The Body

The Academic Body

Wednesday, May 22–Saturday, July 13, 2019

McKim, Mead & White Building
Via Angelo Masina, 5
Rome, Italy

This event is part of the series New Work in the Arts and Humanities: The Body.

Featured artists: Sanford Biggers (2018 Fellow), Patricia Cronin (2007 Fellow), Daniel Chester French, Stephen Greene (1954 Fellow), Ann Hamilton (2017 Resident), Lyle Ashton Harris (2001 Fellow), Tom Johnson/Adrienne Kennedy, Sally Mann, Paul Manship (1912 Fellow), Jessie Marino (2019 Fellow), Beverly McIver (2018 Fellow), Ana Mendieta (1984 Fellow), Wangechi Mutu (2019 Resident), Catherine Opie, Stefan Sagmeister (2019 Resident), David Schutter (2016 Fellow), SISSI (2007 Italian Fellow), Giuseppe Stampone (2014 Italian Fellow), Catherine Wagner (2014 Fellow), and Deborah Willis (2019 Resident).

Since the origins of representation, the human body has been a vehicle for a variety of approaches to artistic expression. As a way of imagining the divine, as a site of ideal beauty and ruminations on mortality, or as the contested ground between nature and culture, bodies—and representations of bodies—index culture’s ideas about itself and mark the locus for the questioning and contestation of the human form.

Recently, the body has reemerged as a work in progress, a canvas to be altered, conforming to changing canons of beauty or constantly evolving constructed gender roles. In this capacity, the body as a malleable form has once again taken center stage in cultural debate and artistic expression. As lightning rods for contemporary social issues—including the violence committed against the marginalized, the recognition of transgender individuals, and the replacement of workers by robotics, to name only a few examples—bodies have assumed unprecedented visibility in political discourse.

Mindful of these issues, this exhibition tracks the ways in which the body has been interrogated and transformed in contemporary art from 1894 to the present. As it has evolved from a stalwart of Academic artistic practice to a laboratory for cutting-edge dialogue between critical theory and creative endeavor, the American Academy in Rome (AAR) is uniquely qualified to host an exhibition tracking the changing representations of the body in art and society. In so doing, the institution reflects critically on its own trajectory and enduring relevance. The Academic Body features work by artists affiliated with the AAR (Fellows and Residents) whose work has explored the above themes in provocative ways, as well as artists whose trajectories have intersected meaningfully and critically with Italy and the Academic tradition.

The exhibition is curated by Mark Robbins, President and CEO of the American Academy in Rome, and Peter Benson Miller, Andrew Heiskell Arts Director. It is made possible by the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, the Roy Lichtenstein Artist in Residence Fund, and the Terra Foundation for American Art.

The exhibition is on view from May 23 to July 13, 2019, Thursday through Saturday, 4:00–7:00pm.

Mark Robbins, Patricia Cronin & Stefan Sagmeister – Visible Body

Wednesday, May 22, 2019–6:00 PM
AAR Lecture Room
Via Angelo Masina, 5
Rome, Italy
Conversations - May 22 2019 - Visible Body

Patricia Cronin, Memorial to a Marriage, 2004, bronze, 17 x 53 x 27 in. (43.2 x 134.6 x 68.6 cm). Fuhrman Family Collection, New York (artwork © Patricia Cronin; photograph © National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution)

This event is part of the series New Work in the Arts & Humanities: The Body.

Immediately preceding the opening of the exhibition The Academic Body, which tracks the transformation of the body in art and society from 1894 to the present, Mark Robbins, curator of the exhibition and AAR president and CEO, will speak with two of the artists in the exhibition, Patrica Cronin (2007 Fellow) and Stefan Sagmeiter, current Henry Wolf Graphic Designer in Residence.

The conversation will be held in English.

The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation is the 2018–19 season sponsor of Conversations/Conversazioni: From the American Academy in Rome.

Tom Johnson/Adrienne Kennedy – Life Clings Closest Where Most Hated

Tuesday, May 14, 2019–6:00 PM
AAR Cryptoporticus
Via Angelo Masina, 5
Rome, Italy
Performance - Tom Johnson/Adrienne Kennedy

Tom Johnson, visual study for Loves Clings Closest Where Most Hated, 2019, using page 1 of Adrienne Kennedy’s Frankenstein notebook and a photograph of ice build-up on a US Coast Guard cutter from the Northern Greenland Patrol during World War II

This event is part of the series New Work in the Arts & Humanities: The Body.

Life Clings Closest Where Most Hated
A performance by Tom Johnson based on Adrienne Kennedy’s notes on Frankenstein.

The American Academy in Rome is proud to present the international debut of this collaboration between the celebrated playwright Adrienne Kennedy and the Turin-based American artist Tom Johnson. Inspired by Kennedy’s reading of Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein—a landmark in the development of modern notions about the body, difference, and social alienation—Johnson has created an installation and performance expressly for the exhibition The Academic Body, which opens on May 22.

Kennedy, who was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in 2018, has explored issues of race, kinship, and violence in American society in plays such as Funny House of a Negro, A Movie Star Has to Star in Black and White, and The Alexander Plays. Kennedy draws on mythical, historical, and imaginary figures to delve into the African American experience. As Hilton Als has written in the New Yorker, Kennedy’s women of color “stand on the precipice of disaster, madness or loss.” Funnyhouse of a Negro, which Kennedy completed while living in Rome in 1961, after traveling through Europe and West Africa, premiered in New York and won an Obie Award in 1964. Her distinctive voice was immediately recognized as one of the boldest and most incisive in American theater.

Johnson, whose work encompasses drawing, sculpture, video, and live performance, has explored many of the themes central to Kennedy’s plays. The artist states: “I am interested in analyzing some social taboos, not because I am so brave and strong but because I feel oppressed by them and can imagine that there is a better way to feel. My strategy is very simple. I analyze certain phenomena (racism, the male “gaze,” the psychology of wealth) because I find them in myself.”

Acknowledgments

The event is made possible by the Roy Lichtenstein Artist in Residence Fund, the Robert Mapplethorpe Photographer in Residence Fund, and the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Giuliana Bruno & Alice Friedman – Modern Architecture, Media, and Gender

Wednesday, April 3, 2019–6:00 PM
Villa Aurelia
Largo di Porta S. Pancrazio, 1
Rome, Italy
Conversations - 2019 - Giuliana Bruno and Alice Friedman

Wong Kar-wai, film still from 2046, 2004

This event is part of the series New Work in the Arts & Humanities: The Body.

How does modern architecture construct and “screen” body space? How do material relations show on surfaces, from faces to façades? Discussing the representation of surface space in architecture and media, this conversation, moderated by John Ochsendorf, will touch on walls, screens, masks, and projections, both literal and figurative.

Giuliana Bruno is Emmet Blakeney Gleason Professor of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University and 2019 Louis Kahn Resident in the History of Art at the American Academy in Rome. Alice Friedman is Grace Slack McNeil Professor of American Art at Wellesley College and 2019 Rea S. Hederman Critic in Residence at the American Academy in Rome. John Ochsendorf (2008 Fellow) is Class of 1942 Professor of Architecture and Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and director of the American Academy in Rome.

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

The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation is the 2018–19 season sponsor of Conversations/Conversazioni: From the American Academy in Rome.

Ayad Akhtar & Mark Robbins – The Body Politic

Tuesday, March 19, 2019–6:30 PM
Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice
320 East 43rd Street
Please enter via the 42nd Street entrance
New York, NY
United States
Conversations - 2019 - Ayad Akhtar

Ayad Akhtar’s play JUNK at Lincoln Center Theater in New York (photograph by T. Charles Erickson)

Please join us at the Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice in New York for a Conversations | Conversazioni event featuring the novelist and playwright Ayad Akhtar (2018 Resident) and Mark Robbins, president and CEO of the American Academy in Rome (1997 Fellow).

Akhtar’s debut novel American Dervish (2012) was widely praised, and his play Disgraced won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 2013. His most recent dramatic effort, JUNK, ran for three months at Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theater and was honored with the 2018 Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History.

This event is free and open to the public.

The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation is the 2018–19 season sponsor of Conversations/Conversazioni: From the American Academy in Rome.

The Body and the Road to Justice

Monday, December 10, 2018–7:00 PM
MAXXI
Piazza Antonio Mancini, 55
Rome, Italy
The Body and the Road to Justice

The Body and the Road to Justice
December 5, 2018, 7:00 PM
MAXXI
Via Guido Reni, 4
Rome, Italy

Wangechi Mutu
Artist

Peter Benson Miller
Andrew Heiskell Arts Director, American Academy in Rome

Anne Palopoli
Curator, MAXXI

This event is free to the public.

The Body: Out Front/Hidden/Abstracted

Thursday, October 25, 2018–6:30 PM
Museum of Arts and Design
2 Columbus Circle
New York, NY
United States
The Body: Out Front/Hidden/Abstracted

The Body: Out Front/Hidden/Abstracted
Thursday, October 25, 6:30 PM
Museum of Art and Design
2 Columbus Circle, New York, NY

Please join us in New York City as we kick off the 2018–19 season of Conversations | Conversazioni: From the American Academy in Rome, featuring a panel discussion between the choreographer and dancer Molissa Fenley, the theater and puppet artist Dan Hurlin, and the performance and installation artist Pat Oleszko as they discuss various ways the body is used for expression in performance-based art. Moderating the discussion will be Martin Wechsler, programming consultant for the Joyce Theater.

Dan Hurlin
Theater and Puppet Artist, Sarah Lawrence College (2014 Fellow)

Molissa Fenley
Artistic Director, Molissa Fenley and Company (2008 Fellow)

Pat Oleszko
Artist (1999 Fellow, 2003 Resident)

Martin Wechsler
Moderator, The Joyce Theater, New York

This event is free and open to the public.

Peter Benson Miller – Paolo Gioli: Anthropolaroid

Thursday, September 27, 2018–6:00 PM
Academia Belgica
via Omero, 8
Rome, Italy
Peter Benson Miller - Paolo Gioli

Detail of Paol Gioli, L, 1997, Polaroid 20x24, contact print with phosphorescent film, 75 x 55 cm (artwork © Paolo Gioli)

This event is the inaugural lecture of the 201819 program of the Rome Art History Network.

The Italian artist Paolo Gioli (born in 1942), who studied painting and the nude at the Accademia delle Belle Arti in Venice, has long been preoccupied with the human body. Like his experimental films, which establish “an essential analogy between celluloid and skin as the sensitive interface between the self and the outside world,” Gioli’s Polaroid transfers use the body and its fragments as a means to interrogate photography’s history and theoretical foundations, as well as its dialogue with cinema, printmaking, sculpture, and painting.

Gioli was among the first artists to master Polaroid transfers following the introduction of SX-70 instant film in 1972. Since then, he has produced a wide range of formally complex works with the gelatin and dye layers of Polaroid emulsion. Using handmade pinhole cameras and alternative paper and silk supports, Gioli marries the most elemental procedures of early photography to a sophisticated use of the one-step film created by Edwin Land, cofounder of the Polaroid Corporation.

This talk offers a preview of the themes engaged by the exhibition of the same name opening at the American Academy in Rome on October 11. Both the talk and the exhibition explore the artist’s technical virtuosity with the Polaroid medium as a platform for profound meditations upon the human form and the fractured body politic.

Peter Benson Miller is the Andrew Heiskell Arts Director at the American Academy in Rome.

The lecture will be held in English.

Paolo Gioli & Roberta Valtorta

Thursday, October 11, 2018–6:00 PM
AAR Lecture Room
Via Angelo Masina, 5
Rome, Italy
Paolo Gioli and Roberta Valtorta

Detail of Paolo Gioli, Pugno stenopeico, 1989

This event is part of the series New Work in the Arts & Humanities: The Body.

To inaugurate the exhibition Paolo Gioli: Anthropolaroid, the artist will speak about his work in conversation with the photography critic and historian Roberta Valtorta.

One of the most respected specialists in Italian photography, Valtorta has collaborated with Paolo Gioli for many years. In 1996, Valtorta curated the retrospective dedicated to Gioli’s work held at the Palazzo degli Esposizioni in Rome. Most recently, she contributed an essay to the volume Paolo Gioli, Etruschi Polaroid 1984, published this year by Humboldt Books. Together, the artist and critic will consider Gioli’s representations of the human body, his contemporary dialogue with classical antiquity, and his experimental approach to the Polaroid medium.

Gioli is the Richard Grubman and Caroline Mortimer Photographer-in-Residence at the American Academy in Rome for 2018–19.

Patrick Rumble – Free Films Made Freely: The Experimental Films of Paolo Gioli

Tuesday, October 23, 2018–6:00 PM
AAR Lecture Room
Via Angelo Masina, 5
Rome, Italy
Patrick Rumble – Free Films Made Freely: The Experimental Films of Paolo Gioli

This event is part of the series New Work in the Arts & Humanities: The Body.

Paolo Gioli’s Polaroid transfers, featured in the current exhibition at the American Academy in Rome, are inextricably linked to his output as one of Italy’s most innovative experimental filmmakers. One of the last remaining artists still making film on celluloid, Gioli employs a deconstructive attitude toward motion picture technology and its consumerist culture. Probing the productive dialogue between cinema and photography, Gioli explores the possibilities of these intertwined media with pinhole and camera obscura devices. The results, whether in the form of still or moving images, foreground the human body, desire, and the physical and psychological processes involved in sense perception.

Patrick Rumble, who has called Gioli “the last of the first filmmakers,” is a professor in the Departments of French and Italian, European Studies, and Visual Culture at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. A regular contributor to Artforum magazine, he is the editor of the three DVD box-set Paolo Gioli: The Complete Filmworks (Raro Video USA, 2016).

On this occasion, Rumble will present a selection of the artist’s films ranging in date from 1979 to 2013, discussing the relationship between photography and cinema in Gioli’s work.

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

This screening is held in conjunction with Videocittà, a series of events focusing on cinema and the audiovisual taking place at various venues throughout the city of Rome during the Festival del Cinema from 19 to 28 October 2018.

Paolo Gioli is the Richard Grubman and Caroline Mortimer Photographer-in-Residence at the American Academy in Rome for 2018–19.

The exhibition Paolo Gioli: Anthropolaroid remains on view through 9 December 2018, Friday through Sunday, 4pm - 7pm.

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