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A Starry Night Honoring Paola Antonelli and Luca Guadagnino

June 20, 2019
From left: Mark Robbins, Paola Antonelli, Marva Griffin Whilshire, Luca Guadagnino, Richard LaGravenese, Maria Teresa Venturini Fendi, and John Ochsendorf (photograph by Gerardo Gaetaeni)
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The American Academy in Rome celebrated its fifteenth annual McKim Medal Gala at Villa Aurelia in Rome. Over five hundred guests gathered on June 5 to honor Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator of Design and Architecture at the Museum of Modern Art, along with Luca Guadagnino, the award-winning director and screenwriter whose films include A Bigger Spash, Call Me by Your Name, and Suspiria, with the McKim Medal for their exceptional contributions to the arts.

The sold-out event, led by Gala Chair Maria Teresa Venturini Fendi, began with cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres in the Villa’s famed gardens, before guests were led into the main tent, which included custom-designed chandeliers created by Bob Wilson in collaboration with Slamp Lighting Design, for a sit-down dinner and the medal presentation. The event was opened with remarks by Cary Davis, Chair of the AAR Board of Trustees, who reminded guests that the Academy is neither a museum nor a school, but rather an institution of ideas offering the rare opportunity for artists and scholars to work in Rome. He was followed by Academy President Mark Robbins, who highlighted the impact of AAR’s international and collaborative environment as well as the projects of our Italian and American Fellows. Ms. Fendi reflected on the long-standing bond between Italy and the United States and thanked attendees for supporting the Academy’s mission. After a short film honoring the life of Bernardo Bertolucci, the French actor Louis Garrel gave a personal remembrance of the venerable director, who died last fall.

After dinner, the McKim Medal presentation began with a short film about the careers of each honoree. The medal for Ms. Antonelli was presented by Marva Griffin Wilshire, founder and curator of SaloneSatellite, while Mr. Guadagnino’s was presented by Richard LaGravenese, screenwriter of films such as The Fisher King, The Horse Whisperer, and Behind the Candelabra. An after party, with dessert and dancing, followed in the Villa’s Salone.

This year’s McKim Gala raised nearly $600,000, with proceeds benefiting the Academy’s ongoing public programming in Rome and its continued efforts to nurturing artists and scholars. The primary Patrons for the evening were Moncler SpA and John F. W. Rogers.

Additional corporate support was provided by Fondazione Carla Fendi, Tommy Hilfiger, Bloomberg, Bulgari SpA, Citi, Credit Suisse, Dior, Fendi, Gagosian, Generali, Gianni, Origoni, Grippo, Cappelli & Partners, Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Maire Tecnimont SpA, Maison Valentino, and Open Capital Partners. In addition to the in-kind support provided by Slamp Lighting, the wine for the evening was provided by FIOL and Paolo e Noemia d’Amico Wines.

The McKim Medal was designed for the Academy by Cy Twombly and handcrafted by Delfina Delettrez. Previous honorees include such luminaries as Renzo Piano, Cy Twombly, Umberto Eco, Franco Zeffirelli, Ennio Morricone, Miuccia Prada, Luigi Ontani, Riccardo Muti, Bernardo Bertolucci, Zaha Hadid, Carlo Petrini, Paolo Sorrentino, Patrizia Cavalli, Giorgio Moroder, Dante Ferretti, Francesca Lo Schiavo, Giuseppe Penone, Roberto Benigni, and Sir Antonio Pappano.