More than eight hundred people passed through the American Academy in Rome’s doors for Winter Open Studios on Thursday evening, January 26. This annual event allows Academy friends and the wider Roman public to meet Rome Prize Fellows, Italian Fellows, and Affiliated Fellows and witness their recent work.
Visitors in the Atrium listened to and participated in the poet Tung-Hui Hu’s Drift/Loops, a short performance that combined verse and music composed by Paula Matthussen (2015 Fellow) specially for the occasion. Numerous Rome Prize Fellows stepped forward to join the reading. There was standing room only in the Salone, where John Davis, our Rome Prize Fellow in design, performed solo piano works by nineteenth-century African American pianists and composers from New Orleans. Davis also created a digital retrospective slideshow of ephemera related to these artists that he has collected over the years.
The Cryptoporticus hosted two screenings and a musical performance. Monica Rhodes showed a video focused on Matera, Italy’s oldest continuously inhabited city. Titled Widening the Lens, the video demonstrated how heritage can be used as a strategy to not only understand the past but also shape the present and future of a city. Ioana Uricaru showcased a scene from her screenplay You Are My Secret, filmed just days before at the Academy’s Villa Chiaraviglio. This short film, shown right after Rhodes’s work, is a prelude to Ursa Major, her feature-film-length screenplay inspired by the life and work of the Jewish Romanian writer Mihail Sebastian (1907–1945). Both Rhodes and Uricaru collaborated with the film program at American University in Rome in producing their works.
The guitarist Francesco Palmieri performed the Italian premiere of Marco Momi’s San dire, described by the composer as “a wordless and confidential exchange among interlaced souls that takes place through the guitar, an instrument that, in its tone, reminds me of friendship.” Electronic sounds that played through loudspeakers were based on Palmieri’s facial expressions and the notes and chords emitted from his instrument.
Alessandro Mulazzani and the artist duo Genuardi/Ruta each filled a room of the AAR Gallery with recent work. Mulazzani hung dozens of photographs taken during his walks along the central Italian coastline, part of a project, called The Sea of Rome, exploring sustainable landscapes. Antonella Genuardi and Leonardo Ruta displayed a set of serigraphies, titled Mineral Geometry and produced in collaboration with Litografia Bulla, as well as an installation, The Golden Trumpets of Radiance, that responded to the artists’ biographies and Sicilian history.
Winter Open Studios was enthusiastically reviewed by two newspapers, Il Messaggero and Corriere della Sera, and on the website Inside Art. Behind-the-scene images and video from the event were also shared on AAR’s Instagram account. The next edition of Open Studios will take place in early June.
We thank all the attendees, as well as the performers and exhibiting artists, for an amazing evening of inspiring art. Special acknowledgments go to Lindsay Harris, interim Andrew Heiskell Arts Director, and to Laura Cabezas, for organizing the event.