Fellow Shoptalks

Sanford Biggers – Spolia and Future Ethnographies

Monday, May 7, 2018–6:30 PM
AAR Studio 404
Via Angelo Masina, 5
Rome, Italy
Sanford Biggers – Spolia and Future Ethnographies

Sanford Biggers will discuss the politics of materials, process, and display through new works, including a series of bronze and marble sculptures, mixed-media paintings, public installation, set design, and performance.

Biggers is the Harold M. English Rome Prize Fellow in Visual Arts at the American Academy in Rome. He lives and works in New York.

The event will be held in English.

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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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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Elizabeth Rodini – Journeys, and the Afterlife of Things

Wednesday, October 2, 2019–6:30 PM
AAR Lecture Room
Via Angelo Masina, 5
Rome, Italy

Elizabeth Rodini, detail of Street scene, Istanbul, 2018

What can we learn by following the trajectory of a single object? Using a renowned but puzzling Renaissance portrait as the starting point, Elizabeth Rodini will explore how a fragile fifteenth-century painting speaks to a range of contemporary matters, from the politics of preservation to 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. This lecture grows out of her forthcoming book, Gentile Bellini’s Portrait of Sultan Mehmet II: Lives and Afterlives of an Iconic Image (forthcoming from I. B. Tauris and Bloomsbury, 2020).

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

David Ogawa & Helen O’Leary

Monday, April 15, 2019–6:00 PM
AAR Lecture Room
Via Angelo Masina, 5
Rome, Italy

Studio view of a work by Helen O’Leary at the American Academy in Rome (photograph by Giorgio Benni)

David Ogawa
All Visible Facts of Interest to Science or Society

This talk will explore some nineteenth-century photographic albums and portfolios. What can early efforts to organize photographic objects and the images contained within them tell us about the ways the medium was understood, deployed, and instrumentalized? What can they tell us about art-historical and archival practices in the digital age?

David Ogawa is the Terra Foundation Affiliated Fellow in Modern Italian Studies and associate professor of art history in the Department of Visual Arts at Union College.

Helen O’Leary
Safe House- open studio

“The end of art is peace / could be the motto of this frail device,” writes Seamus Heaney in The Harvest Bow, but it is an end that is rarely, if ever, easily attained. In between the identified need and the desired end is a process of some turbulence and disorder, wherein the claims of fracture and disappointment must be accounted for. Helen O’Leary’s work understands the play between a unifying scheme of resolution and its opposite: how art is to be wrestled from difficulty and contest, and how it may still cohere on a surface that is given to peace as much as to beauty.

Helen O’Leary is the Jules Guerin/Harold M. English/Miss Edith Bloom Fund Rome Prize Fellow in Visual Arts and professor of art for the School of Visual Arts at Pennsylvania State University.

The event will be held in English. Watch Ogawa’s presentation live at https://livestream.com/aarome.

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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Terese Wadden & Jennifer Packer

Monday, March 15, 2021–6:00 PM
AAR Zoom
Central European Time
Rome, Italy
Gesturally figurative painting depicting a sitting black man with crossed legs on the left and a French press coffee pot on a table to the right

Jennifer Packer, detail of Untitled, 2018, oil on canvas, 18 x 23⅞ in. (artwork © Jennifer Packer)

Terese Wadden

Investigations both sartorial and material on the streets of Rome. Terese Wadden will provide an overview of what she is doing in Rome, as well as a pocket exploration of the grembiule.

Terese Wadden is the Mark Hampton/Jesse Howard Jr. Rome Prize Fellow in Design and a costume designer based in Brooklyn.

Jennifer Packer
Painting a Body of Loss

“Every true artist knows that art is a weak vehicle for addressing trauma in all its magnitude and yet it is the most durable, the most reliable one we have.”
—Chris Abani

Jennifer Packer’s perennial project focuses on the social, political, and psychological implications of landscape and architecture on conceptions of individual, collective, and national identity. Landscape is utilized here to identify impositions (physical, historical) on our sense of belonging. Packer will discuss her work—and its primary influences over the past decade—in relationship to remembrance, sentimentality, longing, shame, and grief.

Jennifer Packer is the Nancy B. Negley Rome Prize Fellow in Visual Arts and an assistant professor in the Department of Painting at Rhode Island School of Design.

The shoptalk will be held in English.

Video is not available for this event.

Maggie L. Popkin & Katherine Balch

Monday, March 8, 2021–6:00 PM
AAR Zoom
Central European Time
Rome, Italy
Color photograph of a very pale green ancient glass vessel painted with architectural elements, horses, and geometric patterns

Detail of the Populonia Bottle (ca. 275–325), which was likely made as a souvenir, in the collection of the Corning Museum of Glass

Maggie L. Popkin
Reimagining the Roman Empire through Its Sports Souvenirs

Although often overlooked by scholars in favor of more monumental art and architecture, souvenirs of places, people, and events from the Roman Empire played a critical role in shaping shared memory and knowledge and constructing imagined cultural affinities. This talk presents work in progress about ancient souvenirs and material popular culture related to Roman circus racing and gladiatorial combat. In many ways the equivalent of modern sports merchandise, these seemingly ordinary objects illuminate perceptions of athletes in antiquity, emerge as technologies of power that structured social relationships both in and out of Rome, and cause us to rethink the role of Rome in the popular imagination.

Maggie L. Popkin is the Andrew Heiskell Rome Prize Fellow in Ancient Studies and Robson Junior Professor, Associate Professor, in the Department of Art History and Art at Case Western Reserve University.

Katherine Balch
Play Time: Found Objects and Explorations of Process in My Recent Work

For her shoptalk, Katherine Balch will share a bit about her recent compositional process, with particular attention to the role of “found sounds” in her work. Her interactions with quotidian objects—thimbles, chopsticks, aluminum cans, plastic bags, gravel, you name it—increasingly inform the sonic gestures and textures she imagines, then try to write down. In this way, her work resonates with composer John Cage’s query: “What is the purpose of writing music? One is, of course, not dealing with purposes but dealing with sounds. Or the answer must take the form of a paradox: a purposeful purposeless or a purposeless play. This play, however, is an affirmation of life—not an attempt to bring order out of chaos nor to suggest improvements in creation, but simply a way of waking up to the very life we’re living, which is so excellent once one gets one’s mind and one’s desires out of its way and lets it act of its own accord.”

Katherine Balch is the Elliott Carter Rome Prize Fellow in Musical Composition and a composer based in New York.

The shoptalks will be held in English.

Video is not available for this event.

Jean Dommermuth

Monday, February 15, 2021–6:00 PM
AAR Zoom
Central European Time
Rome, Italy
Palazzo Ricasoli in Florence with the design for the Medici wedding of 1565

Palazzo Ricasoli in Florence with the design for the wedding in 1565 of Francesco I de’Medici and Joanna of Austria

Jean Dommermuth
“Queste cose non durabili che passarono com’ un ombra”

During her time in Rome, Jean Dommermuth is conducting research on sixteenth-century Florentine paintings created on canvas rather than the more typical support—wooden panel. She hopes to find and recontextualize works that were not originally conceived of as independent paintings but rather as parts of elaborate, multimedia productions created for entries, weddings, and funerals of the ruling elite. Created as ephemera, few examples are known to have survived. Direct visual examination provides vital evidence about scale and texture indicative of original construction and later alterations. This is not about sophisticated analytical techniques but rather just really looking and thinking about materials.

Jean Dommermuth is the Suzanne Deal Booth Rome Prize Fellow in Historic Preservation and Conservation, a lecturer for the Conservation Center at New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts, and conservator for ArtCare, based in New York.

The shoptalk will be held in English.

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Carla Keyvanian & David Serlin

Monday, January 25, 2021–6:00 PM
AAR Zoom
Central European Time
Rome, Italy
Color photograph of the facade of an abandoned, crumbling early-twentieth-century hospital administration building, with an overcast sky

Original administration building (abandoned) for the Progetto Ophelia, ca. 2018

Carla Keyvanian
The Hospital of Santo Spirito in Sassia in Renaissance Rome: Architecture, Antiquarianism, and a Modern Notion of History

This talk focuses on a fifteenth-century building that has been overlooked by modern scholarship because its architect is unknown and it does not fit within current notions of “Renaissance architecture.” Carla Keyvanian offers a close reading of the architecture to reveal the extraordinary set of correspondences that tie together the architectural, structural, and ornamental schemes of the building. She suggests the designer was one of the most important humanist-architects of the period, who displayed in the architecture the link between the study of ancient ruins and the development of a new understanding of history based on material evidence.

Carla Keyvanian is the National Endowment for the Humanities/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Post-Doctoral Rome Prize in Renaissance and Early Modern Studies and professor in the School of Architecture at Auburn University.

David Serlin
Discovering the Progetto Ophelia: Toward a Genealogy of Empathic Hospital Design

The Progetto Ophelia, a residential psychiatric hospital in Potenza designed in 1905 by Marcello Piacentini, was (and remains) remarkable for its innovative use of light, smell, sound, and tactility as experiential adjuncts to the hospital’s goals of rehabilitation and long-term care. One could argue, however, that the Progetto Ophelia was part of an emergent movement within late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century hospital architecture that used sensory design elements as a form of empathic attunement to the needs of its patients. This short talk will situate this very early work by Piacentini (whose career took an unexpected turn when he became the central architect of Fascist Italy under Mussolini), among related examples drawn from the first decades of the twentieth century. Like the Progetto Ophelia, these examples not only pioneered forms of architectural empathy but challenge conventional histories of the modern hospital as institutions of hostile medicalization or else benign neglect.

David Serlin is the Arnold W. Brunner/Katherine Edwards Gordon/Frances Barker Tracy Rome Prize Fellow in Architecture and associate professor in the Department of Communication at University of California, San Diego.

The shoptalks will be held in English.

 

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