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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Matthew Ellis & Steve Parker

Monday, May 3, 2021–6:00 PM
AAR Zoom
Central European Time
Rome, Italy
Color photograph of a boy listening to a sculptural creation made of repurposed tubas

Steve Parker, War Tuba, 2017, reclaimed brass, steel, and vinyl tubing, 7 x 4 x 4 ft. (photograph by Philip Rogers)

Matthew H. Ellis
Mobility and Modern Italian Citizenship: Lessons from Italy’s Colonial Past

Within a mere three decades of its unification as a modern nation-state in 1861, Italy expanded overseas and acquired its first colonial possessions (in the Eastern horn of Africa). By the end of Mussolini’s second decade in power, in 1942, the Italian empire now encompassed territories comprising modern-day Eritrea, Somalia, Ethiopia, Libya, the Dodecanese Islands, as well as Albania and other parts of the former Yugoslavia. This made the Italian government sovereign over around ten million Africans, in addition to thirteen million Europeans.

How did the Italian government view these diverse and far-flung populations under its sovereignty? How did it keep track of them, and how did it seek to define and legislate different criteria and norms for membership in this expansive Italian political community? In his talk, Matthew H. Ellis will address these questions by sharing some preliminary findings from his research into Italian colonialism in Libya—in particular, the ways the Italian colonial government responded to the challenge of Libyan mobility, as tens if not hundreds of thousands of Libyans fled Italian rule and took refuge in neighboring countries such as Tunisia and Egypt. In what ways did the mobility of Libyans in the Italian colonial era stretch the bounds of Italianness? And how might such lessons from the colonial period help us understand the relationship between mobility and Italian national identity today?

Matthew H. Ellis is the Paul Mellon/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Rome Prize Fellow in Modern Italian Studies and professor in the Department of History at Sarah Lawrence College.

Steve Parker
Performative Listening

“I have nothing to say and I am saying it.”
John Cage, Silence

“Walk so silently that the bottoms of your feet become ears.”
Pauline Oliveros, Sonic Meditations

“Yeah.”
“Yeah.”
“Yeah”
“Yeah.”
“Yeah.”
“Yeah.”
“Yeah.”
“Yeah.”
“Yeah.”
“Yeah.”
Marshawn Lynch, post-game interview, 11/23/14

Steve Parker is the Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon Polsky Rome Prize Fellow in Design. He is a lecturer in the College of Liberal and Fine Arts at the University of Texas at San Antonio and curator of SoundSpace at the Blanton Museum of Art.

The shoptalks will be held in English.

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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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Rebecca Levitan & Katy Barkan

Monday, April 12, 2021–6:00 PM
AAR Zoom
Central European Time
Rome, Italy
Color photographs of an architectural installation of temporary white walls and low, angled red-carpet-covered platforms and ramps

Installation view of Katy Barkan’s 2019 exhibition Superposition at UCLA Perloff Gallery (image © Joshua White Photography)

Rebecca Levitan
The Pasquino Group: A Speaking Statue across Time

Rebecca Levitan’s dissertation uses an ancient sculptural type known as the Pasquino Group as a case study to examine how the changing inhabitants of Rome mobilized a single monument over a period spanning two millennia. The composition of the Pasquino Group, which depicts the recovery of a fallen warrior from behind enemy lines, derives from Homeric Epic. But this is only the beginning of its story.

In this talk, Levitan will provide a brief overview of the history of the Pasquino Group in Italy, beginning with the presence of several marble copies of the statue in elite Roman collections including Imperial villas. She will then review how one fragmentary copy of the ancient sculpture took on the role of “Speaking Statue” in the sixteenth century—a living tradition that continues to this day in the Parione district of Rome. Finally, the talk will survey recent interventions to the Pasquino statue responding to events including the COVID-19 pandemic, and ask what this ancient statue can tell us about the collective power of monuments in our present moment.

Rebecca Levitan is the Samuel H. Kress Foundation/Emeline Hill Richardson Rome Prize Fellow in ancient studies and a PhD candidate in the Department of the History of Art at the University of California, Berkeley.

Katy Barkan
Big Small Thing/Small Big Thing and Other Uncertainties

If obelisks belong to architecture at all, dominant understanding frames them as essentializing abstractions—at once inscrutable and symbolic. But what does this certitude collapse? Upon closer investigation, these peripatetic monuments belong to many more histories and epistemologies than their singular and repeated form suggests, providing a rich ground for an alternative set of speculations on form and monumentality. Learning from these strange objects and their relation to the ever-changing city around them, this talk will extend Katy Barkan’s research on uncertainty and point to alternative postures and attitudes to architecture, monumentality, and the city.

Katy Barkan is the Rome Prize Fellow in Architecture and a lecturer in the Department of Architecture and Urban Design at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The shoptalks will be held in English.

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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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Anna Dumont & Sara Enrico

Monday, March 22, 2021–6:00 PM
AAR Zoom
Central European Time
Rome, Italy
Color photograph showing the installation of a fabric sculpture and two wall panels by Sara Enrico in a brightly lit museum room interior

Installation view of Sara Enrico’s 2019 exhibition The Jumpsuit Theme at Museo d’arte moderna e contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto (photograph by Alessandro Nassiri)

Anna Dumont
Art, Craft, Industry, Housework: Gendered Labor and Italian Textile Production, 1870–1945

As Italian society was remade by industrialization and national unification in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the question of what kind of work women were doing as they produced lace, woven fabrics, carpets, and tapestries became a consistent preoccupation of critics, artists, politicians, and activists. At the cutting edge of aesthetic modernity, and economically crucial to the fledgling Italian state, textile work emerged as a paradigmatic form of women’s labor. This talk presents work in progress, tracing debates over what kind of work women making textiles were doing, from the post-unification lace revival in Venice and Bologna to Fascist interventions in the textile industry during the ventennio of the twenties and thirties.

Anna Dumont is the Lily Auchincloss Rome Prize Fellow in Modern Italian Studies and a PhD candidate in the Department of Art History at Northwestern University.

Sara Enrico
Drape, Draped, Draping

Drape, Draped, Draping plays around different declinations of a term, as an open action to investigate the multiplicity and intertwine of semantic effects, from certain pictorial paradigms to considering the fold as a generative tool, in the relation between the surfaces and their contexts.

Sara Enrico’s work examines the concept of “weaving” in the material and figurative planes, and as a conceptual process, such as the combination and translation of different media. She observes the connections between the body, clothing, and space through experimentation with textile or industrial materials and through manual and digital processes. As a physical and linguistic system, her work interprets reality by experiencing “tactile proximity.”

The Turin-based artist Sara Enrico is the Fondazione Sviluppo e Crescita CRT Italian Fellow in Visual Arts and a lecturer in the Department of Painting/Visual Arts at the Academy of Fine Art in Bergamo.

The shoptalks will be held in English.

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