Bruno Munari: The Lightness of Art

18 September 2018

Bruno Munari: The Lightness of Art: A book launch and conversation with co-editor Pierpaolo Antonello, contributing authors Nicola Lucchi, Ara H. Merjian, Maria Antonella Pelizzari, and panel discussants Greg D’Onofrio and Steven Guarnaccia

Dubbed a ‘Leonardo Da Vinci and Peter Pan’ of the modern world, Bruno Munari played a key role in practices as wide ranging as concrete abstraction, kinetic art, multiples and xerograph art. He also gained international recognition in industrial and graphic design, through signature objects such as his Falkland lamp (1964) and Abitacolo (1971), advertising material for firms including Campari, and editorial work for Domus and publishing houses such as Einaudi and Bompiani. Munari left an indelible mark as a design theorist and as a children’s author and educator, through the artistic laboratories he toured globally from the mid-1970s.

Bruno Munari: The Lightness of Art (Peter Lang, 2017) constitutes an unprecedented study of the artist. Through original archival research and illuminating comparisons with other artists and movements both within and outside Italy (from Dada and surrealism to Lucio Fontana, Paolo Gilardi and structural cinema), the essays gathered in this volume offer novel readings of both more familiar aspects of Munari’s career (such as his photo-essays of the 1930s and 1940s) and heretofore neglected aspects (including his light projections and performances). Pierpaolo Antonello will introduce this evening, which coincides with the twentieth anniversary of Munari’s death; his discussion will be followed by short presentations from the evening’s panelists, Nicola Lucchi, Ara H. Merjian, and Maria Antonella PelizzariGreg D’Onofrio, and Steven Guarnaccia.


Please note: CIMA will be live-streaming the program on our Facebook page.

Program schedule:

6pm: Doors open and books for sale

6:10pm: Introduction

6:15pm: Program begins, followed by audience Q&A

7:30pm: Program concludes and books for sale

8pm: Evening concludes

Speaker biographies: (more…)

Alberto Savinio’s “Les chants de la mi-mort”

21 June 2018

At ISSUE Project Room: 22 Boerum Place, Brooklyn, NY 11201

U.S. premiere of Alberto Savinio’s “Les chants de la mi-mort” with new work by Nick Hallett

Thursday, June 21st, ISSUE Project Room, in partnership with CIMA, presents an evening of experimental opera curated by Lauren Rosati. The program features the first American re-staging of Alberto Savinio’s 1914 avant-garde operetta Les chants de la mi-mort (Songs of the Half-Dead) and the New York City concert premiere of the latest scene in composer-vocalist Nick Hallett’s serial opera, To Music. The performances take place prior to the final weekend of CIMA’s critically acclaimed Alberto Savinio exhibition.


Photos: Jay Isolini courtesy ISSUE Project Room

Originally staged in the offices of Apollinaire’s review Les Soirées des Paris on May 21st, 1914, where it was performed in French and Italian, Savinio’s Les chants de la mi-mort centers around a family drama during the period of the nineteenth-century Italian Risorgimento. Savinio intended this intermedia work, which combined music, literature, theatre, set design, and costumes, as a kind of Gesamtkunstwerk: a total work of art. The operetta’s characters (among them “a mad king” and “the bald man”) and scenic descriptions (including a tower, an equestrian statue, and cannon) inspired the metaphysical paintings of de Chirico. The dramatic text, as well as the piano score, incorporate noises and lighting effects—the sound of artillery fire, the flashing beam of a lighthouse—which are hallmarks of early Italian Futurist theater. The theme of this dissonant, absurdist operetta has very little to do with the Risorgimento itself; rather, its subject matter and mood pertains to Savinio’s conception of “half-death”: a state suspended between dream and reality, requiring an expansion of one’s faculties of perception to understand the world. While documentation of the original costumes and sets has been lost, and there is no information on the relationship between the music and libretto, this modern reconstruction of Les chants de la mi-mort relies on extant materials and primary sources to reimagine the production for new audiences.

The operetta will be presented in two acts: first, a dramatic reading of the libretto by mezzo-soprano Lucy Dhegrae and baritone Mario Diaz-Moresco, with an original video by Reid Farrington and a score of noises by percussionist Clara Warnaar; and second, a premiere performance of the original score by the pianist Kathleen Supové, with vocals by Dhegrae and Diaz-Moresco and additional percussion by Warnaar. The whole production runs 40-50 minutes.

In line with CIMA’s mission to present contemporary artists alongside the work of modern Italian artists, and in the spirit of inter-generational creative dialogue, this evening’s presentation of Savinio’s 1914 opera will also include the New York City concert premiere of the latest scene in composer-vocalist Nick Hallett’s opera-in-process, To Music, a dark comedy that looks at the nature of inspiration and originality through the cautionary tale of a fictional composer’s behavior on social media—a portrait of the artist on Facebook.


Isabella Rossellini in conversation with Yasmine Ergas

06 June 2018

Fifty years after 1968, Yasmine Ergas and Isabella Rossellini reflect on this tumultuous moment in Italian life, culture, and politics. Exchanging personal stories alongside photographs and documents from the women’s movement, these two life-long friends will reflect on the legacy of this important chapter in Italian history. The conversation will conclude with a question-and-answer period with the audience.



Isabella Rossellini is an actress, filmmaker, author, and model. She has a keen interest in animals and wildlife conservation; she recently completed a 50-city tour with a monologue based on her award-winning series of shorts, Green PornoSeduce Me, and Mammas. She is also completing her Masters in Animal Behavior and Conservation at Hunter College. Her book about raising heritage chickens at her farm in Long Island, which is run in association with the Peconic Land Trust, has just been published by Abrams.

Yasmine Ergas is a lawyer and sociologist. The founding director of the Specialization in Gender & Public Policy at Columbia University, she is also the co-founder and co-chair of Columbia University Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies Council, Senior Advisor to the Institute for the Study of Human Rights, and a member of the University’s Committee on Global Thought. She recently co-edited Reassembling Motherhood: Procreation and Care in a Globalized World (Columbia University Press, 2017).


Reflections by the editor: Paola Gribaudo on art publishing

15 May 2018

Reflections by the editor: Paola Gribaudo on art publishing

From Alberto Savinio to Picasso from Hans Hofmann to Basquiat, Paola Gribaudo has been responsible for publishing over 1,000 books by artists, architects, and writers to audiences around the world. Join us for this special evening of her reflections on her diverse projects, including art books, biographies, exhibition catalogues, and catalogues raisonné on the occasion of the book signing of: Barbara Tutino, Paola Gribaudo: A Thousand and One of These Books. (Skira, 2018)

“The gestation of a book recalls that of a creature: the birth occurs when you pick the book up with both hands, one on top and the other underneath, and then you open it to smell the smell of the printer’s shop and the paper. This tender gesture is the same as a First Holy Communion, when the emotions of the author, the publisher, and the reader are indistinguishable, like water flowing in a system with communicating vessels. A small ceremony, I’d say, that you never tire of because while it is true that the life of humans can be tiring, it is never tiring enough to want to wipe out the desire to start over again from scratch. Paola helped give birth to many, so many books, and for this we are filled with gratitude.”
– Eugenio Alberti Schatz

Free, reservations required.


Program schedule:

6pm – registration and viewing of Alberto Savinio

6:20pm – conversation program, followed by Q&A

7:30pm – program concludes, viewing of exhibition

8pm – doors close

“The Ruin of Kasch”: A Night with Roberto Calasso

10 May 2018

For more than three decades, Roberto Calasso—publisher of Italy’s esteemed Adelphi Edizioni—has been composing a multi-volume work-in-progress, the individual parts of which deal with highly diverse subjects, yet are closely interconnected. In exhilarating and original books such as The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony, Ka, and K., Calasso has delved into Greek mythology, the work of Franz Kafka, and ancient Hindu lore, among other topics.

Join CIMA and Farrar, Straus and Giroux for a rare opportunity to hear Calasso discuss his work here in the United States, on the occasion of the publication of a new English translation by Richard Dixon of The Ruin of Kasch, the book that launched Calasso’s ambitious series. First published in Italian in 1983, The Ruin of Kasch is one of those rare works that helps us see our entire civilization in a new light. A deep excavation of the history of the French Revolution, with forays backward and forward in time, The Ruin of Kasch is both a labyrinth and a treasure chest, a book about nothing less than the birth of modernity.

Note: This program will feature a conversation between Calasso and author Lila Azam Zanganeh. It is the second of two evenings featuring Roberto Calasso at CIMA. On May 9, Calasso will discuss the writings of Alberto Savinio with Jonathan Galassi, President and Publisher of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, in conjunction with CIMA’s current exhibition.



Roberto Calasso is the publisher of Adelphi Edizioni, and the author of books such as The Ruin of Kasch, The Marriage of Cadmus and HarmonyKaLa Folie Baudelaire, The Forty-nine Steps, and The Art of the Publisher, among others. He lives in Milan.

Lila Azam Zanganeh is the author of The Enchanter: Nabokov and Happiness, published in 2011. Azam Zanganeh has taught literature, cinema, and Romance languages at Harvard University, and has contributed articles to The New York Times Le Monde, and la Repubblica, and The Paris Review, for which she interviewed Roberto Calasso in 2012. She was born in Paris, and currently divides her time between New York and London.

Roberto Calasso and Jonathan Galassi

09 May 2018

Join us for a rare opportunity to hear Roberto Calasso discuss the work of Alberto Savinio in conversation with Jonathan Galassi, president of Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Calasso is the publisher of Adelphi Edizioni, the Milan editorial house that has over the last forty years embarked on a rigorous project to re-issue Alberto Savinio’s literary oeuvre. Adelphi has to date published some 23 books by the author including, in 1977, the Nuova Enciclopedia—a remarkable and highly original personal encyclopedia with entries ranging from the god Apollo to Josephine Baker, which Savinio worked on throughout the 1940s until his premature death in 1952.

Note: This program is the first of two evenings featuring Roberto Calasso at CIMA, co-presented with Farrar Straus and Giroux and with the support of the Maurice English Poetry Award.

On May 10, Calasso will discuss FSG’s newly issued edition of The Ruin of Kaschtranslated by Richard Dixon, with author Lila Azam Zanganeh. The book will be available for purchase and signing both evenings.


Roberto Calasso is the publisher of Adelphi Edizioni, and the author of books such as The Ruin of Kasch, The Marriage of Cadmus and HarmonyKaLa Folie BaudelaireThe Forty-nine Steps, and The Art of the Publisher, among others. He lives in Milan.

Jonathan Galassi is the president and publisher of Farrar, Straus and Giroux. The author of three volumes of poetry and a novel, he is also highly regarded as a translator of Italian poetry, in particular the work of Eugenio Montale and Giacomo Leopardi.

Remembering 1968: Richard Nonas, Nicholas Fox Weber, Laura Mattioli

08 May 2018

2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the year that has become a symbol in Western history of an era of revolutionary political protest and social change. Join us for a special evening with artist Richard Nonas in conversation with Nicholas Fox Weber, Executive Director of the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, and Laura Mattioli, Founder and President of CIMA, as they share memories of and reflect on the import and legacy of 1968.

The month of May in particular marks the 50th anniversary of the student protests in Paris, an uprising that shut down the capital and soon spread to the rest of the country, spurring the occupation of universities and a general strike involving millions of workers. The sculptor Richard Nonas was in Paris at the time, a participant in the protests; Nicholas Fox Weber was at Columbia in the spring of 1968, where student demonstrations closed the campus, and Laura Mattioli was a student at the Liceo Parini, a center of the protests in Milan.

Free, reservations required.


Program schedule:

6pm – registration and viewing of Alberto Savinio

6:20pm – conversation program, followed by Q&A

7:30pm – program concludes, viewing of exhibition

8pm – doors close


Alberto Savinio Study Days

28 April 2018

Day 1: Friday, April 27 (2pm – 5pm; prosecco aperitivo; keynote talk at 6pm)
Day 2: Saturday, April 28 (10:30am – 6pm)

CIMA hosts the Alberto Savinio Study Days on Friday and Saturday, April 27 and 28, 2018. These annual events offer an opportunity for CIMA’s fellows to share their new research alongside other scholars, in the intimate, collaborative environs of the exhibition space—a rare opportunity to discuss the artist’s career while surrounded by numerous examples of his work.

The Alberto Savinio Study Days aim to further investigate the major themes of the exhibition, as well as to offer new insights into the general debate on Savinio’s complex oeuvre, in sessions conceived by the 2017-2018 CIMA Fellows following an open call for papers.


FULL PROGRAM SCHEDULE BELOW.  For abstracts of the papers and bios of their authors, click here.


Savinio’s Laboratory: A Journey with Paola Italia

27 April 2018

As part of the ALBERTO SAVINIO STUDY DAYS, CIMA is pleased to welcome Savinio expert Paola Italia from Rome to present her keynote from 6pm – 7:30pm:

A “creative power-station”: A journey into Savinio’s laboratory through manuscripts, papers, and drafts

Wanderer of the imagination, alchemist of the word, unable to give expression to his extraordinary creativity through one single art, Alberto Savinio left in his papers a precious testimony to his phenomenal intellect. On the centennial of Hermaphrodito (Florence, 1918), Paola Italia takes CIMA’s audience on an exclusive journey into Savinio’s creative process: she will open the doors of the writer’s archive, preserved in Historical Contemporary Archive “A. Bonsanti” at the Vieusseux Archive in Florence, and share excerpts from his manuscripts, papers, and book drafts, providing insight into not only Savinio’s working methods but also the secrets of his creativity.

Paola Italia is Associate Professor of Italian Literature and Philology at the University of Bologna. Her research is devoted to 19th– and 20th-century Italian literature language and philology, including modern authors methods of writing and editing. Italia earned her Ph.D. in 1998 from the University of Pisa with her dissertation on Alberto Savinio’s early works (Il Pellegrino appassionato), and has expanded scholarship on the author through subsequent publications. Celebrated for her texts on writers including Leopardi, Manzoni, Bassani, Gadda, Manganelli, Italia has also been recognized for her teaching at the Universities of Magonza, Siena and Rome La Sapienza.

Program schedule:

The event will be preceded by a prosecco aperitivo at 5:30pm. Presentation begins at 6pm, followed by a Q&A.

Free for students with valid ID and CIMA members; $10 general admission. Your entry for this evening program also entitles you to come earlier in the day to join any part of the Study Day afternoon program.



Ruggero Savinio: Reflections on his Father

25 April 2018

Join us for a special evening with Ruggero Savinio, son of the artist, in conversation with CIMA Fellow Giulia Tulino, sharing memories of his father and his uncle Giorgio de Chirico (subject of CIMA’s 2016-17 exhibition season), insights into his father’s practice, and how his father’s work shaped him as an artist.

Please note this conversation will be presented in Italian, with Sara Fruner serving as translator.

Free; RSVP required.



Program schedule:

6pm – registration and viewing of Alberto Savinio

6:20pm – conversation program, followed by Q&A

7:30pm – program concludes, viewing of exhibition

8pm – doors close

Ruggero Savinio (b. 1934) is a painter and writer and the head of the Archivio Savinio. After graduating in literature from La Sapienza in Rome, he lived for many years in Paris, returning to settle in Rome in the mid-1980s. His work has been shown in numerous galleries at home and abroad, and in 2012 he was given a solo exhibition at the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna in Rome.

Giulia Tulino received her Ph.D. in contemporary art history from La Sapienza, University of Rome, in 2017 for her dissertation, La galleria dell’Obelisco e il surrealismo a Roma 1940-1960, and has published two additional essays about the gallery. Since 2015, Tulino has been curator of the Jacorossi Collection, Rome, which holds over three thousand art works of Italian contemporary art. She is also currently curator at MUSIA, Rome.

Sara Fruner is a writer, editor, and literary translator living and working in New York. A contributor to La Voce di New York, she is also a published poet, founder of a blog on cinema, and a freelance commissioning editor and literary translator for Giunti Editore and other publishing houses in Italy.