Bodies of Knowledge

CAA Annual Conference – Key Sets: Photographic Collections and Visual Art

Wednesday, February 3, 2016–12:30 PM
Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel
2660 Woodley Road NW
Washington, DC
United States
College Art Association (CAA) Annual Conference 2016

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

The American Academy in Rome is pleased to announce its inaugural panel session at the 2016 College Art Association (CAA) Annual Conference in Washington, DC: “Key Sets: Photographic Collections and Visual Art,” on Wednesday, February 3.

In 1949, Georgia O’Keeffe donated to the National Gallery of Art a collection of photographs taken by her husband, Alfred Stieglitz, a champion of photography as a modern art. Stieglitz had selected the prints before his death in 1946; O’Keeffe spent the next three years organizing them with equal care. The result was the “key set”: a photographic collection representing the cream of Stieglitz’s art. Today, the “key set” has not only determined the artist’s legacy, but also laid the groundwork for the National Gallery’s photography collection and informed our understanding of photography and art as disciplines.

Sponsored by the American Academy in Rome, this session uses the “key set” as a springboard to consider how photographic collections shape our thinking about art. How do the formation, scope, and structure of photographic collections reveal the values of the people who comprised them? How does their format—album, archive, or museum collection—impact our assessment of photography with regard to national identity, or artistic criteria? Extending the Academy's humanities scholarship from Rome to the United States, the panel will address these issues as part of the Academy’s 2015–16 programming series, Bodies of Knowledge, which investigates how the organization of information impacts the structure of disciplines from ancient to modern.

Session Chair

Lindsay Harris (2014 Fellow), Andrew W. Mellon Professor, School of Classical Studies, American Academy in Rome

Session Participants

Sarah Greenough, Senior Curator of Photographs, National Gallery of Art
Robert Slifkin, Assistant Professor of Fine Arts, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University
Beth Saunders (2013 Fellow), Curatorial Assistant, Department of Photographs, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Panel Session Information

Wednesday, February 3, 12:30–2:00 pm
Washington 6, Exhibition Level
Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel
2660 Woodley Road NW
Washington, DC

To attend the session, please register for CAA at http://conference.collegeart.org/about/

Michael Bierut & Domitilla Dardi – How to Use Graphic Design to Transform Organizations, Institutions, and Lives

Wednesday, March 23, 2016–6:00 PM
MAXXI
Piazza Antonio Mancini, 55
Rome, Italy
Michael Bierut, with Domitilla Dardi – How to use graphic design to transform organizations, institutions, and lives

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

The exhibition Transformers, currently on view at the MAXXI, presents work by four artists who mine the overlapping territory of art and design to create platforms for social change and collective consciousness. As a partner in the New York office of the international design consultancy Pentagram, Michael Bierut has spent the last thirty-five years exploring the ways that graphic design affects the way we determine our identities, communicate with each other, and understand the world. His presentation will provide a behind-the-scenes look at some of his most interesting projects. In this conversation, he will speak with MAXXI curator of design Domitilla Dardi about his new monograph, How to use graphic design to sell things, explain things, make things look better, make people laugh, make people cry and (every once in a while) change the world, published in 2015 by Thames and Hudson and Harper Collins. Bierut is also a senior critic in graphic design at the Yale School of Art. He is the winner of hundreds of design awards, including the profession’s highest honor, the AIGA Medal. In 2002, he founded Design Observer, a blog of design and cultural criticism: today the site is the largest design publication in the world with over a million site visits a month.

Michael Bierut is the Henry Wolf Graphic Designer in Residence at the American Academy in Rome in the spring 2016.

This conversation will take place in English.

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

Friday, December 4–Saturday, December 5, 2015

AAR Gallery
Via Angelo Masina, 5
Rome, Italy
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.

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

Wednesday, April 13, 2016 10:00 AM–6:00 PM
Istituto Nazionale per la Grafica
Via della Stamperia, 6
Rome, Italy
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.

Nicholas Cullinan – Cy Twombly: Rewriting History

Friday, November 20, 2015–6:00 PM
AAR Lecture Room
Via Angelo Masina, 5
Rome, Italy
Nicholas Cullinan - Cy Twombly: Rewriting History

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

The lecture will consider the revivification of the past, whether it be history or myth, in Cy Twombly’s paintings, drawings, sculpture and photography.

Nicholas Cullinan is director of the National Portrait Gallery in London. He was previously curator of modern and contemporary art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and curator of international modern art at Tate Modern in London, where he curated, with Nicholas Serota, the 2008 exhibition Cy Twombly: Cycles and Seasons. In 2011 Cullinan organized the exhibition Twombly and Poussin: Arcadian Painters at Dulwich Picture Gallery in London. He has lectured and published widely on Twombly.

The event will be held in English. You can watch it live at https://livestream.com/aarome.

The exhibition Cy Twombly, Photographer can be visited the same evening from 4pm to 7pm in the Gallery of the American Academy in Rome.

Photographic Archives and Contemporary Art: Investigation, Interpretation, Inspiration

Tuesday, December 1, 2015 10:00 AM–7:00 PM
AAR Lecture Room
Via Angelo Masina, 5
Rome, Italy
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.

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

Thursday, December 10, 2015–6:00 PM
Bibliotheca Hertziana, Max Planck Institute for Art History
Via Gregoriana, 28
Rome, Italy
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).

Regias Revisited

Monday, October 26, 2015 2:30 PM–7:00 PM
AAR Lecture Room
Via Angelo Masina, 5
Rome, Italy
Regias Revisited

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

In the first half of the twentieth century, excavations by G. Boni and F. Brown at the site of the Regia in Rome, between the Forum and the Palatine, revealed an archaeological sequence of extraordinary complexity and importance. Continuously built and rebuilt in lavish monumental style from the Archaic period to the Imperial one, this small building clearly had a great significance in the sacred and political topography of Rome. Since recent discoveries at Gabii have offered a unique opportunity to contextualize and better understand the remains in Rome, a new phase in the study of Regias has clearly begun. Thanks to a collaboration between the American Academy in Rome, the Università della Calabria, and the University of Michigan, a full reconsideration of the site, based on the creation of a digital model and a stratigraphic archive, has been under way since 2014. The Regias Revisited conference will offer an opportunity to present the state of the work in Rome and at Gabii and will stimulate a broad debate on the crucial evidence these sites have produced.

Speakers include Paolo Brocato, Elizabetta Carnabuci, Marco Fabbri, Darby Scott, Nicola Terrenato, and Mauro Torelli. Presentations will be given in Italian and English.

The conference organizers are Nicola Terrenato and Paolo Brocato.

Cy Twombly, Photographer

Wednesday, October 7–Sunday, November 22, 2015

AAR Gallery
Via Angelo Masina, 5
Rome, Italy
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

Sally Mann – Artistic Legacy of Cy Twombly

Wednesday, October 7, 2015–6:00 PM
AAR Lecture Room
Via Angelo Masina, 5
Rome, Italy
Artistic Legacy of Cy Twombly

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

In conjunction with the opening of the exhibition Cy Twombly, Photographer, the celebrated American photographer Sally Mann will read from her acclaimed memoir, the New York Times bestseller Hold Still. Mann uses lyrical prose and startlingly revealing photographs to craft an original form of personal history. In this groundbreaking book, a unique interplay of narrative and image, Mann’s preoccupation with family, race, mortality, and the storied landscape of the American South are revealed as almost genetically predetermined, written into her DNA by the family history that precedes her. In this reading, Mann explores her relationship with Cy Twombly and their shared romance with the American South, specifically their love for the landscapes of their hometown Lexington, Virginia. The reading will be followed by a conversation with curator Peter Benson Miller, Andrew Heiskell Arts Director at the American Academy in Rome.

The event will be held in English. You can watch it live at https://livestream.com/aarome

The exhibition is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 4:00 to 7:00pm until November 22, 2015. The exhibition Cy Twombly, Photographer will open the same evening from 6:00 to 9:00pm in the Gallery of the American Academy in Rome.

Collateral Events

20 November 2015
Nicholas Cullinan – Cy Twombly: Rewriting History
6:30pm, Lecture Room

Subscribe to Bodies of Knowledge