East and West

Islamic Art and Architecture in Italy: Between Tradition and Innovation

Friday, May 18, 2018 10:00 AM–6:00 PM
AAR Lecture Room
Via Angelo Masina, 5
Rome, Italy
Islamic Art and Architecture in Italy: Between Tradition and Innovation

This event is part of the series New Work in the Arts & Humanities: East and West.

Gli Arabi in Italia, edited by Francesco Gabrieli and Umberto Scerrato and published in 1979, remains an inescapable, richly illustrated compendium for those interested in the wide variety of objects and monuments linked to Islamic culture in Italy. This conference critically investigates the origins of this influential volume, and the scholarly approaches and assumptions that shaped it, in order to contextualize more recent avenues of inquiry in the field.

Much has changed in the past forty years as scholarship about the Islamic presence in Italy and its legacy has been conditioned by a renewed attention to material culture, on the one hand, and a widespread interest in the Islamic world, on the other. Focusing on the latest methodologies used to analyze the categories of objects documented by Gabrieli, Scerrato and their collaborators—including ceramics, rock crystal, metalwork, and architecture—we can track the ongoing transformation and most up to date findings of this dynamic and multifaceted field. Featuring leading scholars from Italy, the United States and Europe, the conference aims to create a meaningful dialogue between the historiographical tradition culminating in the volume Gli Arabi in Italia and the innovative methods that have emerged since its publication.

The keynote address on May 17 at 6:30pm will be delivered by Avinoam Shalem, the Riggio Professor of the History of the Arts of Islam at Columbia University.

The conference is organized by Peter Benson Miller, Andrew Heiskell Arts Director at the American Academy in Rome, and Silvia Armando, Italian Fellow at the American Academy in Rome in 2017. It is made possible in part by the Embassy of the United States of America to Italy.

The event will be held in English and Italian. Most of the presentations will be streamed live at https://livestream.com/aarome.

COLLATERAL EVENTS

Keynote Lecture
Avinoam Shalem
Through the Backdoor: The Histories of 'Islamic' Art and Architecture in Italy
17 May 2018
6:30pm, Lecture Room

Exhibition
Yto Barrada, The Dye Garden
Thursday–Saturday, 4:00–7:00pm
10 May–8 July 2018

Avinoam Shalem – Through the Backdoor: The Histories of “Islamic” Art and Architecture in Italy

Thursday, May 17, 2018–6:30 PM
AAR Lecture Room
Via Angelo Masina, 5
Rome, Italy
Avinoam Shalem – Through the Backdoor: The Histories of 'Islamic' Art and Architecture in Italy

This event is part of the series New Work in the Arts & Humanities: East and West.

Introducing the main themes of the symposium, Islamic Art and Architecture in Italy: Between Tradition and Innovation, taking place at the American Academy in Rome on 18 May, Avinoam Shalem sets the methodological and historiographic stage for the proceedings.

Mainly discussed as part of European popular culture and being categorized and, to some extent, underestimated as exotica, the oriental carnival of 1886 organized within the neighborhood of the ancient Jewish Ghetto in Florence, located to the south of the present Piazza della Repubblica, serves as the starting point for this lecture. Reconstructed as the “City of Baghdad,” this carnival created a tableau vivant (living picture) of the Orient in the quotidian life of Florence. Its timing, namely shortly after the modern planning of this area as the main open public space at the time that Florence was the capital of the Italian State (between 1865 and 1871) and just before the Ghetto’s demolition, underscores the rapidly falling dusk of “Orientalism” in favor of historicism and national modernism. But it also hints at the long tradition of blurring the borders between Islam and Judaism in the Italian-speaking zone, either deliberately or innocuously. In this lecture the specific choices and cases of linking Judaism and Islam will be discussed in order to suggest a long durèe of alternative “Backdoor History” for understanding the reception of Islamic art and architecture in Italy and for the making of its Image.

Avinoam Shalem is the Riggio Professor of the arts of Islam at the Columbia University. His main field of interest is in medieval artistic interactions in the Mediterranean basin, medieval aesthetic and the historiography of the field of art history. Among his recent publications: Reconstructing the Image of the Prophet in Europe (2013); The Image of the Prophet between Ideal and Ideology: A Scholarly Investigation (with Christiane J. Gruber, 2014); Gazing Otherwise: Modalities of Seeing In and Beyond the Lands of Islam (with Olga Bush, 2015); and The Chasuble of Thomas Beck: A Biography (2017). He cocurated the exhibition The Future of Tradition: The Tradition of Future at the Haus der Kunst, Munich (2010) and is currently directing the research projects When Nature Becomes Ideology: Palestine after 1947. Shalem was a Resident at the American Academy in Rome in 2016.

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

This lecture is made possible in part by the Embassy of the United States of America to Italy.

Collateral Events

Conference
Islamic Art and Architecture in Italy: Between Tradition and Innovation
18 May 2018
10:00am–6:00pm, Lecture Room

Exhibition
Yto Barrada, The Dye Garden
Thursday–Saturday, 4:00–7:00pm
10 May–8 July 2018

Yto Barrada: The Dye Garden

Thursday, May 10–Sunday, July 8, 2018

AAR Gallery
Via Angelo Masina, 5
Rome, Italy
Yto Barrada, The Dye Garden

This exhibition features new work by the acclaimed Franco-Moroccan artist Yto Barrada, who is at the forefront of international artists reconfiguring the models established by the Orientalist tradition and its echoes in modern art. She explores the landscape and culture of North Africa as it was understood and trafficked in the colonial and postcolonial eras. Her work in various media riffs on modernist works by American or European artists who have traveled in or represented Morocco, reinterpreting their canonical abstract motifs through the lens of decorative traditions characteristic of the Maghreb. Playfully subversive, Barrada often approaches serious issues through the self-conscious fake or the medium of children's toys, the means through which insidious ideas were reinforced. In doing so, she undermines both the ideological foundations of the EastWest divide and the mechanisms used to perpetuate it.

Barrada studied history and political science at the Sorbonne and photography in New York. She is the founding director of Cinémathèque de Tanger, dedicated to the circulation and preservation of film in Morocco. Barrada’s work in photography, film, sculpture, prints, and installation began by exploring the peculiar situation of her hometown, Tangier. Her work has been exhibited at Tate Modern (London), the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Renaissance Society (Chicago), Witte de With (Rotterdam), Haus der Kunst (Munich), the Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), Whitechapel Gallery (London), and the 2007 and 2011 Venice Biennale. She was the Deutsche Bank Artist of the Year for 2011. A comprehensive monograph of her work was published by JRP | Ringier in 2013. She is a recipient of the 2013 Robert Gardner Fellowship in Photography from the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University and was awarded the 2015 Abraaj Group Prize for Middle Eastern, North African, and South Asian artists.

Her exhibition Agadir is on view at the Barbican in London through May 20, 2018. Pace Gallery in New York has staged a survey of her work, titled How to Do Nothing with Nobody All Alone by Yourself, that is open until May 5.

Yto Barrada is the Roy Lichtenstein Artist in Residence at the American Academy in Rome. The Dye Garden is curated by Peter Benson Miller, Andrew Heiskell Arts Director at the American Academy in Rome. This exhibition is made possible by the Roy Lichtenstein Artist in Residence Fund and the Embassy of the United States of America to Italy.

Collateral Events

Keynote Lecture
Avinoam Shalem
Through the Backdoor: The Histories of “Islamic” Art and Architecture in Italy
17 May 2018
6:30pm, Lecture Room

Conference
Islamic Art and Architecture in Italy: Between Tradition and Innovation
18 May 2018
10:00am–6:00pm, Lecture Room

Gallery Hours

Thursday–Saturday, 4:00–7:00pm
10 May–8 July 2018

This event is part of the series New Work in the Arts and Humanities: East and West.

Mary Roberts – East of West: Edward Said, Melancholy Time, and the Orientalist Interior

Thursday, March 22, 2018–6:00 PM
Villa Aurelia
Largo di Porta S. Pancrazio, 1
Rome, Italy
Mary Roberts - East of West: Edward Said, Melancholy Time, and the Orientalist Interior

This event is part of the series New Work in the Arts & Humanities: East and West.

Horological inventions such as the marine chronometer (the technological breakthrough enabling accurate global navigation), and the transplantation of metropolitan time marking practices to colonial outposts were a fulcrum of the empire building of European nation states in the nineteenth century. Western progress and its counterpoint, the non-west as a repository of premodernity, were part of the telos of modern colonialism and orientalism. As Edward Said put it in the opening paragraph to his seminal book Orientalism, the Orient of European invention is defeated by time: “its time was over.”

The recent global turn in our discipline resituates European orientalism within a broader, more politically contested cultural geography. It’s a move east of west. How is the temporal logic of modernity differentially articulated across this expanded cultural geography of the visual? Analysing the interiors of two nineteenth-century British orientalist artist-collectors in the imperial capitals of Istanbul and London, and the Islamic and European art displayed there, discloses their entanglements within British, Ottoman, and Sicilian orientalism. In doing so, this lecture reveals the ways the aesthetics of these spaces were inflected by the heterochronicity of Ottoman and European modernity. Focusing on the temporal logic of these sites enables us to elaborate the transcultural and transhistorical complexities of art’s time.

Mary Roberts is John Schaeffer Professor of Art History at the University of Sydney in Australia. She is the author of Istanbul Exchanges: Ottomans, Orientalists, and Nineteenth-Century Visual Culture (Oakland: University of California Press, 2015), which maps patterns of transcultural exchange between Europe and the Ottoman Empire in the nineteenth century. Istanbul Exchanges won the 2016 Art Association of Australia and New Zealand prize for best book and was translated into Turkish that same year. Roberts also wrote Intimate Outsiders: The Harem in Ottoman and Orientalist Art and Travel Literature (Durham: Duke University Press, 2007). Her current book project, Artists as Collectors of Islamic Art, extends her inquiry into the temporality of modernity forged through visual exchange across cultures.

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

Mary Roberts’s lecture, along with the exhibition Yto Barrada, The Dye Garden, opening on May 10, and the international symposium, Islamic Art and Architecture in Italy: Between Tradition and Innovation on May 17-18, are the culminating events of the East and West thematic program at the AAR for 2017-18.

Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim & Nico Muhly – Contrapuntalism

Tuesday, March 6, 2018–6:00 PM
AAR Lecture Room
Via Angelo Masina, 5
Rome, Italy
Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim and Nico Muhly - Contrapuntalism

This event is part of the series New Work in the Arts & Humanities: East and West.

Ever since Edward Saïd, scholars have alerted listeners to the ways in which composers of Western classical music have dipped into other traditions in order to dress up a musical Other with which to converse and compete. This can range from the use of formulaic exotic signifiers to direct quotation, but also includes the more diffuse assimilation of styles, ideas, and genres.

With every successive generation of composers untangling the counterpoint of musical signifiers, our readings of them become more complex: how do we hear, for instance, a twenty-first-century work alluding to Benjamin Britten’s infatuation with Balinese music? And how do composers today negotiate concerns regarding cultural appropriation?

Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim is the Critic in Residence at the American Academy in Rome and music critic for the New York Times. Nico Muhly is the Paul Fromm Composer in Residence at the American Academy in Rome.

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

The Conversations/Conversazioni series is sponsored by the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation.

Ayad Akhtar – The Mythos of Money: An Artist’s Observations of Finance’s Rise to Predominancy in the Twenty-First Century

Wednesday, February 7, 2018–6:30 PM
AAR Lecture Room
Via Angelo Masina, 5
Rome, Italy
Ayad Akhtar – The Mythos of Money: An Artist’s Observations of Finance’s Rise to Predominancy in the Twenty-First Century

A scene from the Lincoln Center Theater production of Junk by Ayad Akhtar (photograph © T. Charles Erickson Photography)

This event is part of the series New Work in the Arts & Humanities: East and West.

In this talk, the Pulitzer Prize–winning writer Ayad Akhtar will discuss generational transformations in the social body at the hands of finance. He will explore the implications (and causes) as the results of shifts in contemporary mythopoesis. Akhtar’s latest play, Junk, which recently concluded its acclaimed run at Lincoln Center in New York, explored the emergence of the United States as a republic of consumers fanned by the greed-driven and unregulated hostile takeovers in the heyday of the junk bond on Wall Street in the 1980s.

Akhtar was born in New York City and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is a novelist and author of American Dervish, published in over twenty languages worldwide. His play Disgraced won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, ran on Broadway at the Lyceum Theatre, and was nominated for the 2015 Tony Award for Best Play. His plays The Who & The What and The Invisible Hand received Off-Broadway runs and are currently being produced around the world, garnering nominations for the Evening Standard and Olivier Awards in London this past year. His most recent play Junk received its world premiere at La Jolla Playhouse in 2016, winning the Craig Noel Award for Best New Play. As a screenwriter, he was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay for The War Within. He is also the recipient of an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, two Obie Awards, a Jeff Award, and the Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award. Akhtar has received fellowships from MacDowell, Djerassi, the Sundance Institute, Ucross, and Yaddo, where he serves as a Board Director. He is also a Board Trustee at PEN/America and New York Theatre Workshop.

Ayad Akhtar is Writer in Residence at the American Academy in Rome.

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

Don DeLillo

Friday, December 15, 2017–6:00 PM
AAR Lecture Room
Via Angelo Masina, 5
Rome, Italy
Don DeLillo - Lecture

This event is part of the series New Work in the Arts & Humanities: East and West.

The keynote address for the conference “P. B. Shelley’s The Revolt of Islam: Texts, Subtexts, Contexts,” organized in collaboration with the Keats-Shelley House, will be given by the celebrated author Don DeLillo, whose novel Falling Man (2007) explores the aftermath of September 11 through the experience of a survivor of the attacks on New York. A postcard sent from Rome—a reproduction of the cover of Shelley’s poem that was purchased at the Keats-Shelley House in Piazza di Spagna—makes an important cameo appearance in the novel.

DeLillo is the American Academy in Rome Writer in Residence in December 2017. The lecture and reading will be held in English.

This event is supported in part by the Embassy of the United States of America to Italy and in part by the Keats-Shelley House.

Mario Cresci & Roberta Valtorta – Photography and Matera

Tuesday, November 21, 2017–6:15 PM
AAR Lecture Room
Via Angelo Masina, 5
Rome, Italy
Mario Cresci and Roberta Valtorta – Photography and Matera

This event is part of the series New Work in the Arts & Humanities: East and West.

A conversation between Mario Cresci, one of the most compelling artists in Italy to explore the contemporary world through photography, and Roberta Valtorta, Founder and former Director of the Museo di Fotografia Contemporane. Taking as its cue the two works by Cresci on view in the Academy’s fall exhibition, Matera Imagined/Matera Immaginata: Photography and a Southern Italian Town, the artist and curator will discuss Cresci’s art, photography as a language, and the key role photography has played in redefining Italian landscape from the 1970s to today.

The event will be held in Italian. You can watch it livestreamed at https://livestream.com/aarome. On this occasion, the exhibition will be open from 5pm to 8pm.

The 2017–18 Conversations/Conversazioni series is sponsored by the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation.

EXHIBITION EVENTS

Inaugural Lecture
Dacia Maraini
12 October 2017
5:30pm, AAR Lecture Room

Exhibition Opening
12 October 2017
6:30pm-9pm, AAR Gallery

Curator Lecture
Lindsay Harris
Matera Imagined
16 October 2017
6:30pm, AAR Lecture Room

Lecture
Emmet Gowin
A Life in Photography
14 November 2017
6:30pm, AAR Lecture Room

GALLERY HOURS

Thursday-Sunday, 4pm-7pm
12 October- 26 November 2017

The exhibition will also be open on 16 October, 14 November and 21 November from 5pm to 8pm.

Lindsay Harris – Matera Imagined/Matera Immaginata: Photography and a Southern Italian Town

Monday, October 16, 2017–6:30 PM
AAR Lecture Room
Via Angelo Masina, 5
Rome, Italy
Lindsay Harris - Matera Imagined/Matera Immaginata: Photography and a Southern Italian Town

This event is part of the series New Work in the Arts & Humanities: East and West.

In the twentieth century, the southern Italian town of Matera has evolved in the collective imagination from an ancient backwater at the edge of civilization to a cultural bellwether for the future of Europe. In the 1940s, following the publication of Italian author Carlo Levi’s best-selling memoir, Christ Stopped at Eboli, Matera became a symbol of southern Italian backwardness. Today, just over a generation later, Matera has emerged as a model of authenticity that will represent Europe as Capital of Culture in 2019. In conjunction with the Academy's fall exhibition, Matera Imagined/Matera Immaginata: Photography and a Southern Italian Town, this talk will explore Matera's recent evolution through photography.

Lindsay Harris is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities at the American Academy in Rome and curator of the exhibition Matera Imagined/Matera Immaginata: Photography and a Southern Italian Town, which is currently on show in the Gallery of the American Academy until 26 November 2017.

The event will be held in English. You can watch it live at https://livestream.com/aarome. On this occasion, the exhibition will be open from 5pm to 8pm.

EXHIBITION EVENTS

Inaugural Lecture
Dacia Maraini
12 October 2017
5:30pm, AAR Lecture Room

Exhibition Opening
12 October 2017
6:30pm-9pm, AAR Gallery

Lecture
Emmet Gowin
A Life in Photography
14 November 2017
6:30pm, AAR Lecture Room

Conversation
Mario Cresco with Roberta Valtorta
Photography and Matera
21 November 2017
6:30pm, AAR Lecture Room

GALLERY HOURS

Thursday-Sunday, 4pm-7pm
12 October- 26 November 2017

The exhibition will also be open on 16 October, 14 November and 21 November from 5pm to 8pm.

Dacia Maraini

Thursday, October 12, 2017–5:30 PM
AAR Lecture Room
Via Angelo Masina, 5
Rome, Italy
Dacia Maraini

This event is part of the series New Work in the Arts & Humanities: East and West.

Dacia Maraini's talk will open the exhibition Matera Imagined/Matera Immaginata: Photography and a Southern Italian.

The celebrated writer, critic, and theater producer Dacia Maraini will discuss her thoughts on writing, travel, Italy, and the South in the context of the Academy’s fall exhibition, Matera Imagined/Matera Immaginata: Photography and a Southern Italian Town. Daughter of Topazia Alliata, a Sicilian princess, and Fosco Maraini, a Tuscan ethnographer and photographer whose images of Matera are featured in the exhibition, Maraini for decades has used literature as a way to explore Italy and its culture with both profound intimacy and intellectual rigor. Her numerous, critically-acclaimed novels and plays have given voice and agency to women of all walks of life. Like her close friend Pier Paolo Pasolini, whose film, The Gospel According to Saint Matthew (1964), was shot in Matera, Maraini often empowers characters in her stories who struggle to find places for themselves in reality. An avid traveler and keen observer, Maraini will share her unique perspectives on southern Italy and its portrayal through the arts.

Seating on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors open at 5pm.

EXHIBITION EVENTS

Exhibition Opening
12 October 2017
6:30pm-9pm AAR Gallery

Curator Lecture
Lindsay Harris
Matera Imagined
16 October 2017
6:30pm, AAR Lecture Room

Lecture
Emmet Gowin
A Life in Photography
14 November 2017
6:30pm, AAR Lecture Room

Conversation
Mario Cresco with Roberta Valtorta
Photography and Matera
21 November 2017
6:30pm, AAR Lecture Room

GALLERY HOURS

Thursday-Sunday, 4pm-7pm
12 October- 26 November 2017

The exhibition will also be open on 16 October, 14 November and 21 November from 5pm to 8pm.

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