Zoom Video

Rome for Soldiers

Friday, June 4, 2021–5:00 PM
AAR Zoom
Central European Time
Rome, Italy
Color photograph of a man in profile, dressed in khaki shirt and shorts, sitting in an urban outdoor location overlooking a Roman plaza and reading a guidebook of Rome

Gunner Smith, an Allied soldier, absorbed in reading Soldier’s Guide to Rome, compiled by Major Ernest T. DeWald of the Monuments and Fine Arts Sub-Commission, on the Pincio Terrazza Belvedere overlooking Piazza del Popolo, June 1944

A Zoom event to commemorate the liberation of Rome on June 4, 1944.

This event brings together several scholars (Corey Brennan, Carlotta Coccoli, and Frederick Whitling) and the voices of eyewitnesses (Ambasciatore Alessandro Cortese De Bosis and Principessa Elettra Marconi) to speak on the new image of Rome as produced for the Allied forces at the moment when the city was liberated. Micro and macro histories are woven together with illustrations of guidebooks produced at the time to create a new mapping of “Rome for Soldiers.”

Concept: Avinoam Shalem, Director of the American Academy in Rome.

Participants: Corey Brennan (1988 Fellow, 2020 Resident), Carlotta Coccoli, and Frederick Whitling.

Also featuring Ambasciatore Alessandro Cortese De Bosis and Principessa Elettra Marconi in prerecorded videos.

This event, to be presented on Zoom, is free and open to the public. The start time is 5:00pm Central European Time (11:00am Eastern Time).

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The City: Traces of Urban Memories

Monday, May 10, 2021–3:00 PM
AAR Zoom
Central European Time
Rome, Italy
A hand-drawn engraved and printed map of Naples by Étienne Du Perac and Antoine Lafréry from 1566

Detail of View/Map of Naples, Étienne Du Perac (designer) and Antoine Lafréry (editor), 1566, 54 x 83 cm

This conference is part of the two-day series “Celebrating the City,” taking place May 10–11. Learn more about “Reading the City | Leggere la città,” the second event in the series.

Cities, like any other forms of human settlements and like works of art, are in constant flux, a process of shaping and reshaping, of being erased, demolished, newly designed, renovated, and preserved. Like a canvas on which marks of artistic activities—lines, scratches, stains of colors, and spots—are visually documented, the urban landscapes accumulate and display through their particular structures, planning, architecture, parks and public monuments, histories of urban creativity, and imagined landscapes of inhabitants. Thus urban spaces could be read through both the plethora of built substances that turns a space into a place and the markers of remembering and forgetting. Sites epitomize durations and changes and embody a sense of time.

This conference gathers several academics and intellectuals to discuss the city as a remembered and constructed entity—an architectural tangible artifact and a product of our thoughts. In its core are the stories and histories of the citizens of cities as reflected, or rather imprinted, on the formation of the city’s urban spaces and its delicate receptive surfaces.

Participants include: architectural historian Esra Akcan (Cornell University); art historian Dario Gamboni (University of Geneva); architectural theoretician and journalist Niklas Maak (FAZ Germany); art historian Tanja Michalsky (Bibliotheca Hertziana Rome); architect Eyal Weizman (Goldsmiths, University of London); and architect Mabel Wilson (Columbia University).

Download a PDF of the event program.

This conference, to be presented on Zoom, is free and open to the public. The start time is 3:00pm Central European Time (9:00am Eastern Time).

The City: Traces of Urban Memories is co-sponsored by the Bibliotheca Hertziana – Max Planck Institute for Art History.

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An Inside Look at AAR Affiliated Excavation Projects

Thursday, May 6, 2021–6:00 PM
AAR Zoom
Central European Time
Rome, Italy
Color photograph of six archaeologists in an excavation site, digging, dusting, and writing

Archaeologists working in the Contrada Agnese Project at Morgantina

In this seminar we take the opportunity to bring participants of three of the AAR Affiliated Archaeological Projects together to present the results of their investigations: excavations at Gabii, Porta Stabia at Pompeii, and Contrada Agnese at Morgantina. Each is in a different stage of progress. Gabii, directed by Nicola Terrenato, is by far the largest and longest running, with its AAR affiliation going back to 2009. The project has already published some results in an innovative new digital format hosted by the University of Michigan. The Porta Stabia Pompeii Project, led by Steven Ellis (2013 Fellow, 2016 Affiliated Fellow), has been running since 2005. Excavations finished in 2018 and the project is currently in publication phase. The Contrada Agnese Project at Morgantina, directed by Alex Walthall (2013 Fellow), began in 2013 and is part of the longstanding American excavations at Morgantina. Each project submits a report to AAR every two years: in this year of COVID-19 they will instead present their reports to a wider audience via Zoom.

Participants from each project will present a twenty-minute paper focusing on the major outcomes of the project and how they affect our understanding of the broader context of the site. After the presentation, a panel consisting of two senior members of each team will discuss goals for the future, the role of new technologies in their projects, and major takeaways for future excavations.

“Gabii Archaeological Project 2009–2020”
Nicola Terrenato, University of Michigan
Laura Banducci, Carleton University

“Publishing the Porta Stabia Excavations at Pompeii”
Steven Ellis, University of Cincinnati
Allison Emmerson (2019 Fellow), Tulane University

“American Excavations at Morgantina: Contrada Agnese Project 2014–2021”
Alex Walthall, University of Texas at Austin
Anne Truetzel, Davidson College

This seminar, to be presented on Zoom, is free and open to the public. Please register in advance. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

The start time of the seminar is 6:00pm Central European Time (12:00 noon Eastern Time). It is being recorded and will be edited and posted on the AAR website at a later date.

This event is sponsored by Flyover Zone: The Virtual Tourism Company.

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Giovanna Silva – Narratives/Relazioni

Monday, November 9, 2020–6:00 PM
AAR Zoom
Central European Time
Rome, Italy
Color photographs of three nuns taking a selfie in front of a Roman fountain

Detail of Giovanna Silva, Rome2020, 2020, color photograph (artwork © Giovanna Silva)

Giovanna Silva is a photographer and publisher. Trained as an architect, she works through travel, exploring cities and their recent histories with her camera. Silva will discuss her books, in particular the series Narratives, which gets its title from the personal narratives of the nineteenth century and is based on her exploration of war-torn places. She is currently working on a volume about Rome, as seen through the walks she took through the city with local resident-guides.

Silva is the 2020 ENEL Foundation Italian Fellow in Architecture, Urban Design, and Landscape Architecture.

This event, to be presented on Zoom and held in English, is free and open to the public. The start time is 6:00pm Central European Time (12:00 noon Eastern Time).

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Avinoam Shalem – The City Objectified: Visual Histories of Withdrawals

Monday, September 14, 2020–6:00 PM
AAR Zoom
Central European Time
Rome, Italy
Detail of a 1588 map by Georg Braun and Frans Hogenberg called "A Bird’s-eye view of Damascus"

Detail of a bird’s-eye view of Damascus, 1588, Georg Braun and Frans Hogenberg, Civitates orbis terrarum (Cologne, 1572–1617)

Like plants and any living creatures, urban centers are born, and gradually grow and even die. We, the citizens living in these cities and metropoles, accept the city we dwell in, as the spatial framework for our movements, acts, and thoughts. Like the sea, the city engulfs and absorbs us. But then, when was the city visually regarded and alongside depicted as a comprehensive and intact entity?

In this short lecture by AAR Director Avinoam Shalem (2016 Resident), the specific and crucial moments of discovering the image of the city as a whole, its wide-ranging skyline, full profile, and clear outer borders, are highlighted. Thus, histories of the formation of distant gazes, which enabled us to capture the city as a whole—as an object of visual desire—are disclosed, and attention is drawn to the implications of these visual withdrawals. Likewise, the sense of detachment is exposed, in which distance moves beyond its denotation of spatial stance and appears as related to the discovery of the historical time.

This lecture, to be presented on Zoom and held in English, is free and open to the public. The start time is 6:00pm Central European Time (12:00 noon Eastern Time).

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Elizabeth Rodini – In and Out of Istanbul: The Cosmopolitan Life of a Peripatetic Portrait

Monday, October 19, 2020–6:00 PM
AAR Zoom
Central European Time
Rome, Italy
Detail of the cover of Elizabeth Rodini's new book on a Gentile Bellini portrait

Detail of the cover of Elizabeth Rodini’s book on Gentile Bellini’s portrait of Sultan Mehmed II

What can we learn by following the trajectory of a single object? Elizabeth Rodini traces Gentile Bellini’s renowned but puzzling portrait of the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II over land and sea and across five hundred years, revealing how a fragile fifteenth-century painting speaks to contemporary matters, from the politics of preservation to the ideologies of imagery and beyond.

Rodini is the Andrew Heiskell Arts Director at the American Academy in Rome. Previous to her arrival at the Academy, she was teaching professor and founding director of the Program in Museums and Society at Johns Hopkins University. Her interests lie at the intersections of historical inquiry and contemporary practice and center on the mobility of objects across time, space, and imagination. Recent work examines the reception of Islamic objects in Venice, museological developments in twentieth-century Paris, and the exhibition of African art in contemporary American museums.

Rodini’s talk grows out of her newly released book, Gentile Bellini’s Portrait of Sultan Mehmed II: Lives and Afterlives of an Iconic Image (London: I. B. Tauris and Bloomsbury, 2020).

This lecture, to be presented on Zoom and held in English, is free and open to the public. The start time is 6:00pm Central European Time (12:00 noon Eastern Time).

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Andreas Scholl & Lynne Lancaster – The Pergamon Panorama in Berlin: Where Tradition and Innovation Converge

Monday, November 2, 2020–6:00 PM
AAR Zoom
Central European Time
Rome, Italy
2020 Conversations - Pergamon Panorama

The Pergamon Panorama at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, with the visitors’ platform as seen from above (photograph by Tom Schulze and © asisi)

Andreas Scholl, director of Antikensammlung Berlin, and Lynne Lancaster (2002 Fellow), Andrew W. Mellon Humanities Professor at the American Academy in Rome, will discuss “The Pergamon Panorama in Berlin: Where Tradition and Innovation Converge.”

Scholl will speak on the Pergamon Panorama in Berlin, a project that takes the nineteenth-century concept of the cyclorama and uses a combination of traditional methods and digital technology to bring it into the twenty-first century to re-create the ancient city of Pergamon. A conversation between Scholl and Lancaster about the project will follow the presentation.

This Conversations/Conversazioni, to be presented on Zoom and held in English, is free and open to the public. The start time is 6:00pm Central European Time (12:00 noon Eastern Time).

The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation is the 2020–21 season sponsor of Conversations/Conversazioni: From the American Academy in Rome.

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Lynne Lancaster – Rome “Urbs Pensilis”: A Hanging City and Its Hanging Gardens

Monday, November 30, 2020–6:00 PM
AAR Zoom
Central European Time
Rome, Italy
Color engraving of the hanging gardens of Semiramis at Babylon

Detail of Philips Galle (after Maarten van Heemskerck), Walls of Babylon, 1572, engraving colored by hand and pasted on parchment album page, 209 x 261 mm (artwork in the public domain; photograph provided by the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam)

Pliny the Elder called Rome an “urbs pensilis,” a hanging city. The expression was clearly a reference to one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the horti pensili or Hanging Gardens of Babylon. In this talk, AAR Humanities Professor Lynne Lancaster (2002 Fellow) will explore how the image of ancient Rome was influenced by the Hellenistic conception of the Seven Wonders of the World by focusing on one of the Wonders: the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

In making his comment, Pliny was referring to a very large drain, the Cloaca Maxima, and the network of underground service tunnels and sewers that supported the city, but Rome also had hanging gardens like the Wonder itself—gardens that were supported from below so that they “floated” over the city. Both the conceptions—the hanging city and the hanging gardens—were expressions of technological feats of engineering, which made Rome the ideal city to host and even to be a Wonder.

This lecture, to be presented on Zoom and held in English, is free and open to the public. The start time is 6:00pm Central European Time (12:00 noon Eastern Time).

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Jorge Otero-Pailos & Sheena Wagstaff – Roots of the City

Thursday, March 11, 2021–12:00 PM
AAR Zoom
Eastern Time
New York, NY
United States
Installation view of Jorge Otero-Pailos’s "The Ethics of Dust" at Westminster Hall in 2016

Installation view of Jorge Otero-Pailos’s The Ethics of Dust at Westminster Hall in 2016, commissioned by Artangel (photograph by Marcus J. Leith)

If art is a vehicle for reframing preservation, what impact could that have on practitioners? Or the public’s attitudes toward preservation as a discipline? This Conversation/Conversazioni will explore the emotive power of place, space, and objects, particularly as they relate to memory, presence, and endurance over time.

Jorge Otero-Pailos is an artist, preservationist, and professor and director of the Historic Preservation Program in the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at Columbia University. Sheena Wagstaff is Leonard A. Lauder Chairman of the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The discussion will be moderated by Elizabeth Rodini, Andrew Heiskell Arts Director at the American Academy in Rome.

This Conversations/Conversazioni, to be presented on Zoom and held in English, is free and open to the public. The start time is 12:00pm Eastern Time (6:00pm Central European Time).

The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation is the 2020–21 season sponsor of Conversations/Conversazioni: From the American Academy in Rome.

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Judith P. Hallett & Stephen Rojcewicz – Thornton Wilder, Lauro de Bosis: Life and Letters at the American Academy in Rome, 1920–21 (with Tappan Wilder and Alessandro Cortese De Bosis)

Tuesday, March 30, 2021–6:00 PM
AAR Zoom
Central European Time
Rome, Italy
Black and white photos from the early 20th century of Thornton Wilder standing in a suit and Lauro de Bosis standing next to an airplane

Thornton Wilder (left) and Lauro de Bosis (right)

Thornton Wilder’s eight months at the American Academy in Rome during 1920 and 1921—where he studied Latin, Italian, and archaeology, interacted with distinguished faculty, and formed a long-lasting friendship with Lauro de Bosis and his family—imprinted classical literature, Italian culture, and archeological metaphors on his creativity. De Bosis’s example as a poet, dramatist, translator, and Hellenist, and his invitation to Thornton to participate in a Plato reading group, strengthened Wilder’s engagement with ancient Greek literature.

Wilder’s fellow students and professors—including Elizabeth Hazelton Haight, Harry Leon, Ralph Van Deman Magoffin, and Walton Brooks McDaniel—bestowed on him a broad Greco-Roman perspective on the classical past, with detailed attention to the private life of the ancients and the role of women. His AAR experience resulted in novels and plays marked by multiple literary and cultural influences that are subtle, intricate, multilayered, often indirect, and integrated with multiple ancient Greek and Roman sources.

Judith P. Hallett is professor emerita of classics at the University of Maryland, College Park, and Stephen Rojcewicz is an independent scholar. Tappan Wilder, nephew of Thornton Wilder, and Alessandro Cortese De Bosis, nephew of Lauro De Bosis, will speak at the end of the presentations.

This lecture, to be presented on Zoom, is free and open to the public. The start time is 6:00pm Central European Time (12:00 noon Eastern Time).

Christina Huemer Lecture

Christina Huemer was the Academy’s first Drue Heinz Librarian (1992–2007) and deeply committed to the many Academy Fellows, Residents, and readers in the Arthur and Janet C. Ross Library. The Christina Huemer Lecture Series was established by Academy Trustee C. Brian Rose in celebration of her devotion to great scholarship and creativity.

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