An open experimental laboratory is the primary idea driving the American Academy in Rome’s recently opened Cinque Mostre 2015, a vibrant and multilayered exhibition that runs through March 1, 2015. The exhibition’s January 29 opening attracted more than eight hundred visitors.
Installed at various locations throughout the Academy’s McKim, Mead & White Building, Cinque Mostre 2015 features the individual and collaborative work of current Rome Prize Winners and Italian Fellows, together with several international nonresident artists. Collectively, their different modes of expression showcased the strength and diversity of today’s contemporary art world.
“Cinque Mostre offers a broad range of the artistic activity underway at the Academy gathered in the dynamic context of a rigorously curated exhibition,” said Peter Benson Miller, the Academy’s Andrew Heiskell Arts Director, at the opening. “It is an excellent catalyst for further exchange and dialogue between artists, designers, landscape architects, scholars, curators, here and beyond the Gianicolo.”
Cinque Mostre also features a guest-curated project, Milk Revolution, compiled by Ilaria Marotta and Andrea Baccin of the Rome-based curatorial collective CURA. The multifaceted Milk Revolution includes the works of eighteen artists—Fellows included—who use a variety of organic and inorganic materials to present concepts such as transformation and metamorphosis. The curators were inspired by a photograph taken by the Beat poet Allen Ginsberg of his friend Harry Smith as the latter attempted to perform an impossible alchemical operation: turning milk into milk.
The highlights include: Abinadi Meza’s installation Delay in Glass, which amplifies the sound of snowflakes on vibrating glass sheets; Corin Hewitt’s Sausage Sticks, sausages stuffed with a mixture of gelatin and chopped-up photographs that are skewered on two selfie sticks; Cynthia Madansky’s Untitled Series of four paintings that focus on recurrence, color, and intimacy; Carin Goldberg’s Blue Lararium, a composition of objects, including water samples, collected in small vials, inspired by household shrines; Francesca Grilli’s Gold Revolution, in which two falcons fly freely within the Linda Bettman Reference Room in the Academy’s library, creating a disturbing and uncertain environment; while Adam Kuby’s Ikea Chair, placed in the courtyard, captures the essence of transformation and gradual disintegration. The invited artist Tomaso De Luca, inspired by the Paul Manship fountain in the Cortile, created a video of his homoerotic doodling, like a bored and distracted student, in the margins of the pages of a catalogue of Manship’s work.
Cinque Mostre’s other works include the collaborative performance and installation Material Narratives, in which Anna Serotta, Adam Kuby, Krys Lee, and Liz Moore explore the interpretation of fragmentary material culture; Satellites, with Firat Erdim and Olivia Valentine, brings together the documentation of performances from two distant terrains; Dislodging the Silence: Public Art Intervening in Mussolini’s Foro Italico, curated by Max Page (2013 Fellow) and featuring artists Francesco Arena, Lorenzo Romito and the Stalker collective, Dario Scaravelli and the Startt group, Renata Stih and Frieder Schnock, Stefano Canto and Cynthia Madansky, which proposes ideas for public art interventions for the Fascist propaganda site at Foro Italico; A Roma, with Daniel Phillips and Kim Karlsrud, reexamines the Eternal City’s iconic monuments in an alternative way that takes living material from three sites and distills them to extract and interpret each place as a unique essence that can be experienced through smell; Prex Gemina, with Paula Matthusen and Lakshmi Ramgopal, uses sound to explore the Christian catacombs, the silence of these undergrounds spaces and martyred female figures.
“Collaborations like this are emblematic of AAR’s efforts to create synergies with the broader community,” stated Miller. “We believe that an Academy should be open and daring.”
Cinque Mostre 2015 is open to the public on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 4:00 to 7:00 pm