Visual, Architectural, Musical, and Literary Experiences at Summer Open Studios

Visitors examine the work of Mike Cloud (photograph by Flavio Scollo)
Work by Estefania Puerta Grisales (photograph by Flavio Scollo)
Ajay Manthripragada (center) speaks with an Open Studios visitor (photograph by Flavio Scollo)
Lan Tuazon (center) with an Open Studios guest (photograph by Flavio Scollo)
Sabrina Morreale presents her work (photograph by Flavio Scollo)
Laura Stimson (left) welcomes visitors to her studio (photograph by Flavio Scollo)
Nao Bustamante (left) paints as a ghost (photograph by Flavio Scollo)
Miranda E. Mote’s studio (photograph by Flavio Scollo)
César Lopez (second from left) talks with Mario Gooden (left) in his studio (photograph by Flavio Scollo)
Jeanine Oleson (in black) with an Open Studios visitor (photograph by Flavio Scollo)
Guests visit the studio of Kamrooz Aram (photograph by Flavio Scollo)
James Welling (left) speaks to a visitor (photograph by Flavio Scollo)
Open Studios attendees gathering at the front fountain (photograph by Flavio Scollo)
Kate Soper (right) sings as Audrey Perreault plays the flute (photograph by Flavio Scollo)
Performance of a composition by Baldwin Giang (photograph by Flavio Scollo)
Visitors gather on a terrace of the McKim, Mead & White Building (photograph by Flavio Scollo)
Erica Hunt (left) reads (photograph by Flavio Scollo)
Elif Batuman (right) reads in the Cortile (photograph by Flavio Scollo)
Shrumi Swaty reading in the Cortile (photograph by Flavio Scollo)

Last Thursday we opened our gates on a beautiful evening for Summer Open Studios. About 1,300 people filled the studios, gardens, courtyard, and terraces to experience visual, musical, and literary works created by fellows in the arts. Visitors encountered artworks, installations, musical performances, and readings from fellows in architecture, landscape architecture, historic preservation and conservation, literature, musical composition, and visual arts.


In the Cortile, Rome Prize Fellows in literature read from their work. Erica Hunt shared lines from a selection called “Murmuration/Flock” from her book-length hybrid poem-prose project, Mood Librarian, while accompanied by a clarinetist. Elif Batuman performed a monologue by Zelin, the main character of her novels; the author enacted conversations between Zelin and her fictional therapist via Zoom. Shruti Swamy has made progress on a novel and a short-story collection “about the pleasures and painful complexities of caregiving, and both of which aim to expand and complicate our definition of motherhood.” She read from this work in progress as well as from thematically connected writing by others.


In the Cryptoporticus, Kate Soper sang her work Only the Words Themselves Mean What They Say while Audrey Perreault played the flute. The work, related to a New York Philharmonic commission for voice and orchestra, “uses theatricality, self-reflectiveness, the juxtaposition of musical extremes, and the materiality of sound in the service of musical storytelling.” Shortly after, Baldwin Giang introduced his work san clemente syndrome, one of three new compositions that engages with queerness and the palimpsestic nature of city life in Rome. The piece, performed by a cellist and harpist, was commissioned by the Belgium-based ensemble Extended Music Collective.


In the studios, Rome Prize Fellows in the arts displayed their work in progress and chatted with attendees, staff, and trustees. Two landscape architects, Miranda E. Mote and Lauren Stimson, brought the outdoors inside. Stimson arranged plant and mineral materials on her worktable and elsewhere and curated a selection of paintings and drawings in a variety of media—graphite, acrylic, watercolor, pastel, charcoal—on her studio walls. Mote showed recent botanic prints on one side of her studio while also hanging similar creative work by children, salon style. (Read about her specially designed classes at AAR for children ages three to fifteen that combine art, botany, and plant stories.)

Mike Cloud, the recent recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, showed mixed-media paintings that draw inspiration from picket signs, deli placards, and high school pennants, and Jeanine Oleson showed results of her research into the development and effects of visual perspective in the history of Italian art and architecture. With this knowledge, Oleson is working on a weaving and video that are leading to the first iteration of an installation.

Emily B. Frank spread books across her worktable and presented documentation related to CONTINUITY MUTABILITY GENERATION, a collaborative project with Zachary Fabri (2024 Fellow) that considers the generative interplay of art making and art conservation. An earlier iteration of the project was on view in April at IUNO in Rome.

Visitors to Kamrooz Aram’s studio to see his diptych paintings experienced the unpredictable light in his workspace. “The light in my studio has been instrumental in the work I have made here, and as the days have grown longer, I have developed the habit of keeping the studio lights off and finishing work by sunset,” the artist said.

Two of the “five lines of inquiry” in the studio of the architect Ajay Manthripragada were unfired clay objects, made using a pottery wheel, that evoke architectural terracotta, and large-format composite photographs of a roof-tile manufacturer in India. He also presented audio and a slideshow that documented his project terrasong with the musical composer Anthony Vine (2024 Fellow), which took place in the AAR Library during Winter Open Studios last December.

Lan Tuazon welcomed visitors to examine models for two upcoming, large-scale sculpture installations. Her work at AAR includes research into relics and votives with drawing compositions in gold leaf, wax carvings, and proposals for public art. Estefania Puerta Grisales’s work forms a new poetics of transformation and translation with organic and inorganic materials. “In many ways a sculpture is a dance partner leading your body into the next movement,” the artist said, “and the question is whether you make the movement about absence or presence.”

The architect César Lopez presented two works—one nearly complete and the other in early stages. The first, from a series called The Other Architecture, documents the building and infrastructural typologies that surface along political boundaries. The second is Borderlands Lens, a visual display that uncovers the latent boundaries and enclosures that have shaped Lopez’s identity as a border subject.

Nao Bustamante became a ghost by donning a minimal white sheet. Completely covered except for her stylish eyewear, the artist sat at an easel and painted another person, also dressed as a ghost, sitting nearby. Roman Foraging, an “endless” film by the Italian artist Sabrina Morreale, was an “immersive ethnobotanical journey in the city of Rome, which leads to the rediscovery of ancient oral knowledge, often at risk of being lost in the meanders of contemporaneity,” according to the artist.

We thank all the attendees, as well as the performers and exhibiting artists, for an amazing evening of inspiring art. Special acknowledgments go to Ilaria Puri Purini, Andrew Heiskell Arts Director, for organizing the event.

All photographs were taken by Flavio Scollo.

Press inquiries

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