18 May 2017

Art and Identity: Rethinking the Construction and Reception of Giorgio de Chirico and Giulio Paolini

The Center for Italian Modern Art is pleased to host its Giorgio de Chirico – Giulio Paolini Study Days on May 18 and 19, 2017. Each year CIMA’s exhibition serves as a platform to present state-of-the- field research and new ideas, with special attention to younger scholars. This year, the two-day event, Art and Identity: Rethinking the Construction and Reception of Giorgio de Chirico and Giulio Paolini—which addresses ideas around the construction of artistic identity and the reception of these two artists. Giorgio de Chirico and Giulio Paolini—has been organized by the 2016-17 CIMA fellows: Maria Bremer, Fabio Cafagna, Giovanni Casini, and Sophia Maxine Farmer.

CIMA’s fourth annual exhibition explores the ties between the founder of Metaphysical painting, Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978), and leading conceptual artist Giulio Paolini (b. 1940). It brings to the fore their shared themes and Paolini’s numerous references to de Chirico’s persona and oeuvre. The 40-some paintings, photo canvases, installations, and works on paper on view highlight both the lasting relevance of de Chirico’s multifaceted oeuvre and its meaningful integration into post-war conceptual practices. Beyond the immediate evidence of recurring motifs, a crucial common thread between de Chirico and Paolini lies in both artists’ relentless shaping and reshaping of their identity as artists.

The Study Days will illuminate the intricate relationship between self and work, the classical repertoire that de Chirico and Paolini draw upon, and the medial and material conditions through which they articulate their agenda; it will also explore issues of reception and how artistic identity is negotiated within various art worlds—art criticism, art history and the market alike.

Free, with recommended contribution $15, which includes entry for both days, lunch on Thursday and a reception on Friday. CIMA members free. 

Presented with the support of the Fondazione Giulio e Anna Paolini.



Day ONE: Thursday, May 18 (10am – 6pm)
Day TWO: Friday, May 19 (2pm-6pm, followed by reception)

PROGRAM SCHEDULE (subject to change)  (more…)

The de Chirico Brothers

16 May 2017

Join us for an in-depth look at the de Chirico brothers, Giorgio de Chirico and his younger brother, Alberto Savinio—one the subject of this season’s exhibition at CIMA and the other the subject of CIMA’s next exhibition season (2017-18), opening in October 2017. Former CIMA 2015-16 Fellow Nicol Mocchi joins us to discuss her new book, La cultura dei fratelli de Chirico agli albori dell’arte metafisica. Milano e Firenze 1909-1911 (Milan, Archivio dell’Arte Metafisica, 2017) (The Culture of the de Chirico Brothers at the Dawn of Metaphysical Painting). She will be in conversation with current CIMA Fellow Sophia Maxine Farmer.

Mocchi’s book guides us through the cultural explorations undertaken by the de Chirico brothers during the most important phase of their artistic collaboration, the period around the creation of Metaphysical Painting. Based on a systematic study of the books borrowed or consulted by the de Chirico brothers in the libraries of Milan and Florence between 1909 and 1911, this book allows us to deepen our understanding not only of the artistic production of these two artists, but also of their musical and literary activities.

Nicol Maria Mocchi is an Italian art historian specialized in 19th- and 20th-century art, dealing specifically with the relationships and exchanges between different visual cultures. Since 2010, she has collaborated with the Archivio dell’Arte Metafisica and with Milan’s Superintendency for Archeology, Fine Arts and Landscape. In 2016, she was a Fellow at the Center for Italian Modern Art working on the reception, visual success, and critical fortunes of Giorgio Morandi’s œuvre in the United States, leading up to the 1940s.


Members Only: Carlo Zinelli (1916–1974) at the American Folk Art Museum

10 May 2017

CIMA Members are invited to join us at the American Folk Art Museum for an exclusive tour of the first museum exhibition on Carlo Zinelli (1916–1974) in the United States, coinciding with the one-hundredth anniversary of the birth of this revered and distinctive Italian artist.

The show highlights four distinct phases in Zinelli’s oeuvre and new scholarship, through a selection of fifty-five paintings (many displayed double-sided), audio recordings of Zinelli, a film, and images by Life magazine photographer John Phillips. The exhibition brings together artworks from the American Folk Art Museum and other private and public collections from the United States and abroad, notably the Collection de l’Art Brut, Lausanne, the Fondazione Culturale Carlo Zinelli, Verona, and the collection of Audrey B. Heckler, New York.

CIMA Members will receive a private invitation link to RSVP for this event

Not a CIMA Member? Join us! 

Members receive free admission to CIMA, access outside of regular public hours, a copy of the annual catalogue, and invitations to exclusive events and receptions.

Carlo Zinelli, Untitled, 1961; gouache on paper, 19.75 x 27.5 inches (photo by Henri Germond © Collection de l’Art Brut)

CIMA IN DC! Giorgio de Chirico at the Italian Embassy

09 May 2017


Laura Mattioli in conversation with Renato Miracco

The Embassy of Italy and the Italian Culture Institute in Washington DC welcome Laura Mattioli, the founder/president of the Center for Italian Modern Art (CIMA) in New York City, where the exhibition “Giorgio de Chirico – Giulio Paolini / Giulio Paolini – Giorgio de Chirico” is currently on view through June 24th. This exhibition, which features several Metaphysical masterpieces by de Chirico not seen in the United States in nearly half a century, alongside rarely seen later works by the artist, offers a new view of de Chirico—long perceived as the father of Surrealism—by looking at him through the eyes of a conceptual artist, leading contemporary artist Giulio Paolini, who has found inspiration in de Chirico’s work for very different reasons. Ms. Mattioli will be in conversation with Cultural Attache Renato Miracco discussing de Chirico’s fortunes in the United States, Paolini’s reading of de Chirico, and the exhibition currently at CIMA.

CIMA’s director Heather Ewing will offer a brief introduction to the Center for Italian Modern Art (CIMA), a non-profit research and exhibition center established in 2013 to promote new scholarship and dialogue around Italian twentieth-century art—through its annual exhibition, an international fellowship program, and a wide variety of public programming. This exhibition is the fourth at CIMA, following seasons dedicated to the Futurist Fortunato Depero (1892-1960), the sculptor Medardo Rosso (1858-1928), and the master painter and printmaker Giorgio Morandi (1890-1964).


Embassy of Italy – Auditorium
3000 Whitehaven St, NW
Washington, DC 20008




Other Avant-Gardes: Carol Rama, Marisa Merz, and Radical Art-Making in 1960s Italy

04 May 2017

CIMA is pleased to co-present a program hosted at the New Museum, organized in connection with their new exhibition Carol Rama: Antibodies, and in collaboration with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, currently showing Marisa Merz: The Sky Is a Great Space, on view at the Met Breuer. CIMA Members are entitled to a discounted friends & family rate.

This panel brings together scholars and curators to discuss the work of such luminaries as Carol Rama, Marisa Merz, and other artists from 1960s Italy, and is co-presented by the Met Breuer, the Center for Italian Modern Art, and the New Museum.

The New Museum’s exhibition “Carol Rama: Antibodies” and the Met Breuer’s exhibition “Marisa Merz: The Sky Is a Great Space” give long-overdue attention to two distinct artists who might be said to occupy, in the words of critic and curator Lea Vergine, “the other half of the avant-garde.” Addressing the cultural and sociopolitical landscape of 1960s Italy, this panel will consider how Rama and Merz, and other artists of their shared milieu, flourished despite the dominant masculinity of Arte Povera. Participants will address and rework the often tightly knit narrative of art that emerged from Italy in the 1960s, considering practices that variously invested in the body, domesticity, emotion, myth, and even pop culture.

Participants include Ian Alteveer, Curator, the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Claire Gilman, Senior Curator, the Drawing Center; Massimiliano Gioni, Edlis Neeson Artistic Director, New Museum; and Cristina Mundici, Art Historian, Archivio Carol Rama.

Please note: The program will take place at the New Museum on 235 Bowery.


Free Open House – Soho Arts Network’s Downtown Culture Walk

29 April 2017

Downtown Culture Walk is a self-guided walking tour presented by the SoHo Arts Network (SAN), highlighting the non-profit art spaces in the SoHo and downtown neighborhoods.

On Saturday, April 29, members of SAN will open their doors for the Downtown Culture Walk, inviting participants to discover the non-profit art spaces in the neighborhood. Walkthroughs, talks, open hours, and other programming will be offered throughout the day for free or reduced admission.

CIMA will host a free open house from 11am to 6pm.

At 3pm, there will be a conversation program with pioneering SoHo gallerist Annina Nosei and CIMA Fellow Fabio Cafagna. The program will touch upon the history of Annina Nosei’s gallery in SoHo in the 1980s and especially her relationship with Italian artists.

Free; no RSVP required.

Art in America is the media partner of the Downtown Culture Walk.


About the SoHo Arts Network:

The SoHo Arts Network (SAN) fosters collaboration between non-profit arts institutions and artistic leaders within the area of New York City’s SoHo neighborhood. Founded in 2014 by non-profit arts organizations, the network celebrates the rich history of SoHo’s unique creative community and advances the neighborhood’s continued cultural contributions to the lives of both residents and visitors. Further, it provides an important platform to increase awareness of the neighborhood’s continued importance as an arts district.

Members Only: A Special Italian Baking Demonstration by Chocolatier Pietro Macellaro at the International Culinary Center

28 April 2017

CIMA Members are invited to join famed Pasticcere and Master Chocolatier Pietro Macellaro as he demontrates how he creates his special summer dessert, the “Cake Virginia”, which will soon be on the spring/summer menus at Il Gattopardo and The Leopard at des Artistes. 

After the demonstration, Chef Macellaro will also invite each guest to sample his award-winning Italian chocolates, which are made on his property in beautiful, rural Cilento.

CIMA Members will receive a private invitation link to RSVP for this event

Not a CIMA Member? Join us! 

Members receive free admission to CIMA, access outside of regular public hours, a copy of the annual catalogue, and invitations to exclusive events and receptions.

Giorgio de Chirico’s Willful Claustrophilia

26 April 2017

Join us for a special talk on Giorgio de Chirico’s “willful claustrophilia” with Ara H. Merjian, professor of Italian Studies at New York University and author of the recent book, Giorgio de Chirico and the Metaphysical City: Nietzsche, Paris, Modernism.


With wooden fragments pressed close to the picture plane and set in shallow, cloistered spaces, Giorgio de Chirico’s so-called “Metaphysical Interiors” from Ferrara (1915-18) seem resigned to confinement. In his mid-century monograph, James Thrall Soby described the scenes as “still lifes …for which the word ‘claustrophobic’ does not seem too strong.” This description has stuck to de Chirico’s interiors ever since: a convenient counterpart to the presumed agoraphobia of his pre-war piazzas. A close reading of the paintings and their philosophical sympathies, however, tells a different story. And it is a story of willful claustrophilia.


“My room,” de Chirico wrote from Ferrara, “is a magnificent ship in which I can set off on adventures worthy of a stubborn explorer.” Even leaving aside the nautical pennants and maps that punctuate several paintings, these interiors posit the still and the static as means to exploration; they insist upon the willful constriction of space as the only path to mental transcendence. Continuing his self-appointed apprenticeship to Friedrich Nietzsche, de Chirico insisted in word and image upon the liberation of finitude. What Nietzsche called “the prison-house of language” forms not a hampering limitation, but rather – for a select few initiates – a means to far-flung exploration. Merjian argues that the unrelenting interiority of de Chirico’s Metaphysical still lifes burrows into the building blocks of architecture as a site of mental adventure, beginning with the wooden support of the canvas itself.

Free; RSVP required.


Ara H. Merjian is Associate Professor of Italian Studies at New York University, where he is an affiliate of the Institute of Fine Arts and the Department of Art History, as well as Director of Undergraduate Studies. He received his B.A. from Yale University and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of Giorgio de Chirico and the Metaphysical City: Nietzsche, Paris, Modernism (Yale University Press, My 2014), which garnered a College Art Associations Meiss/Mellon’s Author Award, as well as the forthcoming volume, Against the Avant-garde: Pier Paolo Pasolini, Art and Politics, 1960-75, for which he received a Creative Capital/Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant.

CIMA Kids! A New Family Program at the Center for Italian Modern Art

22 April 2017

The Center for Italian Modern Art is pleased to announce a new series of family programs led by artists, museum educators, and our scholars in residence. By incorporating guided conversation with close looking and a workshop activity, children develop meaningful relationships to art in an intimate exhibition environment.

What Makes You You? 

For children ages 8-11

Description: Explore the exhibition Giorgio de Chirico / Giulio Paolini – Giulio Paolini / Giorgio de Chirico and discover how two different artists deal with self-portraiture and repetition. How do these two artists use fashion, objects, symbols and gestures to communicate their identity? How can we access near and distant histories to tell stories about who we are now and where we come from?

Workshop: Working with artisanal papers, magazines and crayons, participants will use their newfound knowledge from the exhibition to make their own self-expression, working around the question: What makes you you?

Pre-Assignment: Please bring in a printed self-portrait 8.5×11 inches (standard paper size)




New York, NY: Italian Art – A New Exhibition

19 April 2017

About “New York New York. Italian Art: The Rediscovery of America,” a new exhibition in Milan

Join us to learn about a new exhibition opening this month in Milan at the Museo Novecento, New York, New York: Italian Art: The Rediscovery of America—which explores the contacts that Italian artists had with the United States in the 20th century and the role they played in the gradual internationalization of the art world. Former CIMA Fellow Raffaele Bedarida, now a professor at Cooper Union, will be in conversation with the curator of the exhibition, Francesco Tedeschi, a professor at the Università Cattolica in Milan.

The exhibition explores the relationship with the United States experienced by artists such as Fortunato Depero, Giorgio de Chirico, Lucio Fontana, Alberto Burri, Mimmo Rotella, and Ugo Mulas—covering movements from Futurism to Pop Art. Touching on some crucial moments in the lives and works of the protagonists of the show, the conversation at CIMA will focus on the importance of cultural exchange across the Atlantic and look at Americanism in the construction of Italy’s national identity as the United States emerged as a global power.