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“Contemporary Art Day” in the United States

Giornata del Contemporaneo negli Stati Uniti
Giornata del Contemporaneo negli Stati Uniti

“This year’s ‘Contemporary Art Day’ offers the unique opportunity to address, in a different way, complex and increasingly topical issues such as sustainability and climate change”, Italy’s Ambassador to the United States, Mariangela Zappia, said. “Italy’s commitment in addressing these challenges while promoting more environment-friendly practices is to be seen in all activity sectors,” the Ambassador added, “and occasions such as this review allow us to look to an open dialogue aimed at a shared vision of our future through the unique perspective of the lens of contemporary art”.

Starting on 8 October and throughout the following week, the Italian Embassy and the network of U.S. Consulates and Cultural Institutes will join in a wide range of initiatives and events for the 18th edition of ‘Contemporary Art Day’, an event promoted by the Association of Italian Contemporary Art Museums (AMACI) with the support of the Ministry of Culture.

The choice of this year’s main theme, Ecology, aims to foster a debate on the concept of environmental sustainability, in order to raise awareness about the need to rethink the art system, with a view on the climate crisis.

In Washington DC, the Italian Cultural Institute and the Italian Embassy present “4 ELEMENTS”, a video-mapping and piano project in collaboration with Italian artists from Imaginarium Studio, Francesca Pasquinucci and Davide Giannoni, and award-winning pianist Sun Hee You. Combining the music of Chopin, Casella, Liszt, Debussy, Vacchi and Hyung-Ki Joo with the sounds of gravitational waves captured by VIRGO and granted by EGO European Gravitational Observatory, “4 ELEMENTS” is a dreamlike and enchanted journey, full of legendary anecdotes and references to science and philosophy. Music and images guide us to discover the connections between the four elements (fire, water, air, earth) and human beings, so as to offer the audience some artistic food for thought regarding the crucial theme of the loss of environmental consciousness. The event will be followed by the projection of a video mapping created specifically for the Embassy’s exterior façade, accompanied by an original musical score by Giannoni.

The Italian Institute in New York, alongside Magazzino Italian Art and together with Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò at NYU, will host, until 25 November, “Margherita Raso: Vizio di Forma”, the Italian artist’s first exhibition in the United States, curated by Chiara Mannarino. Raso’s works are inspired by women’s craftsmanship, and in particular by weaving, which – from Penelope to Leopardi’s Silvia – has marked the female function, also acquiring magical-sacral aspects. Margherita Raso focuses on the theme of sustainability and urges us to rethink the social and temporal model that tends to erase that high craftsmanship, enhancing it and elevating it to a form of art that goes beyond its functional uses, in a world that ensures the sustainability of a dimension that is both human and natural, as opposed to the absolute dominance of technology. On 13 October, curator Mannarino offered a series of guided tours of the site-specific installation.

The Consulate General in Chicago, together with the Italian Cultural Institute, launched a series of lectures on the theme “Voices of Nature. Ecology and Nature in Italian Arts”, featuring the participation of Profesor Giovanni Aloi of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, an author and curator specialised in the representation of nature in modern and contemporary art, and Andrea Conte, director of ‘Andreco Studio’, who is involved in the research on the relationship between art, science and environmental issues.

The Consulate General of Italy in Philadelphia is organising a lecture on Giuseppe Penone’s exhibition “River of Forms: Giuseppe Penone’s Drawings”, open to the general public until 26 February 2023, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. On 13 October, Dr. Greer Pagano, professor, art historian and independent curator, held the lecture “Drawing us together: a consideration of Giuseppe Penone’s exhibition River of Forms”, during which she detailed the great Italian artist’s innovative work on the relationship between man and nature.

On 14 October, the Cultural Institute in Los Angeles is unveiling a site-specific installation by Maria Cristina Finucci, the world-famous Italian artist and architect known for creating and presenting the work “Garbage Patch State” at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris in 2013, to artistically report the problem of plastic in the seas. In Los Angeles, the artist creates the fluorescent installation “How about the 8%?” to shed light on ocean pollution caused by detergents, which, in the best-case scenario, are declared to be 92 percent organic. By recreating a water surface, a call for help from the oceans appears in the darkness, with the words “HELP”. The opening will be accompanied by a conversation between the artist and Marisa Caichiolo, who is an artist herself, as well as founder of the Building Bridges Art Exchange and curator of DIVERSEartLA.

The Italian Cultural Institute of San Francisco, along with the Consulate General, has organised a special guided tour on 12 October at the Italian American Museum’s contemporary art exhibition “ContemporaneARTE,” featuring works by maestros such as D’Orazio, Chia, Mimmo Paladino and Enrico Baj.