Rome Prize Fellows

The American Academy in Rome awards the Rome Prize to a select group of artists and scholars, after an application process that begins in the fall of each year. The winners, announced in the spring, are invited to Rome to pursue their work in an atmosphere conducive to intellectual and artistic freedom, interdisciplinary exchange, and innovation. Rome Prize winners are listed here with a brief project summary in their own words.

Ancient Studies

Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman/ National Endowment for the Humanities Post-Doctoral Rome Prize

Michelle L. Berenfeld

John A. McCarthy Associate Professor, Classics, Pitzer College
At Home in the City: The Neighborhoods of the Urban Elite in the Late Roman Empire

Elite urban neighborhoods in the late Roman empire (ca. 3rd-6thc. CE) were social spaces in which daily negotiations of power, class, and piety played out among the members of the upper classes. Late Roman houses have been the object of numerous studies, but these have largely overlooked relationships between urban houses, their interaction with public spaces, and changes in those relationships over time. This project explores how the rise of Christianity affected urban neighborhoods and intersected with other developments related to class and elite power in this critical period. Using archaeological evidence from selected provincial cities (Athens, Aphrodisias, Antioch, Carthage) and Rome, together with texts produced in and about those cities, this book will present a new approach to the study of late antique houses that fully integrates them into their broader urban contexts throughout different parts of the empire.

Emeline Hill Richardson Pre-Doctoral Rome Prize

Catherine E. Bonesho

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Foreign Holidays and Festivals as Representative of Identity in Rabbinic Literature

This project analyzes how ancient rabbis use Roman holidays like Saturnalia to encourage or prevent assimilation into their larger Roman imperial context. Building on scholarship that understands rabbinic texts as literary texts, I examine rabbinic prohibitions of interaction during Roman holidays and their corresponding narratives in the Roman age rabbinic tractate on foreign worship. This tractate describes how the rabbis propose living under Roman rule and how to deal with Roman idolatry such as baths and the worship of Roman gods. I find, using McCutcheon’s theory of mythification, that rabbinic texts show three motivations for the prohibition or allowance for interaction with Romans on their holidays: interactions were allowed because of an interest in the larger Roman economy but limited to avoid participating in Roman idolatry and to avoid the erosion of group identity in the Roman world. Finally, I apply this methodology to ?a ?Roman law on Purim in the Theodosian Code.

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation/Samuel H. Kress Foundation Pre-Doctoral Rome Prize (year one of a two-year Fellowship)

Liana Brent

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Classics, Cornell University
Corporeal Connections: Tomb Disturbance, Reuse and Violation in Roman Italy

My doctoral research explores non-élite Roman burial practices that involved post-depositional activity, including disturbance, reuse and violation. This project prioritizes body-oriented research and the human remains that were once a corpse and the focus of mortuary treatment. I consider the handling of skeletal remains at the time of grave reopening in inhumation - as opposed to cremation - burials in non-monumental cemeteries throughout Roman Italy from the late first to early fifth centuries CE. This research integrates published evidence from suburban and semi-rural cemeteries with current methods from archaeothanatology. By investigating the state of the human remains at the time of reopening and the time between depositions, my argument centers around the ways in which the addition of individuals and the manipulation of human skeletal elements could create and maintain inter-generational corporeal connections between the deceased and the living.

Irene Rosenzweig/Lily Auchincloss/Samuel H. Kress Foundation Pre-Doctoral Rome Prize (year two of a two-year Fellowship)

Sophie Crawford-Brown

Ph.D. Candidate, Graduate Group in the Art and Archaeology of the Mediterranean World, University of Pennsylvania
Daedala Tecta: Architectural Terracottas and Cultural Memory in Republican Italy

My dissertation uses architectural terracottas to examine the ways in which central Italian communities expressed civic identity through visual culture in the mid-to-late Republic.  Cosa and Minturnae, together with their surrounding regions, constitute the principle case-studies for my analysis.  Contrary to the Rome-centered perspectives of previous terracotta studies, I examine how architectural terracottas were employed to emphasize local traditions (Etruscan, Latin, Samnite, Auruncan, etc.), and to construct and assert communal identity.  Network theory is critical to my approach, as it eschews center-periphery models and instead provides a flexible and data-driven framework for charting cultural exchange across multiple network scales.

Andrew Heiskell Post-Doctoral Rome Prize

Lauren Donovan Ginsberg

Assistant Professor, Department of Classics, University of Cincinnati
They Will Sing of You and Me: Lucan as Caesar’s Epic Successor

When Lucan set out to write an epic account of the civil war between Pompey and Caesar, he had a number of textual predecessors to draw on, including Caesar’s own account of that very war. And yet despite the numerous points of convergence between the two texts and despite Lucan’s own demonstrable fascination with Caesar as historical actor and historical author, the question of Lucan’s reception of Caesar remains a crucial gap in modern scholarship. But this was not always the case. In the Renaissance, for example it seems to have been unthinkable to examine the work of one without recourse to the other; and even more suggestively, many scholars of that time seem to have found within Lucan’s stridently anti-tyrannical epic a Caesarist voice. My project explores this long-standing question and, in doing so, I argue that Lucan both presupposes a reader intimately familiar with his predecessor’s account and marks Caesar’s text as a significant site of memory for the empire. My overarching goals are (1) to reframe the way we approach the question by looking at Caesar’s Civil Wars not only as a historical source but also as a literary model model and (2) to free such analysis of the assumption that Lucan’s reception of Caesar must be purely combative or antagonistic.

Arthur Ross Pre-Doctoral Rome Prize

Kevin E. Moch

PhD Candidate, Department of Classics, University of California, Berkeley
Quoium Pecus? Representations of Italian Identity in Vergil’s Eclogues, Georgics, and Aeneid

This dissertation focuses on the ways in which a local, specifically non-Roman Italian identity informs the works of the Roman poet Vergil in the first century BCE. Born in a region only granted Roman citizenship in the poet’s adulthood, Vergil shows a propensity for representing regional interests and identities. My project aims to bring out the tensions that arise in Vergil’s poetry between the local Italian and Roman civic perspectives and the subsequent struggle local Italian populations must have undergone to make sense of these identities. In particular, I argue that Vergil, in his treatment of issues such as nationhood, foreignness, duality, and competition in the Eclogues, Georgics, and Aeneid, privileges the Italian over the Roman, allowing the local point of view to emerge as a primary voice in his poetry. While emphasizing socio-cultural context, I also demonstrate that cultural metaphor and cultural symbol act in the poem as important vehicles for exploring this negotiation of identity.


Founders Rome Prize

Brandon Clifford

Assistant Professor, School of Architecture and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Ghosts of Rome

When a red granite obelisk was transported from Egypt and erected in St. Peter’s Sq., a massive spectacle surrounded the armature and celebration of its assumed final positioning. Not only is little known of the megalith’s origin, little is also known of this spectacular effort. The ghost of this knowledge intentionally erased in favor of a mystical understanding of power. I am fascinated with erasures of knowledge, for the potentials they offer through contemporary manifestations. Rome is full of ghosts; of which I am most interested in three types—petrification, spectacle, and spatial. This proposal seeks to exercise a series of Roman translations, through conversations with fellow collaborators. Not only is Rome an ideal incubator for mining these pockets of knowledge, but also the social and cross-disciplinary conversations that emerge through the residency are an ideal scenario for such a research method. What kinds of architectures emerge when the ghosts of Rome manifest today?

Arnold W. Brunner/Katherine Edwards Gordon Rome Prize

Keith Krumwiede

Director, Krum|Co., San Francisco, CA and New York, NY
Visiting Associate Professor, Department of Architecture, University of California, Berkeley
A Pattern Book of Houses for a World After the End of Work

My objective with this new work is to return to the origins of the suburban house on the Italian peninsula and to build a new history moving forward. The investigation will begin with a study of various key moments in the history of domestic architecture both within Rome and across the Agro Romano. Through a drawing based analysis that mixes direct observation with the analysis of earlier architectural representations, I aim to identify a set of inflection points in which new paths of development—both organizational and formal—can be pursued that prioritize interaction over isolation, collectivity over privacy. In the end, the work will take the form of a book, modeled on historical pattern books—a popular form of architectural discourse and self-promotion in 18th century England and 19th century America—that both proposes new forms of dwelling and describes other possible ways of living. Often, the stories that we tell as architects are as important as the things that we make.


Mark Hampton Rome Prize

Jennifer Birkeland and Jonathan A. Scelsa

Partners, op.AL, New York, NY
Birkeland: Visiting Assistant Professor/Practitioner in Residence, The Pennsylvania State University
Scelsa: Assistant Professor of Architectural Design + Technology, Pratt Institute; Lecturer in Architecture, University of Pennsylvania; Design Critic, Rhode Island School of Design
The Roman Roof-Scape – The Atrium as Landscape - Urban Infrastructure

Water management was a central ideological tenet to the formation of Roman urbanization, wherein the external ground of the street, the internal ground of the home and the city’s roof-scape were conceived as a single infrastructure device. The modern city has lost sight of some of these basic Landscape and Architectural ideas, offsetting much of the rain-water problems to the street and the overburdened combined sewer of increasingly dense urban centers. The aim of our work in Rome w¬ill be to revive an understanding of a trans-disciplinary methods for conceiving urban water management. Our investigations will begin with a study of the external atrium as deployed in the various densities and situational housing typologies of the single-family domus, the multi-family insula, and the enclave typologies of the palazzo and villa. Our emphasis will be on the Roman’s combined approach of the impluvium and compluvium as an infrastructural methodology that incorporated the capture and diversion of storm-water within the boundary of the building footprint, using both Architectural and Landscape form as one.

Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon Polsky Rome Prize

Tricia Treacy

Assistant Professor, Graphic Design, Department of Art, Appalachian State University
modes + methods of dialog + collaboration

I will create a publication series that investigates the relationship between art, design, writing, religion, food studies, and architecture in contemporary Rome. The content of the publication will be curated from my ongoing investigation of the perspectives and insights of the 2016-2017 Rome Prize Fellows as well as the RSFP chefs. In addition, I will conduct an ongoing dialogue with locals in Rome to enable the local community to have a voice in the publication as well.

With all of these voices involved in the content, I will use my training as a visual artist, designer and master bookmaker to translate this diverse, interdisciplinary dialogue into a series of publications full of rich, visual and written narratives. In place of reiteration, the series will use the gaps and overlaps between the included perspectives as its basis. As a result, the publication series will be a site for new creative/critical discourse, comparative research, and open-ended dialogue.

Historic Preservation and Conservation

Charles K. Williams II Rome Prize

Lisa DeLeonardis

Austen-Stokes Professor, Department of the History of Art, John Hopkins University
A Transatlantic Response to Worlds that Shake: Jesuit Contributions to Anti-Seismic Building Design in Early Modern Italy and Peru

Italy and Peru share a long history of catastrophic earthquakes. The search for an architecture that could withstand tremors has occupied builders, designers, and patrons since antiquity. In the Early Modern Period, this desire piqued the interest of the Jesuits, who managed missions in both regions. An anti-seismic architectural design practice and material known as quincha captured their attention. Developed in ancient Peru and exported to Italy after the sixteenth century, its light weight, flexibility, and sculptural plasticity satisfied both aesthetic and structural concerns. Correspondence between colonial administrators in South America indicates an intense level of engagement about its use, and about problem-solving architectural restoration. Absent from these letters, and the subject of my inquiry at the American Academy in Rome, is the Italian perspective. My project addresses Italian interest in quincha and follows its spread across southern Italy. I examine how and when this ancient American building practice influenced Italian architectural design.

Central to my intellectual interests are how ideas and materials are transmitted and transformed by builders over time and space. Review of the annual letters held in the Jesuit archives and related documentary sources in Rome’s repositories are fundamental to my project. I value consultation with Italian conservators and their perspectives on architectural preservation and organic materials protection. I expect to conduct field survey at a number of locations to examine in situ buildings. Ultimately, I hope to gain a clearer perspective of architectural solutions to recurring seismic activity in both regions, and to contribute to timely issues in Historic Preservation and Conservation studies.

Booth Family Rome Prize

Liz Ševčenko

Director, Humanities Action Lab, The New School + Rutgers University-Newark
Confronting Denial: Preservation for a Post-Truth Era

I plan to write a piece that provides an integrated approach to heritage and human rights. It will offer theoretical frameworks and practical resources for the fast-growing number of people from transitional justice, community development, and other fields who, whether they identify as historic preservationists or not, are saving places to build lasting cultures of human rights. The rise of a US movement likened to fascism makes this a critical moment to explore consequences of forgetting, and remembering, fascist sites. Italy is an essential case study: the country is now breaking decades of silence to confront its past, inspiring deep controversy. The Museo della Shoah in Rome is struggling to open at Mussolini’s Villa Torloni. A Museum of Fascism is proposed in the Casa del Fascio e dell’Ospitalità in Mussolini’s home town of Predappio. The book will compare this with the US’s refusal to officially reckon with sites of recent abuses at Guantanamo, or historic abuses of slavery and mass incarceration.

Landscape Architecture

Prince Charitable Trusts/Rolland Rome Prize

Alison B. Hirsch and Aroussiak Gabrielian

Co-founders, foreground design agency, Los Angeles, California
Hirsch: Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture + Urbanism, School of Architecture, University of Southern California
Gabrielian: Ph.D. Candidate in Media Arts + Practice, School of Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California
Rome real-and-imagined: cinematic fictions and future landscapes

Centuries of artistic visions and written narratives of The Eternal City tell stories of Rome’s triumphant past (and decay), filling the voids between fragmentary facts with imaginary fictions. The city as it exists today–in both the social imagination and in physical manifestation–is shaped by the accrual of these stories through time. Relying on landscape’s affiliation with narrative and the cinematic, we aim to disrupt the tension between legends of the ancient city and realities of everyday life by unearthing non-dominant narratives – in the city and in the archives - and playing them out in the landscape using immersive cinematic techniques including “live” renderings projected in situ. Through the conflation of fact and fiction, past and present, the project will speculate on Rome’s possible futures. These cinematic experiments will be complemented by writings on Rome as a landscape shaped by its particular social realities and its cinematic imaginaries. Both image and text will provide alternatives to Rome’s current trajectories, aiming to release the restraints reality has on our ability to dream.

Garden Club of America Rome Prize

Rosetta S. Elkin

Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University
Associate, Arnold Arboretum
Shorelines: The Case of Italian Stone Pine

The ancient city of Ostia and its migrating coast illuminates the long-term regimes of retreat and urbanization, and the role of major re-forestation projects. Historically, farmers planted pine forests along shorelines, in order to protect their land from salt spray. While some of these areas are now at or below sea level, others have persisted and naturalized. Although many individual projects are now fragmented, Pinus picea and its associations are evidence that plants can harness the relentless events of the weather. This case study will sample the origins of Pinus pinea as a species emblematic of Rome, and further into to its evolution as a major forestation species along the western shorelines. The case of Italian Stone Pine will explore the varied ages, adaptive forms and changing behaviors along the Ostia shorelines, in order to help articulate a broader role for plants when characterizing future coastal development in the context of changing climates.


Joseph Brodsky Rome Prize, a gift of the Drue Heinz Trust

Ishion Hutchinson

Professor, Department of English, Cornell University
School by the Cliff

I will be working on book-length sequence which bears my landscape’s struggle between the two degrading economies of plantation slavery and modern tourism. Most of the confrontation is situated on a school built on a cliff; children see the future from a perilous height. They fall often, testing earth. The poem attempts to hold true to, with credible imagination, their endurance, in light of past and ongoing atrocities.

John Guare Writer's Fund Rome Prize, a gift of Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman

T. Geronimo Johnson

University Chair in Creative Writing, Department of English, Texas State University at San Marcos
Pilot of the Great Machine

Afro-futurism; the rise of global AI; the economic imperatives that champion cultural differences; corporate religion; and tech inequity converge in my new project entitled "Pilot of the Great Machine."

I'm writing against what Toni Morrison calls the "manipulation of Africanist narrative…as a means of meditation.” I’m writing against the expectation that black characters jump through a cathartic dog-and-pony show of enlightenment, thus serving as the nation’s moral consciousness by exemplifying unrequited Christian ideals of forgiveness and reassuring audiences of America’s eternal benevolence. I’m writing against the Horatio Alger myth, against the fallacious paradigm that accuses the poor of being lazy, and against the strained optimism of the (neo) slave narrative and its artificial inosculation of literacy and liberty. I write for the ones who didn’t get away.

Medieval Studies

Donald and Maria Cox/Samuel H. Kress Foundation Pre-Doctoral Rome Prize (year one of a two-year fellowship)

Anna Majeski

Ph.D. Candidate, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University
Visualizing the Cosmos from Fourteenth-Century Padua: From Francesco da Barberino to Giusto de’Menabuoi

A judge in late medieval Padua would have passed sentence amidst an extraordinary display of astrological knowledge. In the great Salone of the Palazzo della Ragione, 319 images of the planets, constellations and their influences on humankind adorned the walls, crowned by a vast ceiling painted blue and dotted with gilded, mirror-studded stars. Originally painted between 1309 and 1312 by Giotto, the frescoes were damaged by fire in 1420 and subsequently repainted. Nonetheless, the Salone cycle is the most extensive astrological cycle produced in late medieval Italy—a multivalenced response to the challenge of visualizing the cosmos, produced at the nexus of art, science, and politics. Among the most compelling precursors are fresco cycles produced for the papal court at Rome. The content of the Salone is heir to the thirteenth-century revival and reorganization of the discipline of astrology, in which images played an important role. Giotto’s frescoes, I contend, are both a summa and a critical rethinking of the astrological image as a form of knowledge. I will advance a reconstruction of the fourteenth-century cycle and explore the varied ways in which the Salone contributes to our understanding of the power of the image ca. 1300.

Millicent Mercer Johnsen Post-Doctoral Rome Prize

Bissera V. Pentcheva

Professor, Department of Art History, Stanford University
Animation in Medieval Art

Since the Renaissance, Western culture has promoted naturalism and the ability of the painter or sculptor to imitate nature and produce a lifelike image. By contrast, medieval culture across the Christian–Islamic divide privileged liveliness, stemming from the changing appearance of materials like gold, enamel, and gems. The material flux was produced by ambient conditions such as the movement of diurnal light and shadows across the complex surfaces, or the flicker of candles stirred by a breeze or human breath. By employing digital technology along with the traditional textual research, this study explores the phenomenon of animation in medieval art across Byzantine, Western medieval, and Islamic art.

Phyllis W.G. Gordan/Lily Auchincloss/Samuel H. Kress Foundation Pre-Doctoral Rome Prize (year two of a two-year Fellowship)

Joseph Williams

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Art, Art History, and Visual Studies, Duke University
The Practice and Production of Architecture during the Mediterranean Commercial Revolution: The Church of S. Corrado in Molfetta (ca. 1185-1303)

This project examines the physical evidence of one medieval building to probe the circulation of architectural practice in the Mediterranean during a period of expanding commerce and communications. Molfetta Cathedral embodies a discontinuous building process and a heterogeneous repertoire, combining local and foreign structural systems and decorative techniques. In contrast to the emphasis that previous studies have placed on form and style, I use archaeological methods to unravel this work site as an intersection of diverse and shifting practical expertise in the fields of stone-cutting, assembly, engineering, and construction process. This allows me to draw more precise comparisons than before, and, on the basis of these comparisons, analyze the circulation of architectural practice on a map using a Geographic Information System (GIS). The cathedral emerges as a junction of pan-Mediterranean, rather than purely local, systems of church building.

Modern Italian Studies

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation/National Endowment for the Humanities Post-Doctoral Rome Prize

Leslie Cozzi

Curatorial Associate, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA
Fra: Relation and Collaboration in Contemporary Italian Art

This project explores relational and collaborative practice within postwar and contemporary Italian art. It examines a groundbreaking set of artists and critics brought together by similar working methods and group associations as well as personal and family ties. Emphasizing the monastic connotations of poverty, the book examines the work of prominent couples within Arte Povera, including Mario and Marisa Merz and Alighiero and Annemarie Sauzeau Boetti. Significant figures on that movement's fringes are also examined, with chapters on the feminist partnership between Carla Lonzi and Carla Accardi and on Carol Rama and Edoardo Sanguineti’s joint interest in aesthetic deformation. Arguing that relationships became central to establishing a new politics of shared experience in the art world, this book demonstrates how Italian artists expanded the formal and methodological boundaries of socially engaged art.

Paul Mellon/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Post-Doctoral Rome Prize

Diana Garvin

Assistant Professor, Department of Romance Languages, University of Oregon
When Cuisines Collide

In October 1935, dictator Benito Mussolini's shock troops flooded the shores of Abyssinia, seizing Ethiopian cities and townships to establish Italian settler colonialism in East Africa.  This project examines the interplay of East African and Italian culinary culture from the Fascist period to the present day to trace the legacies of colonialism to contemporary kitchens.  All five senses engage through the materials: marketplace maps, children’s cups and dishes, and breastfeeding photography demonstrate how the regime embedded political ideology in everyday actions like cooking and eating. 

Today, we see Mediterranean migration unfolding in reverse: Eritrean, Ethiopian, and Somali citizens navigate the dangerous and often deadly waters to seek employment and political asylum, bringing foods and foodways from the Horn of Africa to Southern Europe.  Neo-Fascist and far-right parties such as Fiamma Tricolore and Lega Nord have framed these cultural shifts as an assault on Italian identity and nativist foodways: “Sì alla polenta, no al cous-cous.”  Faced with the return of hyper-nationalism in Europe and in the United States, what do we do now?  Interweaving individuals' recipes with the collective politics of urban planning and restaurant legislation casts this dilemma in the concrete details of daily life to explain what is at stake in the migration of culinary culture.

Marian and Andrew Heiskell Pre-Doctoral Rome Prize

Jessica Gabriel Peritz

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Music, University of Chicago
The Lyric Mode of Voice: Song and Subjectivity in Italy, 1769 - 1815

My research explores the emerging connection between voice and subjectivity in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Italy. Theorists of voice typically locate this shift in the French Enlightenment, but my project argues for Italy as the site of a more radical ideology of voice, one born of uniquely Italian musico-cultural practices and anxieties. Amidst mounting criticisms of operatic voices as artificial and inauthentic, progressive singers, composers, and literati experimented with transforming voice into a privileged medium for individual expression. I explore such attempts through the lens of three lyric figures—Orpheus, Sappho, and Ossian—reading them as both opera characters and representations of different types of “lyric” voices. In defining voice as, at once, a broad metaphorical category and a set of culturally contingent practices, my project aims to position Italy as a central force in historical narratives about voice and selfhood.

Musical Composition

Frederic A. Juilliard/Walter Damrosch Rome Prize

Suzanne Farrin

The Frayda B. Lindemann Professor of Music, Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center
The Hour of The Star

I would like to compose a forty-minute opera on Clarice Lispector’s **The Hour of the Star**. This powerful short novel was Lispector’s last work and provides a moving portrait of the life of Macabéa, a poor woman from the northeast of Brazil whose existence boarders on the invisible. Her experiences with love, family, work, food, and sudden death are a window into Lispector’s early life in Brazil and the voicelessness of poverty.

The roles are Macabéa (mezzo); her aunt (soprano); Olímpico, the boyfriend (tenor); Glória (coloratura), her better-off coworker who ends up with Olímpico; Clarice, the author, Madame Carlotta, the seer (mezzo); and the narrator (baritone), whose masculinity and privilege serves as the mouthpiece for Macabéa’s metaphysical impotence.

Samuel Barber Rome Prize

Ashley Fure

Assistant Professor, Department of Music, Dartmouth College
Da Vinci Shaken

It was Leonardo Da Vinci who found out sound travels in waves. Legend has it he watched a stone fall into a well at the same moment a church bell struck nearby. In a mental leap that later generations might have called cross-modal, Da Vinci watched the waves ripple outward from that stone and mapped a theory of how sound pushes air. Taking Da Vinci’s cross-modal waves as raw material, in Rome I will develop a large-scale installation in collaboration with the Milan-based Mdi Ensemble. An array of subwoofer speaker cones will spread throughout a space. Lengths of elastic string attached to these palpitating objects will fasten to the room’s infrastructure at diverse angles. While the speakers project infrasound too low for humans to hear, they cause waveforms to ripple through the elastic web, making visible unheard vibrations saturating the room. Both an installation and a custom performance environment, the speakers will transform at designated intervals into kinetic drum kits played by members of Mdi.

Renaissance and Early Modern Studies

Anthony M. Clark Pre-Doctoral Rome Prize

Raymond Carlson

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University
Michelangelo between Florence and Rome: Art and Literary Culture in Sixteenth-Century Italy

My dissertation considers the changing dynamics between Michelangelo Buonarroti's artistic practice and poetic development. It centers on the two decades after his move to Rome from Florence in 1534, which was a catalyst for his production of hundreds of poems and private artistic projects simultaneous with his papal commissions. My project provides a comprehensive examination of the parallels in style, form, genre and textual sources of Michelangelo's art and poetry of this period, especially in relation to Italy's varied literary landscape. It will thereby shed light on the burgeoning vernacular culture in Rome after the sack of 1527. I will chart Michelangelo's relationships with a new generation of intellectuals who participated in polemics on topics such as poetic imitation and the development of the Italian language. By studying archival sources, rare books and art objects, my dissertation will show how Michelangelo's visual production reveals his engagement with a wider literary discourse.

American Academy in Rome Post-Doctoral Rome Prize

Cécile Fromont

Assistant Professor, Department of Art History, University of Chicago
Images on a Mission: Cross-Cultural Encounters and Visual Mediation in Early Modern Kongo and Angola

This project, centered on an unpublished illustrated manuscript, analyzes early modern Italian Capuchin images of nature, culture, and catechization in Kongo and Angola, and probes the visual and intellectual interactions that led to their creation. It tackles fundamental questions about the creation and communication of cross-cultural, secular and religious epistemologies, the relationship between Europeans and Africans in the early modern era, and the possibility to identify and analyze the indigenous dimension of European eyewitness accounts of faraway lands. Examining the role of images and image-making in the creation and transmission of knowledge across cultures in seventeenth and eighteenth century Kongo and Angola this project not only enriches our understanding of global encounters and interactions but also sheds long overdue light on the visual, material, and religious cultures of Africa before the colonial era and their role in the formation of the early modern world.

Visual Arts

Harold M. English Rome Prize

Sanford Biggers

Artist, New York, NY
Associate Professor of Visual Arts, Columbia University

Classical works of art convey the aspirations, ideals and desires of their time while simultaneously recording the violence, censorship, destruction and iconoclasm of subsequent cultures through which they continually pass. In the spirit of the descendants of Rome, who slowly dismantled the original city for material to build it anew, calling these fragments ‘spolia’, I want to create my own fragments, in essence to concretize history into a solid material, and reconstitute it into a new vision of the figure. In Tragedy the fall of a hero figure due to a fatal flaw and the success of a mortal protagonist with good future and ingenuity intersect on their respective upward and downward narrative trajectories. What does the figure look like that emerges at this intersection? I plan on mixing 3D scanned objects taken from sites throughout the city and captured with my mobile 3D scanner, with traditional sculptural techniques and contemporary materials.

Chuck Close/Henry W. and Marian T. Mitchell Rome Prize

Abigail DeVille

Artist, Bronx, New York
New Monuments to Forget the Future

“I’ve illuminated the blackness of my invisibility- and vice versa.”- Ralph Ellison 

For the duration of the fellowship I will research eighteenth century idea of dark stars and the rejection of black holes. With my findings, as well as diagrams, historical texts, and hypotheses, I will construct a physical composition of contemporary American social political realities. The work itself will be different types of constructed spaces in time-based media, total installations and small sculptures. These spaces would be comprised solely of found objects using the ideas of failed science as the key metaphor for the purposeful erasure of specific histories. The research is part of a larger developing body of work-“Invisible Men: Beyond the Veil.” This works aim is to document the stories of the marginalized people that inhabited the Bronx since the later half of the twentieth century.

Jules Guerin Rome Prize

Rochelle Feinstein

Artist, New York, NY
Professor, Department of Painting and Printmaking, School of Art, Yale University
Color Therapy (working title)

My work is primarily based in painting, drawing, photography. However, in the last decade, works have also mutated into book form and digitally printed, room-scaled fabric. I think of all the projects as chronicles that I undertake in equal parts as a citizen and as an artist; listening and looking for elements needing comprehension; drawn from politics, personal entanglements, economic downturns, and the commonplace. As a painter, Form anchors my work as a tool, a rule, and a convention. My project, Color Therapy (working title), takes its cue from this commonly used "alt-healing" umbrella term lacking in specific meanings while it conferring expectations. Color, while intrinsic to my practice as a painter, is it equally experienced as condition of identity and social organization.

My study in Rome will focus on the hand drawn and printed maps of Italy dating from the 16 th through the 18 th Centuries. These purposeful documents were produced as much by the subjectivities of their time as they were governed by political, practical and technical capacities. My purpose for the coming year is to find insights from historical documents and move them forward into to this moment of polarized trans-national migrations, mapped as much by subjective imaginations as by Google Earth. I will generate new work in old media and new, and, seek out collaborative conversations with others as I moving towards the goal of creating a document of places, Color Therapy (working title,) in book form.

Abigail Cohen Rome Prize

Allen Frame

Photographer, New York, NY
Adjunct Professor, Department of Fine Arts, Pratt Institute
Portraits in Roman Gardens

I propose to make evocative portraits in the private and public gardens of Rome and surrounding towns. My previous work has included portrait studies in intimate situations— in rooms of the subjects’ homes or hotel rooms. I propose in Rome to depict the figures outdoors, locating them in gardens where there is a sense of privacy in their experience of nature. I think of the context as a portrait situation, neither staged nor posed. The observed figures are usually alone, depicted in a psychological or contemplative mood.

My photographs have often been compared to film stills. The compositions are somewhat formal and stylized, but taken from reality. A specific narrative is never intended, even though title information, including names and places, grounds the visually theatrical in a non-fictive experience. I don't consider that I am making documentary work, but the work I do is heavily influenced by the personal documentary tradition, which often challenged the photographer to react quickly and sensitively to the passing moment and immediate circumstances. Still, I acknowledge the cinematic mingling of my subjectivity and memory with the objective reality of the scene and situation I'm photographing. The work is autobiographical, in a sense, depicting subjects who are often connected to my life, including friends and other artists, while also recalling experiences of my personal history. The images describe a state of mind and a landscape of memory, hinting at narrative.

Italy is a primary source for me, (from Caravaggio to Antonioni) and returning there to extend my series of portraits would provide an opportunity to work in locations charged with meaningful associations. Being able to spend a year in Rome concentrating on this series, researching locations and identifying subjects, would be a hugely inspiring opportunity.

Joseph H. Hazen Rome Prize

Beverly McIver

Artist, Durham, North Carolina
Esbenshade Professor of the Practice, Department Art, Art History and Visual Arts, Duke University
Impact of Place

I want to study Italy’s museums, culture, and social structure regarding marginalized people. As an African American woman who grew up in the American south and has always lived in the margin socially and economically, I hope to embrace a new self in Rome and discover a new sense of place that is less discriminatory than my American south.