Bodies of Knowledge

Photographic Archives and Contemporary Art: Investigation, Interpretation, Inspiration

martedì 1 dicembre 2015 10:00–19:00
AAR Lecture Room
Via Angelo Masina, 5
Rome, Italia
Photographic Archives and Contemporary Art: Investigation, Interpretation, Inspiration

This event is part of the New Work in the Arts & Humanities: Bodies of Knowledge series.

Photographic archives play a fundamental role in contemporary art. They complement an artist’s work in other media, document an artist’s creative process or personal history, offer a visual record of a museum, gallery, or publication, or inspire artists to make new work based on the archive itself. Until recently, scholars tended to view such collections as secondary material. Yet as institutional and private collections become newly available, photographic archives are sparking profound shifts in our understanding of art and its fortune in the second half of the twentieth century. This is particularly true in Italy, where during the economic boom of the 1950s, artists, critics, and curators alike took up photography to document and shape their understanding of Italy’s rapidly changing culture and art’s role in it.

Organized by the American Academy in Rome in collaboration with Dipartimento degli Studi Umanistici di Roma Tre, this one-day workshop offers scholars and artists a forum to share and discuss work-in-progress that considers how photographic archives generate new ways of thinking about contemporary art. The workshop will provide a springboard for a major public conference on photographic archives and contemporary art to be held in spring 2016.

Presentations will be in English and Italian. Participation is by invitation only.

Photographic Archives and Contemporary Art in Italy: Investigation, Interpretation, Inspiration

mercoledì 13 aprile 2016 10:00–18:00
Istituto Nazionale per la Grafica
Via della Stamperia, 6
Roma, Italia
Photographic Archives and Contemporary Art in Italy: Investigation, Interpretation, Inspiration

This event is part of the New Work in the Arts & Humanities: Bodies of Knowledge series.

Photography in the postwar period became an essential element of visual experimentation in its dual capacity as both a component of and a vehicle for the work of art. If today the use of photography within the artistic field and the photographic documentation of the work of art constitute solid areas of research, little attention has been given to the photographic archives themselves as sources for the study of contemporary art. The photographic archive should in fact be considered not merely as a collection of anonymous information or pictures, but as a complex body, defined by the visual cultures of diverse subjects (artists, professional photographers, gallery photographers, etc), characterized by a problematic heterogeneity of documents (negatives, proofs, prints, annotations, correspondence, bibliographic materials), and organized materially according to variable logics of production and circulation.

The conference intends to present and discuss research on the photographic archives of artists and photographers that documented artistic practice in Italy from the 1960s to the 1980s, with particular regard to the context of production, collection, and circulation of photographs. As opposed to the fetishization of a single authored snapshot, particular focus will be given to studies that recuperate the place of images within an originating series, that reconstruct the reasons for its extraction and that analyze the reuse of photographs in either the linguistics of the artist’s montage or in their diffusion within various editorial contexts.

By way of a suitable number of case studies the conference therefore proposes to clarify the avenues by which some artworks or events, as determined by the selective reproduction and entrance into history of their image, become icons of contemporaneity. It aims to restore to such works the complexity and visual stratification that have accompanied their genesis and use by reconstructing the contexts that witnessed the elaboration of new styles and by redefining the professional identities of the artist and the photographer and the interchange between them.

Organized by the Department of Humanities at Roma Tre University, the American Academy in Rome, and Rome’s Istituto Centrale per la Grafica, the conference will take place over the course of two days. Presentations will be organized into three distinct sessions dedicated to questions of methodology in the study of photographic archives, to artistic culture in Rome between 1960-1980, and to analogous stylistic and chronological practices in diverse geographic contexts.

Conference Location:
Istituto Centrale per la Grafica, Sala Dante
entrance through Palazzo Poli, Via Poli, 54
- Backpacks and luggage with dimensions larger than cm 40x35x15 (inches 16x14x6) are not permitted on the property. There are no locker facilities available.

Papers will be presented in English and Italian.

Conference organizing committee: Barbara Cinelli (Università Roma Tre), Antonello Frongia (Università Roma Tre), Maria Antonella Fusco (Istituto Centrale per la Grafica, Roma), Lindsay Harris (American Academy in Rome), Laura Iamurri (Università Roma Tre).

Conference collaborators:
Dipartimento degli Studi Umanistici di Roma Tre
Istituto Centrale per la Grafica

Contact sheet of photographs taken by Plinio De Martiis, gallerist of La Tartaruga, and published in the gallery's magazine, Catalogo (1963). The photographs document the inauguration of an exhibition of work by Gianfranco Baruchello and Marcel Duchamp.

Cy Twombly, Photographer

mercoledì 7 ottobre 2015 18:00–domenica 22 novembre 2015 19:00
AAR Gallery
Via Angelo Masina, 5
Roma, Italia
Cy Twombly Photographer

The first retrospective in Italy of photographs by the renowned American artist and long-time Rome resident Cy Twombly, this focused exhibition features work spanning over fifty years. Principally known for his paintings and sculpture, Twombly found in photography a medium equally suited to his thoughtful eye. The photographic archive maintained by the Nicola Del Roscio Foundation, from which the selection for this exhibition is drawn, provides unique perspective upon the varied interests and transatlantic career of one of the twentieth century’s most revered artists.

Standing on their own as indelibly evocative and poetic compositions, Twombly’s photographs nonetheless also offer valuable insight into his creative mind and the private realm of his studio. Recording observations of the artist’s own paintings and sculpture in various stages of completion, they scrutinize, too, sometimes from unexpected angles, details of classical sculpture and paintings by other artists. With blurry intensity, Twombly set his photographic sights on still life motifs, including fruit and flowers from the garden in Gaeta overlooking the sea, landscapes, and portraits of friends and family. Drawing out the historical echoes in the artist’s photographs, including subtle references Julia Margaret Cameron’s atmospheric portraits and early photogenic prints by Henry Fox-Talbot, the exhibition aims to show how Twombly’s photographs were related to, but also distinct from his paintings, drawings, and sculpture.

Twombly enjoyed a long association with the American Academy in Rome. A visiting artist in 1980, he also served as Trustee. In 2006, he was awarded the McKim Medal, named for the Academy founder Charles Follen McKim, which the AAR awards annually to an individual whose work and life exemplify creative and intellectual exchange across the arts, scholarship, language, and culture. Twombly also created the distinctive design of the medal. The Italian Fellowship in the Visual Arts, given to a talented emerging Italian artist every year at the culmination of a juried competition, was named in Twombly’s honor. The exhibition of his photographs is not the first to examine a specific aspect of the artist’s career; Cy Twombly: 8 Sculptures, accompanied by a text by Giorgio Agamben, was held in the Academy gallery in 1998.

The exhibition, which runs through November 22, is held in conjunction with Fotografia, the Rome International Photography Festival, and is curated by Peter Benson Miller, Andrew Heiskell Arts Director at the American Academy in Rome. It is organized with the generous support and collaboration of the Fondazione Nicola Del Roscio and the Nicola Del Roscio Archives.

The exhibition is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 4:00 to 7:00pm until November 22, 2015.

Collateral Events

October 7, 2015
Sally Mann – A reading from her memoir Hold Still
6:00pm, AAR Lecture Room

November 20, 2015
Nicholas Cullinan – Cy Twombly: Rewriting History
6:00pm, Lecture Room

On Her Own Terms: The Archaeology of Esther Boise Van Deman

venerdì 4 dicembre 2015 17:00–sabato 5 dicembre 2015 19:00
AAR Gallery
Via Angelo Masina, 5
Roma, Italia
On Her Own Terms: The Archaeology of Esther Boise Van Deman

Detail of Esther Boise Van Deman, Via Traiana (Italy), Ponte Santo Spirito on the stream Buonalbergo, 1914, photographic print, 17 x 21 cm (© American Academy in Rome Photographic Archive)

This event is part of the New Work in the Arts & Humanities: Bodies of Knowledge series.

Esther Boise Van Deman made her way in 1901 from the American Midwest to the Eternal City, where she emerged as the first female archaeologist working alongside pioneers of the discipline, including Giacomo Boni, Christian Hülsen, and Thomas Ashby. As Rome was developing its identity as the new Italian capital, Van Deman actively contributed to the shift in archeology away from its previously antiquarian methods toward a more scientific, systematic approach. Upon her death in 1937 she left to the American Academy an extensive collection of notes, coins, and archaeological artifacts, along with a striking assemblage of photographs. All of these elements in combination create the image of a unique and passionate woman who revolutionized the field of archaeology and made important strides as a photographer.

This exhibition is organized by students from the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies under the supervision of Valentina Follo, Norton Van Buren Archaeological Study Collection Curator. It will be on view on Saturday and Sunday, December 5 and 6, from 4:00 to 7:00pm.

Avinoam Shalem – Passages: Meyer Schapiro’s Early Travels and the United Mediterranean Sea

giovedì 10 dicembre 2015 18:00
Bibliotheca Hertziana, Max Planck Institute for Art History
Via Gregoriana, 28
Rome, Italia
Avinoam Shalem - Passages: Meyer Schapiro's Early Travels and the United Mediterranean Sea

This event is part of the New Work in the Arts & Humanities: Bodies of Knowledge series.

In July 1926, at the age of almost twenty-two, while preparing material for his doctoral thesis on the Romanesque sculpture of the abbey of Moissac in France, Meyer Schapiro traveled along the shores of the Mediterranean. Setting Paris as his point of departure for his several itineraries, Schapiro explored in fifteen months the united medieval world. He visited South France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon and Turkey. Crossing land and sailing across the Mediterranean waters, Schapiro followed the medieval pilgrims’ route. But in fact he was crossing borders of art historians’ disciplines and regional studies categories. “Everything interests me” he said in one of his letters to his fiancé, and added, “I feel as if space is different and the whole world more accessible.”

In this talk, Schapiro’s drawings of the east Mediterranean will be discussed. They illustrate his particular analytic gaze and focus of interest and, more importantly, suggest that a change in mind occurred during these travels, a change that will remain the source of inspirations for the next decades of Schapiro’s scholarly investigations.

Avinoam Shalem is the Lester K. Little Scholar in Residence at the American Academy in Rome in the fall of 2015. He is Riggio Professor of the History of the Arts of Islam at Columbia University.

The talk will be held in English. The event is organized in collaboration with the Bibliotheca Hertziana, Max Planck Institute for Art History Rome, and the Visual Studies - Rome Network (ViStuRN).

Iscriviti a Bodies of Knowledge