome Sustainable Food Project and Irene Tortora), Beverly McIver + Gaetano Castelli, Matteo Nasini, Marco Palmieri, Tricia Treacy*, Arnisa Zeqo**

* with the particpation of: Chiara Barzini, Sanford Biggers, Alessandro Cicoria, Brandon Clifford, Elizabeth Rae Cowan, Alessandro Di Pietro, Ashley Fure, Allen Frame, Aroussiak Gabrielian, Valeria Giampietro, Sean Gullette, Alison Hirsch, T. Geronimo Johnson, Antonella Lattanzi, Johanna Lobdell, Kevin Moch, NERO, Matteo Nucci, Arnisa Zeqo

** in collaboration with Tiziana Del Grosso, Suzanne Farrin, Ashley Fure, T. Geronimo Johnson, Johanna Lobdell, Kevin Moch, Tricia Treacy, Joseph Williams, and the spirit of Ulises Carrion

Composed of collaborative projects, guest-curated by Ilaria Gianni under the collective title The Tesseract, Cinque Mostre 2018 features work by current Rome Prize Fellows, Italian Fellows at the American Academy in Rome and invited artists installed in various sites throughout the McKim, Mead & White Building.

The tesseract draws upon the innovative ideas gestating within the multidisciplinary and collaborative space of the Academy, developing a series of dialogues between Fellows and Italian artists in residence across a range of practices encompassing visual arts, music, literature, audio-visual production, design, architecture, and technological innovation.

In geometry the tesseract is the four-dimensional analog of a cube. The term was coined by British mathematician and writer of science fiction Charles Howard Hinton in 1888 in his book A New Era of Thought, which dealt with the fourth dimension and its implications on human thinking. A century later, the tesseract became the invisible protagonist of A Wrinkle in Time, a children’s novel by American author Madeleine L’Engle, published in 1963. In the book, the tesseract, able to fold the fabric of space and time, gives the protagonists the possibility of travelling in unknown dimensions. “Oh, we don't travel at the speed of anything. We tesser. Or you might say, we wrinkle”, says Mrs. Whatsit to Meg Murray and her brother Charles Wallace.

The tesseract is here used as a metaphor to present works investigating how time and its traces offer sources of creative research and visionary inspiration. The works included in the exhibition, from a range of different disciplines, consider particular aspects coming from the past, present, and future, displacing them from a linear, temporal system. They travel in the wrinkles of time and space.

Making use of some qualities inherent to the fourth dimension and its potential extensions, questioning notions of causality, identity, perception, and cognition, the works provide alternative and open-ended readings of what appears iconographically and symbolically fixed, re-imagining time through its formal manipulation. Altering what has been, predicting what could be, or creating a butterfly effect, through the manipulation of symbolic evidences, the participants to Cinque Mostre: The Tesseract, act as time travellers, revealing fragments from an abstract, sometimes timeless dimension.

Making the implausible possible and activating what Samuel Taylor Coleridge, defined a “willing suspension of disbelief” – an essential ingredient of storytelling – the various interventions transport the audience into a frame that not only questions a diachronic intellectual approach to time, but consciousness itself, and the yearning to escape the present moment. Travelling at different velocities, viewers are accompanied in a voyage beyond borders where the tangible is recognizable yet visibly dislodged and relocated.

Bon Voyage!

Opening: February 14th, 6 – 9 pm
Opening hours: Saturday and Sunday from 4pm to 7pm until March 25, 2018.
Free entrance

Collateral events:
March 8, 3 – 6 pm: Leslie Cozzi, Trans Bodies: Race, Gender, Myth, and Performance - A study day
March 15, 7 pm: Arnisa Zeqo, Gossip scandal and good manners revisited - A performative gathering

The exhibition is made possible by the Adele Chatfield-Taylor and John Guare Fund for the Arts and the Fellows’ Project Fund of the American Academy in Rome.

Please note: valid photo ID is required for entry into the American Academy in Rome. Backpacks and luggage with dimensions larger than cm 40 x 35 x 15 (inches 16 x 14 x 6) are not permitted on the property. There are no locker facilities available.


Irma Boom and Hou Hanru - Boom on Books

  • Tuesday, 20 February 2018 - 6:00pm

In this event, a collaboration with MAXXI, the Dutch graphic designer Irma Boom, known as “The Queen of Books,” will discuss her collaborations with artists and architects with MAXXI Artistic Director Hou Hanru. Considered by many to be among the world’s foremost book designers, Boom combines what are usually three distinct roles—designer, editor, and art director—into a single person, inventing ingenious ways of achieving desired effects. She has worked with, among others: Rem Koolhaas; De Appel, the contemporary art space in Amsterdam; and the Rijksmuseum. Fifty of her books are part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In the age of the iPad and Kindle, Boom continues to make beautifully designed traditional books. They are compelling arguments for carefully constructed printed media in a digital age.

Irma Boom is the William A. Bernoudy Designer-in-Residence at the American Academy in Rome. The event will be held in English.

Conversations/Conversazioni series is sponsored by the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation and with the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.


Peter Benson Miller - Painting and Drawing in the Contact Zone: Philip Guston in Postwar Rome

  • Wednesday, 21 February 2018 - 6:30pm
New York Studio School
Peter Benson Miller with work by Philip Guston at the Museo Carlo Bilotti

Peter Benson Miller will deliver a lectured titled “Painting and Drawing in the Contact Zone: Philip Guston in Postwar Rome” at the New York Studio School on Wednesday, February 21, 2018, 6:30–7:30pm. Miller is the Andrew Heiskell Arts Director at the American Academy in Rome. An art historian and curator, he organized Philip Guston, Roma (2010) at the Museo Carlo Bilotti in Rome and at the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC. His recent exhibitions include Cy Twombly, Photographer (2015), Studio Systems (2016), and Charles Ray, Mountain Lion Attacking a Dog (2017). He is the editor of Go Figure! New Perspectives on Guston (2015).

Lectures are free and open to the public. Seating may be limited. For inquiries about accessibility, please contact Leeanne Maxey at The New York Studio School is located at 8 West 8th Street, New York, NY 10011.


Minturnae between Lazio and Campania

  • Thursday, 22 February 2018 - 2:00pm to 7:00pm
AAR Lecture Room

Minturnae lies at the modern border between Lazio and Campania. Given its liminal position, scholars have often sought to classify material from the site as either “Etrusco-Italic” or “Campanian,” depending on the period and perspective of their study. This conference seeks to dispense with such labels, and instead to consider Minturnae within its immediate geographic and cultural context. The conference will begin with several papers focused specifically on Minturnae, and will then expand outwards to consider other sites in the region. By scrutinizing the links and relationships between these sites, we will ask how, if at all, we can define a “local region” for Minturnae and its neighbors in the mid-to-late Republic, and what this means for our understanding of Minturnae’s history and material remains more broadly.

The conference is organized by Sophie Crawford-Brown (Irene Rosenzweig / Lily Auchincloss / Samuel H. Kress Foundation Rome Prize Fellow in Ancient Studies at the American Academy in Rome) in collaboration with the Soprintendenza Archeologia, Belle arti e Paesaggio per le Province di Frosinone, Latina e Rieti.

Papers will be given in English and Italian. You can watch this event livestreamed at

This project is made possible by the Fellows Project Fund of the American Academy in Rome.

Please note: valid photo ID is required for entry into the American Academy in Rome. Backpacks and luggage with dimensions larger than cm 40 x 35 x 15 (inches 16 x 14 x 6) are not permitted on the property. There are no locker facilities available.

Fellow Shoptalks

Rosetta Elkin - What Is Plant Life?

  • Wednesday, 28 February 2018 - 6:30pm
AAR Lecture Room

The word plant emerges from two Latin origins: planta, to sprout; and plantare, to fix in place. One origin insinuates movement, the other stasis. This modest etymology suggests an entry into the central argument of Rosetta Elkin’s research: plants are objectified as a fixed form of human knowledge such that it is difficult to appreciate their aliveness. Elkin will discuss the possibility that a plant is a process, a swarm of activity, and a dynamic planetary force, in order to learn how new types of practices can emerge in the reciprocal relations, or co-production, between plant and human life.

Rosetta S. Elkin is the Garden Club of America Rome Prize Fellow in Landscape Architecture at the American Academy in Rome and Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. She is also Associate at Arnold Arboretum.

The event will be held in English. You can watch it livestreamed at

Please note: valid photo ID is required for entry into the American Academy in Rome. Backpacks and luggage with dimensions larger than cm 40 x 35 x 15 (inches 16 x 14 x 6) are not permitted on the property. There are no locker facilities available.