Italian Journal volume 20. number 1. Summer 2009
Interview: Paolo Benvenuti . Milanâ€™s Modern Churches . the Art of Giorgio Radicati $5 / 4 euros
Giacamo Puccini. Courtesy Puccini Foundation.
the ancient land from todayâ€™s tuscany to northern latium filled with treasures of antiquity, hot springs, lush landscapes and unforgettable dining. select from a variety of day tours and an overnight package. English, Italian, German and Dutch spoken.
The Italian Academy Foundation, Inc. announces
Lâ€™Aquila Redivivus The IAF Initiative for the Restoration of the damaged portions of the Castle of Celano
Plans for a concert featuring Celano native Nazzareno Carusi are underway to benefit the restoration of
Castello Celano and the Musei delle arte sacre destroyed in the 2009 earthquake
IN THIS ISSUE On the cover: A suit designed by the Futurist artist Balla. See Futurism, page 44.
Claudia Palmira Acunto Editor Laura Giacolone Contributing editor Michael Disabato Editorial Assistant Mauro benedetti Vito Catalano Photography Daniel carr Advertising Director Printed in the United States.
Editor’s journal 5 Foundation News 6 NOTABLE 9 the business of art vs. the business of money 17 Puccini celebrated 24 Opinion: the europe effect on U.S. 30 Executive Optimism 31 Galileo’s “new” telescope 33 Futurism Turns 100 34 Milan’s Modern Churches 49 art: Giorgio Radicati 50 Photography: Hidden Gems 53 of lazio Book Review: Paper fish 55 Social journal 59 Face file: AL Pacino 63
Stefano ACUNTO Chairman The Italian Academy Foundation, Inc. (IAF), established in 1947, is a non-for profit 501©(3), tax-exempt corporation that pursues a unique form of cultural diplomacy, presenting Italian realities to U.S. audiences. The Italian Academy Foundation, Inc. produces concerts, symposia and special events year-round in the United States and Italy.
Hudson Cliff House 131 Alta Avenue Yonkers, NY 10705 914 966 3180 ext.110 via Marcantonio Colonna 60 Rome 00193 +39 06 325 05 490 www.italianjournal.it
Bold call of the futurists
ould Marinetti have appreciated the green laser light beaming down via Del Corso, as if piercing through time itself? Perhaps an anniversary tribute may not have been the preferred way to pass an evening with the Futurists, who despised backward glancing, but Rome’s homage to the 100th anniversary of Futurism was a work of art itself, an expression of contemporary ingenuity that added dimension and flavor to the historical reference. The City’s urban design, the comfortable “human” distances, the ample openness of each piazza, the elegant informality of presentations, lent itself well to the theatrical indoor-outdoor citywide tribute. Indeed, the experiential quality of the celebration, which compelled participants to migrate from one piazza to the next, fit its very inspiration. In many ways, the bold call of the Futurists (read about them on page 36) is an everyday fact in post-modern reality: instant-messaging, high speed jets, filmon-demand, and even low-carb diets, are part of the Futurists’ 100-year-old vision for living. We offer you our first issue of the re-edition of this magazine, presenting Italian cultural realities to an American audience. Enjoy. Claudia Palmira Rome, Italy
L’Aquila ahead Italian Academy foundation offers relief and shelter Following the devastating earthquake in our home province of L’Aquila, supporters of the IAF from all over the world reach out to the Central Italian region, with an eye to join our plan to restore the Castle of Celano
he Italian Academy Foundation, Inc., whose Italian headquarters are in the province of L’Aquila,19 miles from the epicenter of the earthquake, announced that it directed funds through its facility in Bisegna for the accommodation of volunteer workers, for temporary use by victims of the earthquake and for the future housing of students and other volunteers who will work in the earthquake zone for restoration rebuilding efforts. According to Hon. Vice Consul Stefano Acunto, IAF Chairman, the Italian government has recommended that assistance groups will now focus on the restoration efforts that will be needed for almost the entire province: “Since we, by the grace of God, did not suffer other than small building losses, we are able to house individuals to work on the effort and to support the relief in phase one and the rebuilding and restoration in phase two. We are deeply gratified at the outpouring of generosity from Americans of every ethnic descent who have generously contributed funds to the effort.
“We will use funds for rebuilding and restoration efforts require. As we have no administrative costs whatsoever, every penny of every donation will go directly toward the support of those suffering, those assisting them and those undertaking rebuilding and restoration work. We encourage individuals wishing to contribute to send contributions to The Italian Academy Foundation, Inc. Fund for L’Aquila, Box 9001, Mount Vernon, NY 10552.” The Italian Academy Foundation, Inc., established in 1947, is a non-for profit corporation that pursues a unique form of cultural diplomacy, presenting Italian realities to U.S. audiences. The Italian Academy Foundation, Inc. produces concerts, symposia and special events year round throughout the United States and Italy, working with select international charities to use our events for fundraising and awareness efforts. The Italian Academy Foundation maintains headquarters in Rome and in Bisegna, where programs for American students take place each year.
Before and after the quake
L’Aquila: Il Palazzo del Governo/the city hall
L’Aquila: the church Santa Maria del SuffragioSante
The church of Castelnuovo
The church of Sant’Eusanio the earthquake had a magnitude of 6.3 and caused serious damage in the Abruzzo region east of Rome. the beautiful Medieval hill town of L’Aquila was the epicenter. The number of dead from the earthquake is at 283, and the homeless include 28,000. Nearly 11,700 rescue workers are providing emergency relief.
suddenly homeless in l’aquila
Photos courtesy Luisanna Benfatto for Il Sole 24 Ore
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America’s Rome: Artists in the Eternal City, 1800-1900 The Fenimore Art Museum is organizing the first major exhibition on the topic of American artists’ depictions of 19th-century Rome, called America’s Rome: Artists in the Eternal City, 1800-1900. This project, inspired by the important interdisciplinary work of William L. Vance, will be undertaken in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Dr. Vance’s landmark book, America’s Rome. For the past 12 years, independent scholar and art historian John Fuller McGuigan, Jr. and his wife, Mary K. McGuigan, have built on Dr. Vance’s pioneering work by documenting American artists in Italy, particularly Rome. The McGuigan’s original research focuses on artists sketching en plein air in oil in Rome. Mary’s research on the depiction of the figure will be highly important in American, English and European art history. The catalogue that will accompany the exhibition represents the first publication of the McGuigan’s research, prepared in collaboration with Dr. Vance. The exhibition America’s Rome contains approximately 80 paintings and details three themes that run throughout these paintings: The Forum examines Roman politics; The Colosseum examines the Imperial Empire; and The Campagna examines the Roman countryside.
George Inness, Roman Campagna, 1858. oil on canvas. New britain museum of american art.
Fenimore Art Museum in cooperation with the Italian Academy Foundation and the office of the Hon. Vice Consul 5798 State Highway 80, Lake Road, Cooperstown, NY 888.547.1450 www.fenimoreartmuseum.org
Thomas Cole, Interior of the Colosseum, Rome, 1832. Oil on canvas. Albany Institute of History and Art
Notable Armani Fifth Avenue Flagship N
icknamed in Italy “Re Giorgio” (King George), Giorgio Armani now presides on Fifth Avenue, New York City. The impeccable and innovate design of his flagship store reflects the renowned elegance of his brand. Its stunning presence speaks to the designer’s optimism and faith in the American economy to recover. “I believe in New York, and I think this is just a phase,” Armani said. Designed by architects Doriana and Massimiliano Fuksas, the building contains a curved staircase that mimics the architecture of its uptown neighbor, the Guggenheim Museum, and has even been dubbed “Guggenheim 2.” In an acknowledgment of the economic times, Armani pledged one-million dollars to the Fund for Public School, foregoing a lavish gala night dinner as originally planned.
Armani 717 Fifth Ave 212 339 5950
The Armani store nicknamed “guggenheim 2” after its fifth avenue neighbor. Will Femia
Made in Italy, Found in NY Salumeria Rosi 283 Amsterdam Ave. 212 877 4800
Courtesy Mebel photo by Dave Cook
Salumeria rosi parmacotto on MANHATTAN’S upper west side, serving ONLY IMPORTED ITALIAN FOODS.
Made in Italy, the “wegas” platform fROM THE Spring COLLECTION at the Mirti, Pelle Boutique.
1042 Lexington Avenue. 212 774 1886
MoMA Museum 11 W. 53d Street 212 708 9400
Two of three objects “Made in Italy,” designed by the Italian company Mebel, selected for the permanent collection of the museum of modern art. THe company specializes in designs using the material “melamine,” which is similar to resin.
Notable More “Expressive Richness” Two writers tracked 57 Italian newspapers over 10 years and discovered 4,000 new words in common usage. Ranging from botulinato (botox) to Zidanata (Zidane-esque, after the French soccer Zidane (right) celebrity who became infamous for his expulsion from the 2006 World Cup). Their book, Neologisms: New Words from the News, provides a snapshot of Italian contemporary life through its latest linguistic adoptions. The authors, Sergio Rizzi and Gian Antonio Stella write that Italian has “fortunately” not been dominated by English phrases, but continues to retain its inherent “expressive richness.” Not all languages are equally expansive. On one extreme, there is English, which rapidly absorbs foreign and spin-off words; on the other extreme is French, which forbids foreign words and is slow to add new ones. The Italian language falls in the middle, flexible enough to incorporate new phrases, but never allowing foreign neologisms to dominate it. Some new Italian words: Ammazzacosti: to lower the price, literally, “to kill the price” Anticalcio: anti-soccer (akin to unpatriotic) Barbonismo: homeless (from “barbarian”) Berluschese: “Berlusconi-esque” Coattume: of bad taste Culturicidio: an insult to culture Energivoro: a mega-consumer Flessibilizzare: to make flexible Milleurista: one with a monthly income of 1,000 Euros (i.e., low income) Poltronismo: the condition of stuckness (literally, “part of the chair”) Spammista: one who spams
La Maison Troisgros Place Jean Troisgros 42300 Roanne, France (33) 04 77 71 66 97
Star Chef of France Admits to “Secret Ingredient” RAT/S. Maviel
ith six Michelin stars to show for his restaurants in Roanne, Burgundy, Paris and Tokyo, the renowned Chef Michel Troisgos, celebrates the Italian heart of European cuisine with his latest book entitled L’Italie (2009). In a recent interview with the Italian national newspaper il Corriere della sera, Troisgros explains, “It is not question of superiority, but of history. From the time of Catherine de Medici, the Italian chefs have influenced French and European cuisine. The world knows pizza, spaghetti and mozzarella, but does not have enough appreciation for the ‘cultural universality’ and immense variety of Italian cuisine. For the taste, the technique of preparation, the creativity, quality of products and regional traditions, it is really the mirror or the landscape of a wonderful country.” The book contains 400- hundred pages of photographs, anecdotes, interesting facts and of course recipes ‘stolen’ from Italy and adapted to the menus of Troisgros’ restaurants. On his menus, one will find beet risotto, carpaccio, cannelloni and gnocchi. The book also reflects the chef’s Italian origins. His mother is Fruili-born and founded the Olympia restaurant in Roanne, France, with his father. “My grandmother Anna, married to a tenor, has spent his life cooking for everyone,” he recounts. “Without the recipes of my grandmother I would not be who I am today!”
Chef Troisgros’ Cannelloni filled with fromage blanc and swiss chard 8 squares of fresh pasta (lasagna sheets) 4 chard leaves 6 fromage blanc “faisselles” (fresh cheese in mini-colanders) 1 shallot 1 tbsp white wine vinegar 2 tbsp olive oil 1 tbsp heavy cream Salt and pepper Chives, chervil and tarragon Drain the fromage blanc of its liquid. Trim, wash and blanch the Swiss chard leaves for a few seconds in boiling salted water. Poach the pasta squares in simmering water. Cook them for 3 mins and
refresh them in ice water. Drain. In a bowl, mix the cheeses with the finely diced shallot. Then add the vinegar, olive oil and cream. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside in the refrigerator. Place the 8 squares on a work surface. Cover with the chard leaves, then place a spoonful of the filling in the centre. Roll into a cannelloni shape. Place them side by side in a baking dish. Just before serving, warm the cannelloni in the oven and place 2 on each plate. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with fresh herbs.
Notable Exhibits of particular note New York
Fenimore Art Museum America’s Rome: Artists in the Eternal City, 1800-1900. Through December 31, 2009. See feature opposite page. >
Palazzo Ducale Rafaello and Urbino. Through July 12, 2009
Los Angeles Los Angeles County Museum of Art Pompeii and the Roman Villa: Art and Culture around the Bay of Naples. Through October 4, 2009. Michelangelo Pistoletto’s work for the venice biennale
Venice 53rd Venice Biennale: Fare Mondi // Making Worlds // Bantin Duniyan // 制造世界 // Weltenmachen // Construire des Mondes // Fazer Mundos… Giardini and Arsenale exhibition venues. June 7 - November 22, 2009
ince 1895, the prestigious Venice Biennale has promoted new artistic trends and organized international events in the contemporary arts in accordance with a multi-disciplinary model which characterises its unique nature. Director Daniel Birnbaum says the title “expresses my wish to emphasize the process of creation. A work of art represents a vision of the world and if taken seriously it can be seen as a way of making a world. The strength of the vision is not dependent on the kind or complexity of the tools brought into play. Hence all forms of artistic expression are present: installation art, video and film, sculpture, performance, painting and drawing, and a live parade.” Two Golden Lions for Lifetime Achievement will be awarded to Yoko Ono and John Baldessari.
Chicago Musuem of Contemporary Art: Italics: Italian Art and Revolution 1968-2008. November 14 - Febrarury 14, 2010.
Florence Palazzo Strozzi Galelio. Immagini dell’universo dall’antichità al telescopio. Through August 30, 2009
Rome Complesso del Vittoriano Giotto e Il Trecento. Through June 28, 2009 Palazzo Venezia Leonardo da Vinci Through August 30, 2009
Paris Musee d’Orsay See Italy and Die. Through July 19, 2009. Italian Models: Herbert and the Peasants of Latium. Through July 19, 2009
St. Petersburg State Hermitage Museum Afro Basaldella. Through September 20, 2009
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Italian Gem The opening night for the Bulgari anniversary show in Rome was filled with gem-studded stars, creating a glittering effect both inside the exhibition rooms and out. The stunning display of gems tell the 125-year-old history of the renowned Italian jeweler, whose diamonds, emeralds and rubies adorned the most beautiful women of the last century. Palazzo dellâ€™esposizione, Roma Bulgari. Between history and eternity: 125 years of Italian jewels Through September 13, 2009
Notable Woody’s Schicchi in Spoleto I
have no idea what I’m doing,” Woody Allen said to The Los Angeles Times, “but incompetence has never prevented me from plunging in with enthusiasm.” Mr. Allen was referring to his operatic directorial debut of Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi in Italy. Allen’s Gianni Schicchi, one of the three opera’s in Puccini’s Il Trittico, opened the 52nd annual Spoleto Festival (Festivale dei 2 Mondi). The British baritone Sir Thomas Allen played the lead eponymous role; James Conlon (musical director for the L.A. Opera) directed the music with the Giuseppe Verdi Orchestra of Milan. The maestro of comedy adhered to Puccini’s music and plot, but created his own twist on the comedy’s original ending and added an Al Capone-inspired flourish to the lead character’s costuming. The Italian audience received his interpretation with enthusiasm— a 20-minute curtain call followed the performance.
Leaders Of talking Above, a scene from allen’s Gianni Schicchi in spoleto, with Sir Thomas Allen, Rebekah Cam and Jill Grove Right, the town of Spoleto in the umbria region of italy, During the recent festival. The stage is set up on the main piazza in front of the Duomo (Cathedral) of S. Maria Assunta
Photo by Maria Laura Antonelli
n times of economic crisis, Italians might have to downsize in certain areas...but never mobile phones. A recent report by the European Union on telecommunications showed that, compared to the U.S.’s 84% cell phone penetration, Italians are at 119% market penetration. The visual evidence is everywhere–– churches, restaurants, openings. During the recent earthquake, entire mobile networks in Italy were blocked by the amount of simultaneous calls...the same on New Year’s Eve. Pronto!
Notable The Farewell of a Lifetime
la dolce...Grafica Director Matt Tyrnauer with Valentino
he gracious and elegant documentary about the fashion designer Valentino was a surprising box-office hit when it opened in New York in March 2009, after premering in the Venice Film Festival in 2008. Valentino: The Last Emporer touched upon more than the fashion designer’s glamorous career and opulent lifestyle. On the heels of his 2008 exit from the company he founded in Rome over 45 years ago, the film focuses on the final years of his work and the final sweeping closing of his career, as well as some overarching fashion industry issues. The heart of the film, however, is the relationship between Valentino (76) and his longtime partner in business and love, Giancarlo Giammetti. Produced and directed by Matt Tyrnauer, Special Correspondent for Vanity Fair magazine, the film documents the duality of his grand farewell –– both celebratory and saddening. As the designer bids Adieu to his company and the world from the Roman Colosseum, there is an overpowering sense that we are saying goodbye to far more than one designer, but to a way of living.
DESIGNER GIULIO IACHETTI CURATES AN ILLUSTRATED TOUR OF RECENT ITALIAN ICONOGRAPHY. baci perugina, the vespa scooter and the STOVETOP ESPRESSO MAKER ARE RECREATED IN LIGHTHEARTED DRAWINGS BY THE ARTISTS “ALE+ALE.” ACCOMPANYING EACH ILLUSTRATION ARE DESCRIPTIONS BY TOP ITALIAN INDUSTRIAL AND GRAPHIC DESIGNERS, INCLUDING alberto bassi, alessandro guerriero and christina morozzi.
Italy in America, via WWW W
hat started as a group project at the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute of the Queens College of New York has developed into something far more ubiquitous and impactful: the web community of i-Italy.com. Its bi-lingual bloggers, multimedia content and social networking site captured the attention of the Italian consulate’s office in New York.
www.i-italy.org Its founders, Anthony Tamburri, dean of the Calandra Institute, and Letizia Airos, are attempting to streamline the vast amounts of content about the Italian community in the U.S. The Consul General seems to agree, and has even promoted the Consulate’s efforts through digital video broadcast.
La Scuola dâ€™Italia Guglielmo Marconi
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La Scuola dâ€™Italia 12 East 96th Street, New York, NY 10128 Tel: (212) 369.3290 Fax: (212) 369.1164 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
debate society squares the business of art vs. the business of money Artists and financiers discuss ethics in their respective markets
The following is an excertp from the debate entitled “ The Art Market is Less Ethical Than the Stock Market,” sponsored by Intelligence Squared U.S. and held at the Rosenkranz Foundation in New York City. Courtesy Media Transcripts. Moderator: John Donvan For the motion: Richard Feigen, Michael Hue-Williams, Adam Lindemann Against the motion: Amy Cappellazzo, Chuck Close, Jerry Saltz ROBERT ROSENKRANZ The language of tonight’s resolution, I think I might have done it a little differently had I known about the Bernie Madoff scandal. But the art world does have its share of forgeries and its share of dealers who fake provenances and its instances where things are stolen from consignors. So there are bad apples in every basket. But that’s not really the thing that interests us and why we picked the language of this debate. It’s really the ethical issues revolving around two ideas. And one idea is secrecy and the other idea is manipulation. When you buy a work of art at auction it seems like a very open process. But there are a lot of secrets. You don’t know what the reserve is. You don’t necessarily know the source or the meaning of the estimates that are attached. There’s no real disclosure about guarantees. If the auction house has made a deal with favored third parties, you don’t know about that. What’s described as a buyer’s premi is sometimes rebated to the seller
The Rosenkranz Foundation had a full house for this debate.
or used for other purposes. Again, pretty obscure, a lot of secrets in that process. And the second element, I’d say, is market manipulation. As an example, the graphic symbol we used for tonight’s debate was Damien Hirst’s skull encrusted in diamonds. That was widely publicized to have sold for a hundred million dollars, which I believe is the highest price ever paid for a work by a living artist. Well, it turned out subsequently that the purchaser was none other than Damien Hirst and his dealer to the tune of at least fifty per cent of the syndicate that was buying it – and who knows how much in reality. In the recent auction of Damien Hirst’s work he or his dealer was a buyer of a lot of key lots. And another example is the Warhol market, which is dominated by a family called Mugrabi – textile merchants from Colbia, who own eight hundred Warhols and are prominent buyers of all of the prime examples that they bid up at auction. So it’s also very common practice for dealers to bid up the auction prices
of works of art by artists in their stables. But dealers get very angry at clients who sell at auctions – often blacklisting those clients. So I’d like now to turn back to the stock market. In the 1920s there were syndicates of sophisticated investors who would quietly acculate stock and would then sell the stock back and forth to each other at ever increasing prices in order to give the unsuspecting public the sense that there was an ebullient and lively market. When the public came in the insiders would quietly sell. Well, that conduct became illegal and it’s been illegal for the last sixty or seventy years. And in a way, when the art market is advertising prices at auction that are not real, that are intended really to deceive people about the true state of the market, that’s a very similar kind of manipulation. The questions for tonight are, How endemic is that? How common is it? Should those kind of practices be illegal? And finally, does the art market operate in a generalized sense with high ethical standards or
The Motion: The Art Market is Less Ethical... FOR THE MOTION richard feigen Michael Hue-williams Adam lindeman Art dealer
JOHN DONVAN The motion before us tonight is this: The Art Market is Less Ethical Than the Stock Market. We have six panelists, all from the New York and London art world. We know that we have many members of the New York and London art world in the audience tonight as well, which makes for an even more interesting evening because this debate actually is a contest. Our topic is: The Art Market is Less Ethical Than the Stock Market. Arguing first for the motion is Richard Feigen, President and Founder of Richard L. Feigen and Company, art dealers. He opened his first gallery in New York City in 1963, which in a sense gives him more experience in the art world than perhaps anyone else in this room – time enough to know what he likes and also to decide what he does not like, particularly before us tonight in the category of ethical behavior in the art market. Ladies and gentlemen, Richard Feigen.
RICHARD FEIGEN The first premise that I want to propose is that the art market is a financial market now. It has become this and it is a totally unregulated financial market. I will also try to define ethical. I define ethical as a protection for the investor or art collector and unethical as efforts to deceive. I will narrowly define the stock market as publicly traded equities. Otherwise I risk sailing off into Bernie Madoff-land and uncharted waters. The art market really is divided into two parts – the private art market, meaning the galleries, and the public market, the auction houses. In the private market there are protections of the purchaser in the form of the uniform commercial code in New York
and the self-policing bodies like the Art Dealers Association of America. These are not totally protective but they serve a purpose. I’m going to focus then on the auction market. The press usually defines the art market as the auction market for contemporary art, which gets all the press – where prices have ballooned in recent years. And therefore it has become press-worthy, because big prices make for press. In the past few years there has been rampant speculation. Until the middleNineties a work that appeared at auction, if it reappeared within five years it would be virtually unsellable. And now works appear almost immediately after being purchased or at least they did until the recent unpleasantness in the contemporary market, starting in November. And because there’s a new wave of speculators at each auction. This all really began in the middle-Eighties, when art became monetized by the press and the financial institutions into a financial market, Sotheby’s launched a financial services arm, Citibank an art advisory department and so on. Banks lent money on art and auction houses lent money to buy art. Sotheby’s Chairman went to jail for colluding with Christie’s on auction commissions. Now art had become a serious financial asset. Whereas before the Eighties the market was tiny, it now became global. Thousands of people became involved. Billions of dollars changed hands. But except for foreign governments claiming repatriation of antiquities and Holocaust restitutions and despite the ss of money involved and vast nbers of participants, government seems to treat art as frivolous, as a luxury market with no regulation or oversight. As just one example: in the Bush Administration tax code, when the capital gains tax was reduced from twentyeight per cent to fifteen per cent art
remained at twenty-eight per cent – apparently because it was treated by the government as a luxury, not an asset class. The stock markets are highly regulated by law. There are also protections for individuals who trade in the market through fiduciary, mutual funds and so on. Regulation came about as a protection for individual investors. The art market, on the other hand, is totally unregulated. Things occur, particularly in the auction market, that are deliberately contrived to deceive the unsophisticated individual and that would be subject to criminal penalties in the stock market. The most universally encountered is chandelier bidding, which means fake bids to entice bidders into competition. Whereas regulations exist in the stock market to provide transparency, chandelier bidding is specifically designed to deceive, to imply that there is competition when there isn’t any. Novice buyers usually enter the market through auctions because they have no other way to establish values. And unlike securities, there are no two works of art that are identical or are in the same condition or have the same credentials. The only source of price comparison is auction data bases. But, again, comparisons are flawed. The novice auction bidder believes his only exposure is his incremental bid. He asses that the under-bid represents a willing and able competitor. But if there wasn’t any under-bidder? What if the bid was a phantom, a chandelier bid? When some years ago the issue of chandelier bidding was raised in New York’s Conser Affairs Department, the auctioneers cried that to eliminate it would take the drama out of auctions and they threatened to quit New York City. When I was quoted as saying that when I want drama I go to Broadway I was called a horse’s butt. The only – I changed that
...Than The Stock Market. AGAINST THE MOTION Chuck CLose Amy cappellazzato Jerry Saltz Artist
word because my wife wouldn’t let me, or somebody in my office wouldn’t let me use it. The only result of this city inquiry was that the auctioneers were forced to identify items in which they have a financial interest or that are guaranteed or most recently in which there are irrevocable bids identified by miniscule symbols virtually invisible or incomprehensible to all but professionals. Otherwise, the auctioneers prevailed with their deceptive practices. In addition, the auction catalog disclaimers make it basically caveat emptor, as far as authenticity and condition are concerned. In the private gallery market the invoice establishes the guarantee, by law. The real reason for the auctioneer’s ethical ambivalence is the dramatic shift in role over the last forty years from agent for the buyer. Then as demand started exceeding supply, first as agent for both buyers and sellers and then primarily for the sellers, the buyer paying almost all of the commission guarantees and irrevocable bids followed swiftly as further enticements to sellers. But the auctioneer’s role remained ambiguous. The auctioneer was now wearing at least two invisible hats and when he had an equity in the object, three.
JOHN DONVAN Our next debater has arguably already earned his place in art history. Chuck Close’s paintings are in t he collections of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, the Tate in London, the Muse of Modern Art here in New York. And while he has been known to spend months, even more than a year, on a single painting, we are giving him minutes to argue against the motion.
CHUCK CLOSE Well, it doesn’t seem like we have to do
much, given what’s happened recently. But, my argument is a little different. I don’t think that the value of art is determined by money at all. I don’t think that the value of art is measured in that way. If you look at the turn of the century, Bugaro [PH] sold for far more than any other artist, in what would be in today’s terms, millions of dollars. And the artists that we now know and love, the Impressionists, Post-Impressionists, couldn’t sell their work at all. So I question whether sales really is a barometer of value and whether ethics has anything to do with how that work is marketed. We have examples of the work being marketed extremely well, with great ethics. And we have examples of it being done in a somewhat sleazier fashion. I would say that art is not a business. Certainly the making of art is not a business. My good friend Joe Zucker, who is a great painter, his father was a junk dealer, a scrap metal dealer in Chicago. When he looked at Joe’s studio and saw the racks full of unsold paintings, he said, You can’t afford to make any more paintings until you get rid of some of your inventory. If any of us made work for that kind of reason, you know, you wonder where we would be. I remember Lee Marvin in The Ship of Fools was a washed-up baseball player. And he’s standing at a bar, talking to an artist. And, because he isn’t being paid, he doesn’t play baseball anymore. And the artist is trying to explain to him why he has to have an occupation to support his profession. And that’s really where the art world is at. Most people, most artists make this work whether anybody wants it all, makes it year in and year out with little visibility, no critical attention and little financial support. Most artists, by nature, are mediocre. There are no undiscovered geniuses. Take my word.
There are no undiscovered geniuses. There are many undiscovered competent artists, just as competent as the artists who are famous and we all know. There are no charlatans. If somebody wanted to be a charlatan the last thing they would do is go into art. There are many other ways. And I think the financial market is obviously a much better place to be a charlatan than being an artist. If you’re lucky enough to find a dealer, the artist and the dealer relationship is the heart and soul of the art world. It is a marriage. Like many marriages, some don’t last forever and there may even be some cheating from time to time. But it is a marriage because this is where the rubber meets the road when it comes to art and how it is offered to the public. There are ups and downs. Things are in fashion or out, hot or not. And if you don’t understand the cyclical nature of the art world you’re in for a lot of pain. Dave Hickey said in a really wonderful article in, in Art in America this month: At one time a consensus of professional respect would carry an artist through times of no money better than money would carry an artist through times of no professional respect. A few muse shows and a nice catalog essay during a lull meant that your prices would still be there when fashion changed and the money came back. He went on to say that works of art have no intrinsic value. All their value is extrinsic. It is invested from without and over a period of time. Damien Hirst’s jewel encrusted skull has hundreds of thousands of dollars – or it might be millions, I don’t know – of diamonds in it. It did not make that piece any more valuable than any other work of his, just because it had inherent value. I’ve got two minutes. Jesus Christ. So who are the deciders? Some are forces for good. I’m borrowing
a phrase from Bush on purpose. Who are the deciders? Some of those deciders are forces for good and some are forces for evil. The most important thing is the value that art--art is a meritocracy. It is a meritocracy because the final arbiters of what is important are other artists. All the hype, all the spin, all the effort to construct a career out of thin air, all the efforts to manipulate the market notwithstanding, over the long haul if you don’t have the respect of other artists it will disappear and it will not stand the test of time. So if we’re looking at short term investment, perhaps it can be manipulated and perhaps it’s not always the most perfectly run organiza--opportunity. But over the long haul it’s left up to other artists. And I think that’s what finally determines the value in art.
JOHN DONVAN Our next debater, Michael Hue-Williams, is founder of the Albion Gallery, located in London and New York. And as we are debating here, London is snowed in. Both runways at Heathrow are shut down and somehow Michael managed to get what might have been the last plane out. He stepped off of it about three hours ago. So he obviously wanted to argue tonight.
MICHAEL HUE-WILLIAMS I’m going to make some points to support what Richard’s already begun on our behalf. And these will be made more in the way that a drunk might use a lamppost -- in support rather than illination. however, an early statement from 1932, pre-regulation of the stock market, which FDR managed, importantly, to begin over here, began with the remarks that it was needed because of shocking disclosures of low standards in high plac-
es. This possibly is something that could be applied to the art market, I fear. The stock market in London has a dict. The dict is: Me dict pact. This means, My word is my bond. And it is one of the important maxims in the art world, but unfortunately, it is not one that necessarily is worth banking upon. I’m going to illustrate three reasons why the motion: The Art Market is Less Ethical Than the Stock Market, for me, holds water. The first is that there is no real regulation. The second, that there is no transparency in the market, and the third, that there are absolutely no barriers to entry. The first, no real regulation – let me explain by telling you a story against myself. In 1989 and 1990 – it’s a long time ago – I was in short trousers. I had a gallery in London already. I came to New York on the day of one of the big auctions. And I made a deal with an art dealer here in New York – somebody who is extremely prominent to this day – to buy eight paintings by the German painter, George Baselitz – an artist who I still greatly admire. And I agreed to buy these for 2.4 million dollars, which at the time seemed an extraordinary amount of money to me. I think I was twenty-four years old at the time. And I left the gallery of this man I’d made the deal with. And I waited because there was one similar painting that night in auction in New York. And the painting made eight hundred thousand dollars. I went to bed that night feeling very clever. The next morning I got a telephone call from the dealer, who told me that the deal did not stand and that he was going to walk away from it. And of course I was outraged. But under the UCC regulations, anything that is not written on paper and is a transaction above five hundred dollars is not enforceable. Clearly here, ethics and the
‘My word is my bond’ ... is one of the important maxims in the art world, but unfortunately, it is not one that necessarily is worth banking upon. -Michael Hue Williams law were not working hand in hand. Ethically, I felt he was doing something that was appalling. Legally, he was absolutely right, he could do it. That illustrates my first point, that there is no real regulation. The second point that there is no transparency in the market has been touched upon by Richard, in his remarks about the auction houses and the creation of rings. Rings are… relatively simple to create, it needs a group of people who stand outside the framework of the auction houses, and they decide to promote an artist, it’s very easily done with a young artist, and I can think of one at the moment in the Middle East who is an interesting young painter whose work has rocketed in price, from tens of thousands of dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars, in the space of less than two years. A group of people bought a lot of pictures, they each owned individually, group of pictures, and they started to put these pictures into auction, they then go to the auctions, they get groups of people bid them up, and thereby they feather their own nests. And…this draws attention of the press, the press attention to the artist, and it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy that this artist starts to go up in value, and by a process of osmosis, the ring benefit from the auction house activity that they’ve begun. This is not transparent to the outside viewer, but to art world professionals, it is quite obvious when this is happening. The last point, and possibly
I would say that art is not a business. Certainly the making of art is not a business. -Chuck Close the most important point, is that, unlike the stock market…there are no barriers to entry. To become an art dealer, you need to have a pulse. You need to be able to count… and probably you need two eyes in your head. But beyond that anybody can be and call themselves an art dealer. There was an extraordinary scenario that took place here, predominantly here in New York, with an art dealer, so-called, called Michael Cohen, some of you may know about this but I’m going to use him as an example of an extraordinary situation, where he began to trade in commodities, and in the stock market, and ran into a lot of financial trouble. This was not his business, this was what he was making money doing on the side. But he realized that he could solve his problems, where there was an absolute call on his money at 30 days, and he had to deliver, by using other people’s paintings as collateral. Some of them, he parked even in the auction houses, his level of chutzpah has to be seen to be believed, he actually managed to sell a Titian that was on the wall of the Met. In any case, this gentleman eventually did become unseated. And he has disappeared, last sighted in Brazil. And if anybody can help us out with his whereabouts, Jerry Saltz, our resident investigative journalist would love to write a story all about it. I use him as an example, there are very clear demands placed upon people, who go into the stock market, the stock market is regulated, these individuals are fingerprinted, they are members of a licensed body of people who are allowed to trade. Their backgrounds are heavily investigated before they begin. This is not the case with the art world. And for these three reasons, there is no regulation, no transparency, and no barriers to entry. These are the reasons that I believe abso-
lutely, that the motion, the art market is less ethical than the stock market, cannot be disputed.
JOHN DONVAN Amy Cappellazzo is deputy chairman and international co-head of post-war and contemporary art at Christie’s, and she became famous for a quote, something she said a year or two back when describing a rather frothy art market. She said, “After you have a fourth home and a Gulfstream jet, what is there.” It has been picked up and repeated, and repeated and repeated and our next debater is Amy Cappellazzo.
AMY CAPPELLAZZO Well, this is such a juicy topic, I really don’t even know where to begin, my notes feel, you know, my head is flooding with all sorts of other ideas besides these, that I’ve put before myself on these pieces of paper today. Certainly I’d like to just say that when you’re on a panel it’s much more interesting to sit on one than sit through one, so I will, you know, work very hard to play to type and make it lively and interesting and there’ve been many swipes against auction house people tonight and as I am the auction house person on this panel, I will get to sort of support and defend the position and place of the auction house as sort an ethical player, but… In reading the proposition over and over again, “The art market is less ethical than the stock market,” of course I had to read this multiple times and I had to analyze every word. Certainly colonizing the word “ethical” will help make you the winner tonight. And, something ethical is described as “proper conduct and good living.” An essential aspect of ethics is the concept of the life worth living, that
each of us aspires to this quality of life and aspires to have the kind of life that allows us to sleep at night and lead an ethical, good life that makes it all worth living. A few things basically need to be established here. Art is not a pure commodity, it’s not an ordinary commodity. While it certainly is bought and sold and traded, the motivations for the place of art in our society, the motivations for its existence and everyone who plays within the game of the art world, are incredibly conflicting in fact. So…my premise depends on the concept that the art market does not exist without the art world. That in fact the art world adds hugely to the conscience of the art market. What do I mean by the art world, I mean the entire muse profession, critics, curators, conservators, other sorts of people in the cultural production business, writers, graphic designers who work with artists, etcetera. Art is valuable emotionally, intellectually, historically, in a way that other commodities are not inherently. The motivations for becoming part of the art world are too multiple and varied, the rewards are too varied among the various groups, an artist becomes part of the art world for a completely different set of reasons, than a dealer does, than a critic does. So while there is—in the art world there are too many different rewards, the reward structure is fractured and varied. Whereas in the stock market, presably there is a singular reward which is financial compensation. Within that, there is not really an ability for ethical behavior to— it’s hard to get into ethical run-ins because everybody has a completely different system of reward and a completely different reason for existing within that. Part of what I put forth here is that art is a bit like physics, it can exist both as wave and as particle, so it is at once something that is bought,
the art market is a financial market now. It has become this and it is a totally unregulated financial market. -Richard Feigen
sold, traded as a commodity, or as something like a commodity, and it exists in this sort of higher place, of emotional, intellectual, historical, and cultural meaning and cultural relevance. I believe that there’s something that exists in the art world, that exists in the art market, that makes it completely different from the stock market, and that is something that I would call, pressure of a common pool, which is a sort of basic, Economics 101 theory, an idea that things that are precious in the public domain that no one exactly owns, let’s say like aquifers, groundwater, forests, fisheries, things of this kind, are in fact, there’s a kind of rule of conduct about how people engage within them which is essentially… more or less ethical. People who do not behave well within these common public treasures are in fact outliers or criminals and are really quickly rooted out, and that those of us who participate in this pressure of a common pool participate ethically and carefully. I believe works of art are something that give us tremendous pleasure. They really, you know, all the beautiful platitudes about feeding our soul and carrying us through difficult times, all of this is entirely true, particularly now, and that we all treat works of art in the same coveted fashion with care, respect, and preciousness that works of art deserve. If you break these rules of engagement you are a criminal or an outlier. People who know art, people who collect it, artists who make it, collectors who very much covet it, really know that they are only temporary custodians of works of art, it’s kind of like being a foster parent, you don’t really own these works of art, you just take care of them for a while because they’re supposed to outlive you. And you’re supposed to pass them on to someone else. So as long as that is the
ethos that surrounds a work of art, how this object is understood in the world and in the marketplace will always be different than something that trades as pure commodity. So, with the position that the art market is less ethical than the stock market, the art world is by far more ethical than the stock market. It has a conflicting set of—has a very varied and various, nerous reward system among its various participants, as opposed to the singularity of money that comes from the stock market. And the actual object traded is very different than a share of stock in all of its principles, properties, ideas, and values. And that is why I am arguing against this proposition tonight.
JOHN DONVAN Adam Lindemann is one of the world’s leading collectors of contemporary art, he likes to share what he knows, he’s written essentially a buyer’s guide for collectors, and he also likes to buy what he likes. He calls himself a consptaholic.
I want to start off by reminding you all what “ethical” actually means, ‘cause I wasn’t even sure what it meant when I thought about it. “Ethical” means “being in accordance with the rules or standards for right conduct,” ethics means this is correct and right conduct and practice. The standards of a profession, and this is the standards of the profession of the art dealer we’re talking about. An example here is, it was not considered ethical for physicians to advertise. It is not ethical for physicians to advertise, I thought well why can’t physicians advertise if they’re good. And the reason is physicians are there to help people. Physicians are supposed to help you with your health. And therefore it’s not really a business. Just like the art market is not
really a business but then how can it be a market and not be a business? We get into this whole…ethical question, about art and the market, these two things are really at loggerheads in a way. And I thought, do art dealers advertise. Because it would not be appropriate for physicians to advertise. Do art dealers advertise, and I thought, every art dealer I know, advertised heavily. As a matter of fact, auction houses advertise, everyone advertises, and therefore, it immediately made me feel well perhaps, advertising is a sign that this is a business and not simply about…ethics and proper conduct. Now, in terms of the stock market, the SEC regulates public companies. And the reason for that, is really to protect the public. If it weren’t for protecting the public, in fact the government would let everyone do whatever they wanted to do with public companies, private companies and whatnot. We have many, many rules and regulations for the financial markets and of course more rules to break, is what many people will think, or more rules to skirt. But the reality is that those rules are there. Now on the other hand, we have works of art, which are inherently unique. Each work of art is quite different. Even if there is a Degas which sold today for $19 million, that Degas is one of I believe 20 that he made and that particular Degas was cast after his death, that’s what we call a posthous cast, so, in my view that Degas is quite different from a cast that Degas made during his lifetime. How could we regulate Degas’s Danseuse, even if two were exactly the same. The skirt is going to be slightly different, the patina was slightly different. One of them got dropped on the floor and restored, the other one didn’t. So therefore, since art is inherently, each work of art is
art is not optional. It’s always been here, since the beginning, it has never gone away, it’s not going away. It isn’t just a decorative hedge that grows in front of a market, or in front of industry or philosophy. Art is a necessity. -Jerry Saltz inherently unique, it’s extremely difficult to regulate. So I was trying to imagine how we would regulate the art world in order to make it truly ethical. And I was thinking we would have to create something called the AEC, as opposed to the SEC we would have the AEC which is the Art Exchange Commission.
share. When you’re buying a work of art, you have no idea what that real commission is. The art market is all fair game, it’s caveat emptor. Unless you’re going in with a dealer that you know, or a work of art that you know or you have a consultant who you trust, you have no idea what the commission is.
This would be a counterpart to the SEC, perhaps a subdivision, in which case we could go after Madoff and we could also go after art dealers who have sold things that are not correct. I think that that whole idea of regulating the art world is in and of itself impossible. And so then I thought, well, what are these standards for proper conduct. How can we be proper, how can we be ethical, in the art market. And I quickly thought of six fast reasons which make it difficult to ensure that every trade in the art market will be ethical. The…of course, many of the dealers and many of the people at the auction houses and many of the artists are my dear friends, and I don’t mean to say that any of them are unethical. My point is rather that the art market itself is ripe for unethical behavior. That doesn’t mean that the participants in it are unethical. My personal feeling is that the people in the art world that I know are the most wonderful and ethical people I know in any environment, in any business. But that being said, the entire market is ripe for anything to happen. For example. Stocks, when stocks trade, you pay a commission. You can pay between one and 15 cents, you like the guy, you pay 15 cents, he’s given you good information, you can pay 50 cents, you can give him a dollar. You can trade with Charles Schwab. You—it’s a penny a
You don’t know if it’s 10 percent, 15 percent, yes, common practice is 10 percent. Common practice in the art world, 10 percent commission. My question to you is, 10 percent of what. The next point which I think is pretty much going to blow this up, is the insider trading. Now, you know that insider trading is wrong when you’re trading public securities. Matter of fact insider training is wrong when you’re trading bonds, when you’re trading stocks. Now, you know, it’s illegal on Wall Street and the reality is in the art market, we live on inside information. I mean the whole art market is based on inside information, I mean that’s the whole idea of art. You know, there are the insiders and then there are the outsiders. Yes, there’s the concept that art is for everyone and art will transcend, and we all want that feeling, I mean, certainly we want the art that’s going to speak to everyone. However, the reality is, when you’re actually buying art, when you’re a collector, when you’re reaching into your pocket and you need to spend money, you want to know everything, at least I do. It’s not only about love, of course I love, but, I can’t buy everything in the world. So I need to choose what I’m going to do with my resources and I wanna have all that information, especially the inside information that I know that dealer
has. Another type of inside information would be if a young artist is going to a big gallery. This is a critical thing to know. The other thing is opportunities for currency exchanges. Geographic. A painting in one country is worth less than a painting in another country. Does that make dealers unethical? Absolutely not. But the whole system is ripe for anything to happen, and that’s the beauty of art, and the art market.
JOHN DONVAN Now, Jerry Saltz who in ArtReview’s 2008 “Power 100” list was ranked nber 79… And his wife, Roberta Smith of the New York Times, the art critic, was ranked nber 71. Jerry has said “New York City is not the center of the art world anymore, but it is the trading floor.”
JERRY SALTZ First I wanna say, art is not optional. It’s always been here, since the beginning, it has never gone away, it’s not going away. Okay? It isn’t just a decorative hedge that grows in front of a market, or in front of industry or philosophy. Art is a necessity, okay? It changes the world, it won’t reduce the incidence of AIDS in subSaharan Africa but it does change the world incrementally, and/or by osmosis, okay? So when you keep talking about the market I want to say to my friends on the other side…that almost there’s a self-hating thing to your argent to me. Because, you are representatives of the market. And I have to remind you first of all, 1 percent of 1 percent of 1 percent of 1 percent of artists actually make money. And even they barely do and usually only for a very short time. So while—and look at, their clothes are pretty good. And I’m not against--Mr. Feigen just sold a painting for $12 million, that’s great, yesterday, and I think continued on page 56
through benvenuti’s lens In the magnificent movie Puccini e la fanciulla, Paolo Benvenuti unveils secrets, silence and colours of the great Italian composer
by Laura Giacalone
ometimes the story preceding a movie – the original glimpse of an idea, the attentive archive research, the choice of characters and settings – is as interesting and compelling as the movie itself. That’s the case of Puccini e la fanciulla (Puccini and The Girl), the last magnificent movie by Paolo Benvenuti and Paola Baroni produced by Arsenali Medicei and the Fondazione Festival Pucciniano. The release of the movie coincides with the 150th anniversary of Giacomo Puccini’s birth and sheds a new light on the Italian composer’s life and genius. Presented at the last edition of the Venice Film Festival, the movie was welcomed as one of the most original and extraordinary piece of art of the last years, for its absolute formal rigour, the great pictorial quality of the mise-enscène, and the primary interest of the story, which granted the film the “Poveri ma belli” Collateral Award and enthusiastic reviews all over the world. Puccini e la fanciulla was conceived to elucidate one of the darkest episodes in the Maestro’s life: the tragedy of Doria Manfredi, his young maid servant, who committed suicide in January 1909, while Puccini was composing a new opera based on the drama by David Belasco, The Girl of the Golden West. The movie is the fruit of a six-year archive research led by Benvenuti himself and a group of sixteen young people from Intolerance, the film school of Viareggio, Tuscany. Investigating the mysterious death of Doria Manfredi and the events surrounding the composition of Puccini’s opera, the young scholars searched through the immense bibliog-
raphy on Puccini and his private letters kept at the Centro Studi Pucciniani in Lucca. They went up to Torre del Lago, the small Tuscany village where Puccini used to live and find the inspiration for his masterpieces, with the purpose of interviewing the older people of the village and collecting their memories. But what they came up with was an impenetrable wall of silence, almost mafia-like. The fact emerging from Puccini’s letters was that Doria had been accused by Elvira, Giacomo’s wife, of being her husband’s mistress. But the circumstances of the event and the reason why Doria never defended herself still remained obscure. Another mystery emerging from the research was related to the composition of The Girl of the Golden West. In their search, in fact, the students came across in a very interesting statement from a book by Aldo Valleroni: “The famous Don Juanism of Puccini was not an end in itself, but was functional to his creativity.” Apparently it was a minor consideration, but it hid a remarkable truth: every time Puccini composed an opera, he magically fell in love with an actual incarnation of his heroine. Interestingly, after the opera was finished, the affair would be concluded as well. The book mentioned various women corresponding to the female protagonists of his works, from Bohème to Butterfly to Turandot, but no “Muse” could be found for Minnie, the heroine of The Girl of The Golden West. The first question that crossed their mind was: could Doria possibly be the model for Minnie? But the two figures were too different to be directly related. What finally emerged was that in
Giacamo Puccini. Courtesy Puccini Foundation. GiacOmo Puccini as played by Riccardo joshua moretti. Courtesy P. Benvenuti
Benvenuti reconstructs in detail not only the secret life of a great composer but also the social imagery of a rural Italy that no longer exists.
Puccini’s life there was another woman, Giulia, who was Doria’s cousin and the daughter of Emilio, the owner of the chalet-restaurant in front of the Puccini villa. Giulia was Puccini’s lover, as well as the real-life corresponding model for Minnie that the researchers were looking for. But the story doesn’t end there: apparently Giulia became pregnant and gave birth to a child, Antonio Manfredi, who was never recognized by the parents and died in misery in 1988. In 2007, Benvenuti managed to meet Antonio’s daughter and told her that she could reasonably be Puccini’s granddaughter (apparently the resemblance was stunning). She then showed him a dusty suitcase belonged to her deceased father, which she had never opened before. The suitcase contained photos and letters from Puccini to Giulia, written from 1908 to 1922, which indisputably proved their relationship. But the surprises were not over: in a biscuit tin inside the suitcase there was an old film clip dated 1915 showing Puccini playing the piano, writing, smoking and walking in his villa. It was an exceptional document of immense historical value. However, Benvenuti did not want to make use of this extraordinary discovery in his movie, firmly convinced that the life of this document was different and independent of that of his film. Holding to his purpose of not mixing reality with filmic reconstruction, Benvenuti only focused his movie on the events that took place in Torre del Lago in 1908.
moretti as Puccini in Puccini e La fanciulla
And that’s where the movie starts: Puccini, interpreted by the internationally renowned musician Riccardo Joshua Moretti, is composing The Girl of the Golden West and regularly attends Emilio’s chalet in front of his villa, where this magnificent woman, Giulia, serves up wine and smiles. One day, Puccini’s maid servant Doria Manfredi surprises Fosca, the composer’s step-daughter, in the arms of her lover, Guelfo Civinini, Puccini’s young librettist. To prevent Doria from revealing the truth, Fosca spurs her mother Elvira to spy on Doria, suggesting that she might have a relationship with Giacomo. One night, Elvira follows her husband to a secluded spot and catches him kissing a woman. Convinced it is Doria, she starts persecuting the poor girl and destroying her reputation. Only guilty of having played the role of “love messenger” between Puccini and her cousin Giulia, Doria is annihilated by Elvira’s attacks and finds her only possibility for redemption in suicide. The peculiarity of the movie is that
there are no dialogues. And this is exactly what is so exceptional and audacious in Benvenuti’s work: a “silent film” on one of the greatest musicians of all the times. The only sounds we hear in the movie are the voice-overs reading the letters of the people involved in the story, the sounds of nature, and the music composed by Puccini. In Benvenuti’s aesthetic view of the world, such silence was the only way to reach the total purity of the cinematographic language, where the music becomes one with the image, without any other interference. Benvenuti’s background as a painter is also evident in the visual construction of the movie: every frame has the stylistic perfection of a painting. With great mastery, he reconstructs in detail not only the secret life of a great composer but also the social imagery of a rural Italy that no longer exists. The movie is therefore a kinesthetic experience, involving the deepest forms of perception and emotion: the great homage of an artist to the imperishable memory of a genius.
Interview / Incontro
Paolo Benvenuti Behind the director’s curiosity with the great composer by Laura Giacalone ITALIAN JOURNAL: Puccini e la fanciulla stems from an extraordinary research work. Where does your interest in the stories hidden in the folds of History come from? Paolo Benvenuti: Behind every one of my screenplays there was in-depth historical research. My previous movie, Segreti di Stato (2003), for instance, was about the killing of communist militants in 1951 Sicily. It came from a six-year research in the CIA archives in Washington, where I found out something very different from what we usually read in the official history books. Cinema allows me to show pages of history that people hardly know. I do it especially for the young people, who don’t know history at all. I am a teacher, and doing this job I realized that young people are totally unaware of what happened in the past, and therefore they are scared of the future. That’s the reason why many people still live with their parents at 40 years old! They are rootless, they don’t know history, so they can’t build up their future, and therefore they live in an eternal present. I feel like a modern Don Quixote tilting at windmills: my goal is to get young people to history, to make them understand that history is fascinating and precious for all of us. IJ: Puccini e la fanciulla is substantially a “silent” movie. What’s the reason of such an audacious stylistic choice? PB: I don’t think that’s so audacious. For the first thirty years of their history, mov-
Puccini is the story of an Italian ambassador in the world.... Puccini’s life is the story of an Italian genius as well as the story of the complex relationship between individual and society. Paolo Benvenuti
ies were silent. The greatest masterpieces in the history of cinema belong to this silent era. As for myself, I believe that cinema is art as long as it is experimental. What I wanted to show in my movie was the tight relationship between Puccini’s music and the sounds of the Massaciuccoli Lake, where he found his inspiration. That was made possible thanks to Mirco Mencacci, the sound designer of the movie. He is an extraordinary talent: he is blind, and maybe because of that he has developed his listening skills to the fullest. If I had inserted dialogues, the sounds of the lake would just remain in the background. I rather wanted to get people to listen to the silence and retrieve the beauty of Puccini’s music in it. Besides, the absence of dialogues makes my film more accessible to an international audience. IJ: Will the movie be distributed in Italy and abroad? PB: The movie has aroused great interest abroad and we hope to find an international distribution soon. In the United Stated, the premiere of the movie was held at the Lincoln Center of New York on the 16th of November, followed by an-
other screening at the N.I.C.E. Festival of San Francisco on the 23rd of November. In Italy the situation is difficult. Distributors are quite short-sighted: they only look for immediate profits. So far no one has accepted to distribute the movie, but many cinema exhibitors, who are closer to the audience, have much appreciated the movie and will screen it in many Italian cities. It will be a distribution from the ground up! IJ: What’s the significance of a movie on Puccini in the present day? PB: Through this movie, young people will discover that Puccini’s music is extraordinarily modern and appealing. Besides, that of Puccini is the story of an Italian ambassador in the world. In this globalized world we are influenced by other cultures and tend to forget ours. I wanted the young generations to learn the story of one of our greatest talents. Moreover, while reconstructing an episode of Puccini’s life, the movie also tells the story of the typical Italian little province, with a woman killed by social prejudice. And that’s something that still happens today. Puccini’s life is the story of an Italian genius as well as the story of the complex relationship between individual and society.
Puccini birthday gala at carnegie Hall
photos by Vito Catalano
he IAF concert “Puccini Intimately” paid tribute to the great composer on the celebration of his 150th birthday. The star-studded audience was treated to an inspired program of music, ranging from rarely-performed gems such as ‘I cristantemi’ to favorites such as the dramatic final scene of Tosca’s second act. The Annual Bravo/Brava awards were presented to three exception individuals: Howard Abel, Anna Birgis-Hannesson and Dr Betsey McCaughey. Following the musical program, VIP guests including the Italian Consul General Taló and the honorable U.N. President Ban ki-Moon, along with the musicians headed to Bechstein Piano, where the United Nations Women for Peace co-hosted a post-concert soiree’.
photos clockwise from top right: 1. Nazzareno Carusi; 2. Yana Eminova (right) and accompanist Renee Guererro; 3. the Brunell String Quartet; 4. Veronica Mitina and Larry harris in a scene from Tosca; 5. esteemed audience members. 6. Secretary General and Mrs. Ban Ki-Moon (center) with IAF Chairman and Mrs Acunto, Claudia Palmira, Ambassador and Mrs. Hjalamar Hannesson; 7. Brunell String quartet 8. from Tosca
Save the Date
The Italian Academy Foundation
Saturday, December 19, 2009 Carnegie Hall, Zankel Hall.
The “Europe effect” on the U.S. Economy The balance between radical free markets and widespread government by Michael Disabato
here is a significant debate going on in America regarding the future of free market capitalism. The recession is starting to cause the American system of free market capitalism to look unreliable. Why, many EU countries argue, should the free market system be the “golden boy” when it frequently generates recessions. They argue that America has damaged the global market place with its faulty loans and unregulated systems. It seems to be a more valid argument as the days progress and the recession sinks its teeth deeper into the global economy. So what is the best role of the government in the marketplace? The short answer is there is no answer. With efficient government regulation growth will stagnate, but with little regulation growth will be subjected to violent swings. Is anyone to say that the standard of living in America is any better than that of the European Union? If anything, it is painfully obvious that Americans have been living on top of a posh mountain.
And the biggest opponents of bigger government are the ones that run for help when the trouble is in sight. For example, GM. Before we continue, the thought is not that the American government will be as socialist driven as the EU government. It is more so the idea that in the future spending will have to take place. As Joe Meacham and Evan Thomas lamented to in Newsweek, there is an undeniable fact that “in the short run, since neither consumers nor business is likely to do it, the government will have to stimulate the economy. And in the long run, an aging population and global warming and higher energy costs will demand more government taxing and spending.” President Obama should try and find a central balance that will promote innovation and competition, by adapting some of the European rules that can help protect investors and lenders and keeping the American style of innovation. Because too much regulation can be as damaging in the long run as no regulation at all. For example, Brazil is currently weathering this economic storm with impressive stability. However, their government is compelled to keep taxes at very high levels to fund its colossal spending, which is at 37 percent of GDP. This will not allow the competition and innovation needed to promote long-term growth. If things do not soon change, they will see themselves fall into the kind of stagflation that has plagued Japan for many years. In China, banks are not making enough loans because of heavy restraints that are put on by the government. Their interest rates are extremely high because
the government prevents the banks from re-lending their deposits. Re-lending is the banks main source of income, and without this there is little chance they will be willing to hand out the kind of loans that promote heavy growth. China will soon be judged on their ability to change from an export-dominated country into an import-dominated country. However, it seems that the EU and America are the same in the fact that they cannot escape the enormity of this crisis. While the American financial system has caused the crisis to start, it seems the European system will prove to worsen it. Niels C. Jensen wrote an edition of “Outside the Box” which states if “EU Commission’s estimate of £16.3 trillion of impaired assets is correct, then the crisis is far worse than any of us could ever imagine. Not only would we have to get used to the prospects of a systemic meltdown of our banking system, but entire nations may go down as well.” This makes the distinction of the correct system even harder to make. Italy banks may start to be pulled under by the weight of failing eastern European banks, and many other western European countries may follow. It is obvious that the current system in America is not the best way to go. The government must look at different ideals and strategies in order to pull America out of the recession and try to rebalance the government for the future. Sunder Katwala, head of Britain’s center-left Fabian Society, stated the obviousness of “centrist rebalancing” in America. However, it is up to the Obama administration and the rest of the world to try and figure out which system is best suited to weather the storm.
Executive optimism Italian corporate leaders share their reasons for remaining positive about business in 2009 FRANCESCO GORI Managing Director Pirelli Tire
CARLO SANGALLI President Confcommercio
“2009 will be a tough year for all industries. The automobile industry is one of the most exposed to the crisis, and this will inevitably affect the tyre manufacturers: with the decrease in the automobile production, the tyre production will go down as well. However, our industry will suffer less than one would expect, because we can rely on the replacement tyre market, which shows better results than the first equipment market. Despite the economic downturn, we believe that we can achieve positive outcomes even in 2009, not for our sales, which are expected to be lower, but for our profitability. We expect positive results due to the restructuring plan outlined in 2008 and aimed at making our business more “agile” and competitive, and also thanks to some of our traditional distinguishing features: we are the number one in the tyre manufacture for the sports car and motorcycle markets; we are leader in some emerging markets, such as South America; we have most of our production plants in these countries, where we want to further expand our business. Furthermore, we are launching lots of ecological products in order to meet our consumers’ demand for environmentally responsible products, fuel saving and increasingly resistant tyres. By the end of the year, we will be able to produce tyres from the rice leaves, in order to reduce the use of synthetic and polluting materials.”
“I’m an optimist by nature, because being pessimist doesn’t lead anywhere. It is true that we are going through hardship, but we shouldn’t let fear get in the way. As the President of the Italian Republic Antonio Napolitano pointed out in his year-end message, “The only thing we should be afraid of is fear itself”. There are plenty of families, workers, entrepreneurs and enterprises striving for a better future every day. Let me give you just an example. A few days ago, Confcommercio has started a road show dedicated to the small and medium enterprises. Well, in our first leg, Ancona, I saw crowds of attentive listeners. After the meeting, many businessmen approached me and told me about their difficulties, but none of them said they were resigned or willing to throw in the towel. Therefore, in the real economy, Italy is a strong and reliable country. That’s why, as far as I’m concerned, I’m absolutely optimist about the future of our country.”
CLAUDIA GIAN FERRARI Art Historian and Art Dealer “It was surprising to see how many people attended ArteFiera, the first art exhibition of 2009 held in Bologna, which involved over 200 galleries, both from Italy and abroad. As for the sales, what emerges is a significant dichotomy: some people were able to sell
quite a lot of artworks (even to new collectors), while others didn’t sell anything at all. What’s the reason of that? I believe that the ones who managed to have considerable sales presented high-quality artworks (both contemporary and modern), which had never reached the market or auction houses before, and offered a good quality-price ratio. After all, since Lehman Brothers’ collapse, the art market is no longer regarded as an excellent investment opportunity, where prices, much more than values, of contemporary artworks were out of control. Those responsible for creating or influencing such increase in prices were not “collectors” but “investors”. These people have rapidly disappeared, being replaced by old and new collectors that have found again the right spirit to fulfil their genuine passion. In critical times, quality art can’t help but come out.”
ROSARIO MESSINA President Flou I wasn’t there in 1929, but what I know for sure is that today we happen to live in a panic state. This crisis involves too many business areas, and it has nothing to do with the 1974 downturn. People don’t spend any money, and orders collapse. In the furnishing industry, the Italian market has drastically decreased by 20%, the European market by 30-50%, and the United States’ and Japanese market by 50-60%. Moreover, despite the contributions granted by the government to promote consumptions, we still have to bear the brunt of the deductions from employees’ paychecks. We currently produce 25%
less than the last year. And 2009 is going to be tougher than we thought. We are working in an emergency situation. However, being entrepreneurs, we must necessarily be optimist, even when the giants all around us fall apart.
GIULIO BALLIO Chancellor Milan Polytechnic “We are quick to forget the hundreds and thousands years of wars and misfortunes that we have left behind. Crisis and recession scare and hurt, but they’re better than a war! In fact, it was logic and inevitable that sooner or later crisis would arrive. It’s a completely unrealistic illusion to believe in a continuous progress with no crisis or discontinuity. For this reason, even this crisis must be regarded as an opportunity to go back to the fundamental value of our world: the value of work. I believe this is already happening. Our vocation, here at the Polytechnic, is to teach work, and this is something for which we’re generally recognised, as the increasing number of enrolments clearly shows. Young people come to our University because they know that we will make them study like crazy, and that they will immediately find a job after University. I don’t believe Italian young people are immature: and this is an important sign of trust.”
this crisis must be regarded as an opportunity to go back to the fundamental value of our world: the value of work. Giulio Ballio
GABRIELE DEL TORCHIO Managing Director Ducati
PIERLUIGI BERNASCONI Managing Director Mediamarket
“Our Superbike champion Troy Bayliss always says: “Never let go!”. Today his motto is more appropriate than ever. It is therefore essential to focus on entrepreneurial values in order to overcome a difficult time and make the most of the opportunities we are given. For many years, we have believed that enterprise was everything: this crisis shows the opposite. In order to win back the trust, we must focus on ideas and on a quick understanding of how to realise our projects: this is crucial to resist and to get stronger, and it perfectly fits in with the small-medium size of our company, and with the motorcycle industry in general. I remember that, looking at one of our motorcycles, some great Japanese mechanical engineers said: “You can tell immediately it’s Italian”. With such material and immaterial heritage, we can look into the future with bright hope.”
“It being understood that in 2009 all industrial segments will be affected by the crisis, in 2011 and 2012 industries that manage to keep acceptable levels of profitability will have positive results. In the next two years, Mediamarket group is expected to enhance its market share value, thanks to its innovation capability and its market strategies. One of the major opportunities will be provided, for instance, by the digital terrestrial television, which will be definitely available in Italy by 2012. If the new products provided will have reasonable prices, positive outcomes will be certainly achieved.”
NICOLÒ DUBINI Vice-President Pirelli Ambiente “We are living an unprecedented historical moment. The financial crisis, together with the issues related to the climate changes and to the environmental protection, involves all countries. Lifestyle in Western countries is radically changing, and this process will be further enhanced after Obama’s election. The energetic efficiency will be one of the main industrial segments to be positively affected by such change. The development of new energy sources will ward off supplying problems, thus reducing the geo-political risk. Recycle is another key sector for saving natural resources and reducing our dependence on foreign raw materials. Italy should take advantage of these great opportunities without delay. The G8 and the Expo 2015 will give Italy the chance to be in the front line and become leader in the environmental sector, also producing new employment opportunities.”
ALESSANDRO COPPO Managing Director eBay Italia “Crisis means hard time for enterprises, but it also represents an opportunity to get stronger. When economic resources are limited, consumers’ needs are even more intense. That’s why it is important to be able to offer right products at a lower price. Companies able to do that will be stronger when the economic recovery arrives. In order to be able to achieve this goal, four factors are crucial: no panic, flexibility, maximum efficiency, and ability to face the change. This critical situation requires structural changes: the opportunities for those who are able to offer excellent products at very competitive prices are enormous.” Excerpted from the Magazine of Il Corriere della Sera (2/19/2009). Original interviews by Lavinia Farnese, Jacopo Tondelli, Andrea Milanesi and Francesca Pini. Translation by Laura Giacolone.
The astronomer’s telescope is recreated Institute and Museum of the History of Science Piazza dei Giudici, 1. Florence, Italy. (39) 055 265 311
Almost 400 years after the 17th century scientist’s discoveries, an interdisciplinary team of scholars in Florence spent two years recreating the instrument Galileo Galilei used to view the night sky.
The reconstructed telescope was unveiled in March 2009 at the Florence Musuem of the History of Science and the national institutes of applied optics, nuclear physics and astrophysics. The team, comprised of astronomers, scientists and historians, wanted to reconstruct the telescope for the International Year of Astronomy, which marks the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s radical discoveries. To achieve this goal, the team collaborated with the Experimental Glass Station in Murano. There they wre able to use the plans dictated in Galileo’s 1610 treatise Sidereus Nuncius (Starry Messenger), where he recorded his first observations along with formal instructions on the construction of his first telescope. Galileo designed and built his first telescope in 1608, based on descriptions from the Netherlands, where the first telsecope was invented. His original lens was able to magnify objects threefold, while his later version was created with an ability to magnify objects 32 times their natural size. His technology put him at a unique advantage, as he was one of the onlypeople with the
ability to study the sky at that proximity. Francesco Palla, director of the National Institute of Astrophysics’ Arcetri Observatory, said that the teams’s astronomers had “almost finished” recording the observations of the objects Galileo would have seen with his 1609 telescope. ‘’We have observed the moon, the satellites of Jupiter and the phases of Venus,’’ Palla said. Galileo used his telescope to record regular views of the night’s sky in 1609 and, in this way, discovered the three moons of Jupiter in 1610. He assumed at first that they were stars, but later changed his hypothesis because of their continual shifting of positions. This and his ability to observe the various phases of Venus are believed to have played a major role in his 1612 conclusion that the Sun, not the Earth, was at the center of the Universe. The Catholic Church at the time opposed this conclusion, and attemped to thwart the inventor’s hypothesis. In 1633 he was convicted of heresy and thus a ban was implemented upon all remaining publication or reprinting of his works. Thereafter, he was placed on house arrest, where he was forced to remain until his death in 1642.
The newly created telescope, above, alongside Galileo’s original at the Florence Museum of History and Science. and Below: a drawing of the original instrument.
Umberto Boccioni. Composizione spiralica, 1913. Composizione spiralica, Civiche raccolte dâ€™arte, Museo del Novecento, Milan.
Italy celebrates the 100th Anniversary of “Futurismo” with art, street performances, food and fashion F
ebruary 22, 2009 marked the day when Filippo Tomasso Marinetti first published his Futurist Manifesto 100 years ago. The 100th anniversary of the Futurismo movement in Italy, was marked by an all-night, festival that featured an eclectic array of passionate performances that cleverly riffed the ideas of the movement’s founders––depicting speed, motion, technology, urbanity and vibrancy. The ideas of Futurism came to life when Filippo Tommaso Marinetti published his “Futurist Manifesto”in the French newspaper Le Figaro. The manifesto was an exhortation that boldly provoked artists to banish ideas of the past,. claiming the “ignorance” of museums and academia, calling them graveyards–– they ponder the past when the present is happening all around them. For instance, when an automobile is racing down a street, the beauty to a Futurist is the motion forward of the car, not the car as an object to be examined or understood. The radical nature of the manifesto is has flavors of Punk, an outsider gang mentality. Rebelling against social mores, the futurists aimed to live in pure experience and full-blast emotion without restrictive limits. Their art was to express this soaring concept in shocking color combinations and deconstructed, repetitive forms depicting vehicles, planes and people never still.
Marinetti speaks of the futurists’ own inevitable artistic expiration: “The oldest of us is 30: so we have at least a decade for finishing our work. When we are 40, other younger and stronger men will probably throw us in the wastebasket like useless manuscripts— we want it to happen!” What an immense idea––the precursor to the recent installation art and live art movements, in which the artists’ works themselves are purposely designed not to last. In his passion for cultural advancement and call to stop worshiping antiquity, Marinetti displayed a paradoxical Italian nationalism. For him, the two ideas were compatible: that Italy whose long history and ancient ideas had influenced the world was the same country that should introduce modern ideas to the world with a violent break from its nostalgia. Marinetti started a movement of massive proportions, one that was even appropriated by the nascent political movement of fascism. Artist of all genres rallied around the poet’s cause. More manifestos appeared, including: The Manifesto of Futurist Painters, by Umberto Boccioni, Carlo Carrà, Luigi Russolo, Giacomo Balla and Gino Severini; Technical Manifesto of Futurist Painting, by Umberto Boccioni, Carlo Carrà, Luigi Russolo, Giacomo Balla and Gino Severini; Technical Manifesto of Futurist Sculpture,
by Umberto Boccioni. there were manifestos for cinema, music, fashion, and even a cookbook. New ideas abounded on how to truly embrace industrialism, urban living and the new century. All agreed that youth break away from the constraints of traditional artistic education and join the cause of futurism, celebrating intensity and originality in art of all forms. In food, the shock value of the food combinations on the palette and to the eye was as important as providing sustenance: chicken cooked with ball bearings, to name one futurist dish. 100 years later, Italy celebrated its Futurist masters in a multidimensional event befitting its subject. The exuberance for the anniversary was tangible, ubiquitous; the ideas seemed new again through a wild variety of public shows. Peaking backwards at the movement that demands we look ahead, we see its impact––in art, politics, technology, design. The ideas are unconsiously well-integrated in the contemporary mindset of “instant blogging,” universal high speed travel, digital art and the internet. Time certainly has not warped the dynamism of the paintings, whose colors and shapes must seem more triumphant than garish to the post-modern eye. This year, dancers, video artists, acrobats and designers embody speed, lightness and color in the only appropriate tribute to Futurism: a live one.
OPening night of â€œfuturismo,â€? Scuderie del Quirinale Museum, Rome.
ROME Top and opposite: Laser lights slash through atmospheric smoke, illuminating the crowd and creating a live futurist “painting” on Piazza del Popolo, while a sound sculpture evoked the cacaphonic and noise-filled poetry of Marinetti. in Futurist-preferred Green, indigo and red, lasers FORMED diagonals, sweeping stripes, and staccato dashes IN AN EVERCHANGING PATTERN. Right: a beam of solid green light connects piazza del popolo and piazzA VENEZIA AS CROWDS MEANDER DOWN VIA DEL CORSO. opposite page: Giacomo Balla, Speeding Auto, 1913. Oil on board. Galleria d¹Arte Moderna, Milano.
Photos by Mauro Benedetti
celebrated Top Row: (LEFt) one of four aerial dancers performing in front of milanâ€™s Palazz Marino. (Right) Gino Severini, Danseuse, 1915. Oil on burlap. Guggenheim Museum. middle Row (left) Aerial Dancer in Milan. (Right) Giacomo Balla, Veil of widow - landscape, 1916. Oil on board. Museum of modern and contemporary art of Trento and Rovereto. bottom Row: (Left) playful performers in Milanâ€™s Galleria. (Right) Mino Della Site, Rombo di motori, 1932. Oil on Board.
extreme painting, Rome
top: Umberto Boccioni, Unique Forms of Continuity in Space, 1913. Bronze. Museum of Modern art, New York City. below: a light show in Piazza San Lorenzo in Lucina, Rome. Right: Painter giuliano del sorbo recreates a masterpiece while suspended from ropes in piazza colonna, Rome.
The location: Piazza Colonna, Rome, 10 p.m. A man dangles from ropes in front of the facade of Palazzo Wedekind, illuminated by spotlights. Above him glows the neon sign “IL TEMPO” adjacent to an oversized clock. Below, a large crowd forms in the piazza, heads tilted to observe the extreme artist. He faces white canvas measuring over 10 feet tall, which partially obscures the building facade. On a terrace beneath him, a group of musicians tune their instruments; he is swinging side to side as he adjusts in his harness. An unseen signal, and the action begins–– the musicians strike a dramatic chord and the first stroke of black paint appears on the white surface. The painter, Giuliano del Sorbo, is moving quickly, attempting to finish the work in 30 minutes. The jazzy notes track his gestures, as he adds strokes from top to bottom, then from left to right, instructing his crew to manipulate his position. The painting is abstract swirls and swooshes––until the final moments, when a human figure comes alive. It is none other than (of course) Futurist’s iconic sculpture by Boccioni, a man walking. After a mid-air bow, the painter adds his final touch, a large red signature. The crowd starts to disperse, blurry forms fading into the dark. Photos by Mauro Benedetti
contemplated ...And Video for all Contemplating YouTube in the light of Marinetti’s approach to creativity
ns of the Futu final conclusio
ion with past, the obsess e th f o lt cu e ism. 1. Destroy th ademic formal ac d an y tr an ed the ancients, p n. inds of imitatio k l al e at d li va 2. Totally in however ts at originality, p m te at l al te 3. Eleva violent. daring, however ear of proudly the sm d an ly ve ra b r 4. Bea all they tr y to gag h ic h w h it w “madness” innovators. gerous. useless and dan as s ic it cr t ar 5. Regard mony” of words: “Har y n n ra ty e th ich 6. Rebel against expressions wh se o lo er th o d e” an and “good tast randt, works of Remb e th y o tr es d can be used to Goya, Rodin... themes art clean of all f o d el fi le o h 7. Sweep the w the past. e been used in av h h ic h w s ct and subje rld, r day-to-day wo u o in ry o gl d 8. Support an ly and to be continual g in go is h ic h . a world w ctorious Science vi y b ed rm o sf splendidly tran
arinetti’s ideology was geared toward the youth, he spent his adult life urging the future generations to understand his philosophy. My generation (the 18 -25 demographic) has found a form of expression that might make Marinetti gleam with pride: YouTube. YouTube is an online website that allows users to make their own videos and post them on the Internet for others to see and enjoy. The videos are sometimes creative, sometimes banal, but they are usually an artistic expression of movement and passion. For longer than one cares to remember, cinematic expression has been a read-only profession. In other words, as an observer, our only ability is to visually perceive what is going on without really being able to comment on its message. People had to accept what cinema powerhouses were putting out. A lot of the time it was just the things that futurism followers were bashing. Past similarities, worshipping of idiotic cultural norms, and only some movies “sing the love of danger, the habit of energy and fearlessness.” With YouTube, my generation has turned the read only media into a read write media. The youth is able to speak their voice in a creative and stimulating manner. Now, this is not to say that individuals are going on to YouTube and making futurist videos. It is more a commentary on the fact that people are able to use speed, technology, and movement to create art in a socially different way. Of course there are individuals who do not use this platform to progress art and thus futurist artists would look down upon this. But there are some that take what was used, and make it shocking to the public. People remix songs that break out of the norms of cinematic ideology. This is what futurism is about, the passion to find something new and destroy the old. One can almost picture Marinetti and the other futurist artists sitting down to a computer and designing a captivating and disturbing video for the masses to see. Or instead of publishing his manifesto for others to read, Marinetti could publish a video on which he calls all of the expression-starved youth to amass videos that attack the older generations hatred of technology and loud noise. The list is endless because futurist would have a medium that the generation they were preaching too is obsessed with. What makes this even easier to imagine, is the Obama administration’s adaptation of streaming online videos to keep the nation up to date on his policies. The futurist even had a printing press during their reign, what would stop them from having a streaming video on YouTube every Sunday that kept the artistic nation up to date on their views. - Mike Disabato
Is Futurism Proto-Punk? by Karen Pinkus
In many ways, Italian Futurism could be considered an unacknowledged precursor to punk.
The Futurists were members of the Italian bourgeoisie. Punks were working class, Protopunk philosophers? Luigi Russolo, Carlo Carrà, but both movements shared a disdain for filippo tomasso Marinetti, Umberto boccioni and gino severini. high culture, for detatched bohemian/hippie art, and for lethargy or nostalgia. Marinetti wrote his founding manifesto of the sense of a science fiction of utopia, the movement was not parFuturist movement in 1909 and quickly ticularly concerned with fantasy so much as with the exploitation found a following in a group of painters, sculptors, poets, draof available technology. Marinetti loved cars. After World War I, matists, architects, and musical innovators-- including Carlo Carthe Futurists conceived of “aeropainting”, a mode of representing ra, Umberto Boccioni, Luigi Russolo, Giacomo Balla, Antonio the world as it would appear from the cockpit of a speeding plane. Sant’Elia, Fortunato Depero, and many others. The aim of the movement was to utterly transform the passe Marinetti hated art museums, universities, and pasta (“It and anachronistic society of Liberal, parliamentary Italy. To drive weighs you down like a ball and chain”). He advocated a diet Italy into the future, Marinetti’s first manifesto extols speed, vibased on pills, which he hoped might one day be broadcast over rility, technology, and war. In a brilliantly calculated move, he the radio waves into every home. He orchestrated special Futurist published the manifesto on the front page of the most respectable dinners featuring dishes like Ball Bearing Chicken. The Futurists newspaper in Europe, Le Figaro. This line sums up Marinetti’s practiced a D.I.Y. form of production and distribution; they tore whole aesthetic program: “A speeding car is more beautiful than up newspapers to make violent proclamations, and they also had the Victory of Samothrace.” their own printing press. Some Futurists manufactured toys and Futurism created an immediate mass scandal, and the memclothing that bore the official stamp of the movement. bers of the movement began to organize “evenings” (happenings) It might be possible to see parallels between Marinetti and Malthat combined drama, music, politics, provocation, and assault colm McClaren. Both men had large egos and positioned themon the audience. The performances were violent, and as the Fuselves as the fathers of their respective movements. Marinetti, turists gained notoriety throughout Italy, they were stalked by a however, maintained a greater degree of control over the spread sizable police presence which only helped to further arouse the of Futurism in the end because he worked from inside Futurism, curiosity of the spectators. The Futurists traded insults with rerather than standing outside and above. spected members of the town they visited, objects were thrown Like Punk, Futurism lived a brief period of energetic “actualon stage, and performers and spectators engaged in gobbing, an ity”, marred by the tragic deaths of major protagonists. The Futuract that later became a punk trademark (although according to ists eagerly enrolled in the Lombard Volunteer Cyclist Battalion, John Lydon, nee Rotten, it all started not as a planned program the Italian “speed” division during WWI. Marinetti suffered a to break down traditional performer/spectator boundaries, but hernia, Russolo was quickly injured, and thirteen other Futurists because of his sinusitis). were killed during the war. After an initial burst of innovation, For Marinetti, the term Futurist specifically suggested forward both Futurism and Punk continued on for many years in a (wamotion and speed, and he used it in opposition to “armchairism”, tered down?) version in which the movement names were ironihis concept of the home-bound bourgeois patron of the fine arts. cally appropriated as marketing tools. So although the unrealized (and unrealizable) drawings of architect Antonio Sant’Elia, for example, appear “futuristic” in our from www.unknown.nu/futurism/protopunk.html
Umberto Boccioni, Riot at the Gallery, 1911. Canvas. Brera, Milan
protagonists who was who c. 1909 Giacomo Balla, painter Umberto Boccioni, painter, sculptor Anton Giulio Bragaglia David Burliuk, painter Vladimir Burliuk, painter Mario Carli Carlo CarrĂ , painter Ambrogio Casati, painter Primo Conti, artist Tullio Crali Luigi De Giudici, painter Fortunato Depero, painter Gerardo Dottori, painter, poet and art critic Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, poet Vladimir Mayakovsky, poet Angiolo Mazzoni, architect Aldo Palazzeschi, writer Giovanni Papini, writer Luigi Russolo, painter, musician, instrument builder Antonio Santâ€™Elia, architect Hugo Scheiber, painter Gino Severini, painter Bela Kadar, painter Mario Sironi, painter Ardengo Soffici, painter and writer
Balla and Biagotti: Milan’s fashion week celebrates the centenary of Futurism with a collection of creations that seems to revive Giacomo Balla’s myth of the “Anti-Neutral Clothes” (1914). For her autumn/winter collection, Laura Biagiotti draws on Balla’s Futurist aesthetics, proposing outfits with avant-garde embellishments and agile, dynamic, playful and asymmetric forms. Right Inset: Suit designed by Balla (Collection of Missoni family).
the “Anti-neutral” look
Balla’s “what to wear” manifesto
Giacamo Puccini. Courtesy Puccini Foundation. Giacomo Bella, Forces of summery landscape, 1917. Oil on board. Galleria Fonte d’Abisso.
gastronomy indelicate palette
Futuristic menu, circa 2009 A meal created by Michele Vaccarella (opposite page) after Marinetti, for Taverna Dei Futuristi restaurant, Rome
Pippo rizzo, La mattanza, 1927. oil on canvas. Private collection.
o capture the essence of Futurism in food, a restaurant must have a style, a sense of humor and food that inspires and challenges the usual tastes. It must transport, it must be fun, it must be visually exciting, its tastes must surprise. Hidden in the Testaccio section of Rome is an eatery that does just that. Across from the major modern art museum MACRO, a small set of stairs emerging from a weedy bed of lemon tree plants leads up to a place a futurist’s kind of shrine, a gallery-cum-restaurant. Once inside, the cobblestones and traffic fade away, and light, color and creativity take over the senses. The space is comprised of two exhibition rooms and a dining room, which is the restaurant. When you have toured the exhibition rooms filled with an unpretentious and eclectic display of futurist art and memorabilia, the show continues in the dining space. Each tabletop is a handpainted futurist-themed design. The room glows with an ambient blue light that forms criss-cross patterns on the white walls, which display more futurist artwork, posters and photography. Green and red napkins float over each place setting. A bright orange fizzy cocktail in a champagne flute stands at attention near each plate. It’s not a Bellini –– but an indiscernable cocktail meant for “light flying,” according to the menu. The food is presented modestly, but cleverly, on glossy black plates that offset the often-vivid culinary concoctions. From a star-shaped tea sandwich spread with tuna paté, to a wedge of meat brushed green with a spinach pureé, to a smooth white dome of custard, each course contains a message for the senses. Color and taste combine, and the act of eating is, as Marinetti desired, elevated from the ordinary. Marinetti held that the food should awaken the palette; he recommended outlandish (even repulsive) recipes for this shock effect. However, Palermo-born Michele Vaccarella, the chef behind the Taverna’s menu, adapts the master’s intentions but treats the palette with dignity nonetheless. His risotto all’alchechingio fairly melted on the tongue with a mild warming sweetness, but left a pleasant tangy aftertaste. Bitter cocoa and spinach form an unlikely combination for a chicken marinade, but it’s unexpectedly pleasing and light. Dessert is sensual. A creamy dome topped with a plump maraschino stimulates the eye, while the light almond and sugar custard makes a calm, cool finish.
Inventina A little creation Futurist Marinetti’s cocktail for light flying complements a picturesque appetizer “designed” after the painter Filli FIRST COURSE Risotto all’alchechingio Rice with physalis The physalis is a Chinese berry with an aerodynamic shape. Risoverde Green Rice From futurist Pascà D’Angelo, “a light plate that is heightened and invigorated with pistachio and spring peas. SECOND COURSE A caccia nel paradiso From the Hunt in Paradise Formula of the futurist aerial painter Fillia: Chicken cooked with sparkling wine and bitter cocoa powder, served in a green sauce made with spinach and various spices. DESSERT Mammelle sicilane nel sole Sicilian breasts in the sun An almond-milk custard confection served with a cherry.
gastronomy Photo courtesy MICRO
Left: A Futurist dining experience at Taverna dei Futuristi, Rome; Right, the man who interprets marinetti’s recipes for today’s palette, Michele Vaccarella. Below: Photos of the futurists dining together, hanging on the walls of the taverna.
Taverna dei Futuristi MICRO Via Monte Testaccio 34/a Rome Reservations only +39 06 45494495
Risotto all’ alchechingio
mammelle siciliane al sole
All photos by Mauro Benedetti unless otherwise noted
“Nel mezzo del cammin’ di nostra vita Mi ritrovai per una selva oscura Che la diretta via era smarrita.* “
Italian. Get to know civilization’s unmistakably beautiful language of Art Music and Dance Cuisine Fashion Literature History ...and, yes, Amore.
*So begins one of the greatest achievements of the human imagination, Dante’s Divine Comedy, “Midway upon the journey of our life,/ I found myself within a forest dark,/ For the straightforward pathway had been lost.” (Inferno I)
Architettura del sacro The Archdiocese of Milan has begun an initiative to populate the city periphery with spiritual centers that can also serve as community meeting and social spaces The Archdiocese of Milan along with the Commission for New Churches invited renowned architects to participate in the construction â€œlâ€™architettura del sacroâ€? (architecture for spiritual structures) in a series of competitions for the final designs. Today, four of these projects are already in the beginning phase of construction. The structures pose a kind of tension between their internal spaces, meant for reflection and inward contemplation, and their external connection to their urbane settings. They attempt to offer what is usually missing in the suburb: a sense of community and belonging. Yet their aesthetic is distinctly urban.
Excerpted from the Magazine of Il Corriere della Sera (2/2009). Original text by Francesca Acerboni.
50 contemporary art
Urban Archaeology Giorgio Radicati combines elements found in natural and industrial environments in his new sculptural works by Genny DE BERT
ince the start of 2009, Ambassador Giorgio Radicati is back in his home country, Italy living in one of the two cities in the world, along with New York, that has been an unforgettable reference point for his life, both personally and professionally. As former Consul General of Italy in New York City, Radicati spent five years in the heart of the energetic and mentally-stimulating metropolis, where he produced his first body of work entitled “Archeologia Urbana.” After his post ended in New York, Radicati spent two-years in Skopje as the ambassador for OSCE (Organizazzione per la Sicurezza e Cooperazione in Europa), where he created a series of sculptures. The finished works use materials that are partially refined by the artist along with those left in their original state. In Skopje, the artistic side of Radicati lived in harmony with the professional diplomat, the wide-ranging view with the rational problem-solver; the imagination with
logic; the provocateur with the diplomat; the intuitive with the practical. “I can say that my love for art has colored my life, even my professional life,” said Radicati. “It infuses even daily activities, at unpredictable and uncanny moments, with creativity and originality.” In contrast to his preceding works, Radicati’s recent sculptures are assembled mixed media elements using materials that are both fixed and relative. Sometimes it seems that the various components are leaning on one another, and regardless of their weight, appear light as if ready to lift, or, perhaps, as if they wanted to extract themselves and return to their distant origin. Any reflections of their former selves were not imposed by the artist. The wear of time and the place where they were discovered is rendered into their form, almost sullied from its evolution as an object. It is a sort of carryover from “Arte Povera,” the minimalistic effect of basic visuals, only sometimes embellished with metaphorical relics of the contemporary world: the remains of a milk carton, for instance, that was once presented in another artistic work in New York. As for the reference to “Arte Povera” we must refer to those artists who had a fascination for material more than concept. In fact, the conceptualism of Aligherio Boetti or Giolio Paolini is not apparent at all in Radicati’s work. However, traces of Giovanni Alselmo and Giuseppe Penone are captured. Giorgio Radicati uses simple materials (wood, earth, plastic, industrial parts, stone, iron) with the sole objective of reproducing the elemental origins of their existence, before they had been “wrenched” from their primary function and their inherent purpose¬¬ –– and thus the works form a new language with the ancient alphabet of geometric symbols.
The first sculpture of 2007 is entitled Ohrid. The title is significant. Ohrid is the city situated on the banks of a lake with the same name, in which the major archaeological sites of Macedonia. A play between past and present, the back-and-forth time immersed in pure, uncontaminated nature–– the blend of aesthetics and science, beloved by Tito Lucrezio Caro, the author of “De Rerum Natura.” From this level and from a great passion that the artist has about archaeology were born theseultimate works, connected with the greats of the past. “Everything stops and consolidates; it is fixed, as if every object is reinvented with the memory of its past and with a sense of the future, overcoming the impermenent and creating a sort of stratification of time.” (Giorgio Radicati. catalog, Shea & Haarmann Publishing Co., New York, 2002.) Ohrid exudes a mystical air, perhaps originating from the influence of the found materials that retain the living memory of their home, the richness of a monasteries and the light breezes that seem to carry the distant philosophical thoughts disclosed for centuries by local monks. Observing this small sculpture, we are reminded of the symbolism in Romanesque architecture. Ohrid is structured with a solid rectangular base reinforced laterally from iron parts, three elements held by nails, as if to prevent their escape. A semi-circle forms the background (only from the back can one see that it is a full circle). A semi-circle (or circle) was in Romanesque iconography a sacred symbol of the sky. Most of the sculptures made
after this one have inherited their geometry from this first sculpture. All have in common a square or rectangular base, which becomes its foundation, with a fixed and stable orientation. In the Romanesque architecture, the square (or rectangle) was always the symbol of the planet itself, the ordered field, corresponding to the four directional points and the four natural elements. Its attributes are: stability, earthliness, and mortality. While the square has a fixed orientation, the circle does not––it is essentially a dynamic form. Radicati states, “Macedonia has awakened and deepened in me the idea of the mystery of existence. Perhaps because discoveries of the distant past come to light every day, it seems unusually present and alive. So, I was overwhelmed with the urge to represent this ––my imagination defines it and all the materials around me become instrumental, each acquiring its own dignity for me. The past, the present and future surrounded me, making me the weaver of an arcane visual story, whose the meaning is lost in the darkness of time.” Thus, Radicati has transformed some sculpture-forms, almost for fun, into fantasy animals, then cataloged in a sort of “Animal Directory” (un Bestario). The artist has also produced original totem personalities, characterized by contorted facial expressions and a richness of the materials that comprise them. These works contain iconographical references, displaying the diversity of humankind. Some seem to have emerged from the ground, or found in ruins. These totems recall the artist Enrico Bay, known for his wry mythology imagery. In the same satirical vein, Radicati combines primitive media with commercial symbols in a visual parody.
works by Giorgio radicati. TOP LEFT: PESCE DEL FIUME VARDAR, 2008. Stone, METAL AND IRON. Top RIGHT: OHRID, 2007. ROCK, WOOD AND IRON. Bottom: IL PARTIGIANO DEL BALCANI, 2008. WOOD, IRON AND METAL. All photos by Franco Bianchi.
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Hidden gem of Lazio
photos by Mauro Benedetti
A short drive from Rome, a small hilltown called Casale Monterano holds a forgotten medieval village and a longabandoned church designed by Bernini... just follow the unmarked trails.
The majority of his operas are in Italian.
Maybe because Italian is... the most musical language ?
Ya think? W.A.Mozart
Italian. Sound civilized. Apollo et Hyacinthus Ascanio in Alba La Clemenza di Tito Don Giovanni Idomeneo La finta giardiniera La finta semplice
Lucio Silla Lâ€™oca del Cairo Le Nozze di Figaro Mitridate, re di Ponto Il re pastore Il sogno di Scipione Lo sposo deluso
Memories from a lost world In Tina De Rosa’s marvellous novel Paper Fish, the long-neglected voice of a whole generation of Italian-American women at last speaks out by Laura Giacalone
t happened almost by chance. A small Italian publisher handed me this little book called Paper Fish and told me to give it a read, to see if it was any good. The moment I opened the book I knew that something had happened inside of me. I was overwhelmed by a sort of interior smile, that kind of happiness that comes when you discover something really precious, something you didn’t even know you were looking for. That was the start of my love for Tina De Rosa and of my career as a translator. Originally published in 1980 by a defunct publisher of New York, and reprinted by The Feminist Press after years of oblivion, the book was finally released in Italy as Pesci di carta in 2007, a few months after the author’s death. Set on the West Side of Chicago during the 1940s and 1950s, Paper Fish tells the story of an Italian American family through the eyes of its little heroine, the eight-year-old Carmolina, who gets lost in the suburbs breaking the precarious balance of her family. The individual story of Carmolina’s family becomes representative of the collective experience of the Italian immigrants in America, torn between the values of tradition and the inhuman habits of the New World urban environment. Far from any cliché, Tina De Rosa recalls the lost world of Little Italy without falling into the traditional portrait of the cheerful and noisy Italian American family, also avoiding the stereotyped visions promoted by The Godfather and Goodfellas movies. She rather drags her characters into a territory free from prefabricated categories, where the power of imagination reigns supreme.
She fills her novel with great inimitable characters, whose heroism lies in their silent and tragic humanity. From little Carmolina to Grandma Doria, storyteller of a mythical past, all the protagonists of the book are humble and taciturn figures, with an extraordinary human dignity. Their eyes are sad, lost in the void, and rarely meet. They are all locked in their own solitude, haunted by their nostalgic memories, trapped in a daily routine made of repeated gestures of antique fascination. They are graceful and frail figures, “as beautiful and fragile as a Japanese kite”, said the award-winning novelist explaining the meaning of the title. With an impressionist style, which magically blends the linearity and simplicity of prose with the lyrical suggestions of poetry, Tina depicts her characters with intense and quick strokes of light, composing the fragments of the story as pieces of a puzzle, where past, present and future become simultaneous occurrences, and tangle in a mythical timeless dimension. With a hypnotic language rich in nuances, the author dwells upon daily little gestures and describes them with the marvel of a child who looks at the world for the first time. Giving voice to her characters, De Rosa turns the “broken” English of the immigrants into poetry, paying a tribute to a whole generation of Italian American women who have long been trapped in cultural stereotypes and relegated to the margins of history and literature. With Paper Fish they finally speak out, and their voice is something magnificent that won’t be easy to forget.
debate society squares the business of art vs. the business of money, continued from page 19 you deserve that. There’s nothing wrong with that. But when we’re standing here talking about secrecy and manipulation instead of sorcery or prestidigitation or you’re talking about, you’re upset because we’re not regulated. I don’t want us ever to be regulated. This is the art world…people. Am I yelling? This— If this were the industry, that side would be right. But this is the art world, and a world is a place that has a vision, that has problems. The market is a place obviously that people exhibit junkie-like behavior. Millionaires try to enter art history by spending a lot of money. Sometimes the market’s like a friendly Labrador that kind of slobbers all over you and it’s very annoying, but you can’t somehow ignore it. I’m not denying, that the market is a combination of hundreds of things, be it greed, luck, research, a great eye, and I do know one great art dealer in Germany, Johann Koenig, with only one eye, and he can only see about 10 percent with that eye, and he is one of the best dealers in the world. Did I just argue against our side? This is the art world. It isn’t the art industry. They are appealing—and I like them, you know, I see them everywhere—to the cynical side of your nature. I’m being honest with you. The part that goes yeah, it’s all a dirty deal. And everybody’s bad, but let me tell you something. Everybody isn’t bad, most people, and certainly… they’re not, but that’s a different— Art dealers, a lot of them are missing the same chromosome. You know? And it’s very annoying, but I—they create worlds… and they pay the bills, they deal with artists, they deal with critics, they deal with collectors. They deal with plbers, they do a lot. And if they don’t sell 10 shows in a row, they will close. There shouldn’t be regulation, there shouldn’t— And you complain because anyone can enter? I’m going to be honest, I have no degrees at all. I am so lucky to be here, and I think about it all day every day. That I’m—you know how I got in the art world, I went like this. I’m in the art world. And they
said, what are you, and I went, …I’ll be a critic. And that’s how I did what I’m doing. We all are making this up out of ourselves, just like you. To be perfectly honest, we’re all learning on the job. Everybody’s learning on the job, all the time, rules, you want to start the AEC, no, no, no. I mean no offense, I love these people but I hate these ideas. Sorry. We’re not talking about ethics, the art world is ethical, it’s not ethical, it’s this, it’s that, it doesn’t compare, it’s not a $15 billion bubble anywhere, for God’s sake, it’s not nuclear, secrets that are being leaked. Yes, these guys do know how the secrets are done, and I love that they do, and I don’t even hate them for it, I think, fine, that’s part of it, that’s part of their game. But we’re not talking about ethics, we’re talking about—aesthetics. Aesthetics is the type of thinking and judgment that we use in the art world, and yes. Damien Hirst’s skull cost $100 million, it was very publicly, that he was one of the owners of it. Fine. Whatever. But there’s also the lifestyles of the poor and famous. Vito Acconci right now is standing around going, , I still have no money. You know. Adrian Piper, I’m naming names you might not know. The point I guess I’m trying to make, is the art world will work the way it works, it’s time to rethink it. This is true. Because, a lot of the ideas they’re talking about, and I don’t say this about them, but seem very, very yesterday. And a time long, long ago, and we were very lucky to have this very temporary bubble, where 1 percent of blahblah-blah made money and that’s great. I want more artists to make more money, so they don’t have to have dark nights of the soul at their jobs for 40 hours. Now they are. And so are you, and so are they, we’re going to have to worry a little bit more. But…I think you just have to let the art world be what it is. The rethinking of it has to be look at the huge white cubes that we now have. Look, that they may not be enhancing the journeys to art, but may have become content in themselves. The same way that the
talk about the market, hollows out art. It takes your eyes off the prize, the way Amy and Chuck were talking about, and you’re stuck talking about a red herring, something that to be perfectly honest, not one person this room, not them… got into the art world to do. Each one of them is here because they love art. So, peace and love. [End, Part One of this Debate. To read the rest of this transcript, please go to www.intelligencesquaredus.org.]
DEBATE RESULTS The Art Market is Less Ethical Than the Stock Market Before the debate: Agree: 32 % Disagree: 30% Undecided: 38% After the debate: Agree: 55 % Disagree: 33% Undecided: 12%
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United Nations Women for Peace
The Italian Academy Foundation has been pleased to cooperate in the efforts of the United Nations Women for Peace.
Ms. Grace Austin, General Giuliano Ferrari of Italy
IAF board member Dr. Bilha Chesner Fish, M.D. with UNWP directors Mrs. Carole Haarmann Acunto, Mrs. Mona Rihani Al-Nasser, wife of the Ambassador of Qatar to the UN, Mrs. Rocio Valenzuela, wife of the Ambassador of the European Union to the UN.
Mrs. BAn Ki-Moon, wife of the Secretary General of the UN and Anna Hannesson, wife of the Ambassador of Iceland to the UN
Ambassador Hosts ASILM Leaders Italy’s UN Ambassador and Mrs. Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata hosted a dinner party for leaders of the American Society of the Italian Legions of Merit at the Ambassador’s residence in early June. The attendees included (standing, center) Amb. Giulio and Antonella Terzi; (left to Right) Hon. Cav. George M. Pavia, Cav. Michael and Comm. (Mrs.) Rosemarie Santangelo, (rear) Cav. Gran Croce Lucio Caputo, Hon. Consul General Francesco Talo, Amb. and Mrs. Terzi, Cav. Gran Croce Dominic R. Massaro, Uff. Joseph Sciame, Comm.Stefano Acunto, H.E. Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Cav. and Mrs. Thomas Bellavia, MD; (seated, Left to Right) Mrs. Antonia Pavia, Mrs. Louisa Caputo, Mrs. Carole Haarmann Acunto, Mrs. Francis Massaro, Mrs.Ornella Talo.
60 Social journal
Social Journal IAF Reception for John Cabot University of Rome at Hudson Cliff House J.C.U. President Franco Pavoncello was fêted by international academic and university leaders, JCU alumnae and friends.
Right: j.C.U. President Franco pavoncello, hon. VICE CONSUL STEVE ACUNTO, CAROLE HAARMANN ACUNTO, HON. CONSUL GENERAL FRANCESCO TALó.
Support to Etrirea The American Society of the Italian Legions of Merit (ASILM) mini-grant of $1000 in support of the Cultural Assets Rehabilitation Project in Italy’s former colony of Eritrea, to preserve the Italian architectural patrimony of the capital Asmara is presented.
Comm. Dr. Salvatore Rotella, Eritrean Ambassador Araya Desta, Comm. Robert V. Allegrini, liaison for the project and Cav. di Gran Croce Dominic R. Massaro, President of ASILM.
Social Journal Ambassador Terzi fêted at the Tiro A Segno Club A night of dining, opera and applause for the honored guest, Amb. Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata.
Mark Corea presents Amb. Terzi his honorary membership to the Tiro a segno Club ; The evening program
Atlanta Opera Company’s Il Trovatore VERDI’S IL TROVATORE featured a debut at the Atlanta Opera Company by the Italian Academy Foundation’s featured artist Laurence Harris ( see photo from the IAF Concert performatnce of Tosca on page 29) The baritone, whose style and grace on the stage was hailed by critics, appeared in New York for the first time under the auspices of the Italian Academy Foundation. Harris draws consistently high praise.
Larry harris as count di luna in il trovatore.
62 Face file
Face File Al Pacino
After one Oscar, three Golden Globes and one Leone d’Oro, Al Pacino receives the Marc’Aurelio Acting Award from the Rome Film Festival and kicks off the retrospective dedicated to him. by Laura Giacalone Pacino on film: Richard iii, Serpico, Scent of a woman, Godfather 1i
he third edition of the Rome Film Festival was opened by an exceptional guest: Al Pacino, who was called to Rome to collect the Marc’Aurelio Acting Award for the Actors Studio, the prestigious theatre workshop of which he is co-president, being welcomed by a festive crowd of fans and moviegoers. Pacino entered the Actors Studio when he was about 20, after leaving school and working his way through as a factory worker and shoeshine boy. Despite the enormous success he has reached over the years, he never forgets his humble origins: “I know I come from the streets and had no formal education, but I was brought up on many different writers, from Balzac to Shakespeare. I had no formal education, but I read this stuff, and it’s the Russians that I really felt. Reading saved my life.” Defining himself as a sort of a Chekhovian character, during his awesome career he interpreted many roles, from the mythical Mafia characters (Michael Corleone, Tony Montana and the ruthless gangster Big Boy Caprice) to their exact opposite: he was a cop (Serpico, Vincent Hanna), the devil in person (John Milton), and a king willing to give up an entire kingdom for a horse (Richard III). Chameleonic and strong-willed, according to Francis Ford Coppola he is also incredibly lazy. Referring to Pacino’s decision to turn down the role of Captain Willard in his Apocalypse Now, Coppola said: “Al wanted to make the movie, on condition that it run in his apartment.” When asked about his greatest fault, Pacino answers: “I am not sure, I have to think about it. Maybe I would have the same problem if I had to tell what my
greatest strength is. Perhaps they’re just the same thing.” He has always had a taste for the complexity and multiplicity of life, as well as of the roles he has chosen to perform, but he admits that over the years he has also learned the value of levity and irony: from Marlon Brando he confesses to have learned not to eat too much pistachio ice creams, and rather than as an actor, he would like to be remembered as the only man who lived to be 250 years old. But when it comes to love, he becomes quite evasive and prefers to quote Othello: “Perdition catch my soul, but I do love thee! And when I love thee not, chaos is come again.” Following in the footsteps of the other Acting Award recipients Sophia Loren and Sean Connery, at the opening of the Festival Al Pacino also participated in a meeting with the Festival public and the Italian journalists, where he commented on scenes from films chosen to demonstrate the unmistakable method of identification and subjective research that has been the ever-present hallmark of the Actors Studio style. He said that the best tip he could give about acting was “to rehearse”: “Learn your words, and how to rehearse, and then rehearse,” he told reporters ahead of the award ceremony. “My style is to allow the unconscious to be free, so you don’t censor yourself.” To the would-be actors he has much advise to offer: “The best way to make a strong impression during an audition? Not to show up at all!” – he jokes. When asked what’s the best thing in being an actor, the answer comes nice and easy: “The drink after the shooting, of course.” There’s no more to say. That’s Pacino’s Way.
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