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.

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.




19 April 2017

CIMA Members at the Friends ($100) level and above are invited to enjoy a private tour and prosecco aperitivo of the home and studio of sculptor Chaim Gross (1904-91), today the Renee & Chaim Gross Foundation, a member with CIMA of the SoHo Arts Network. This historic Greenwich Village townhouse and artist’s studio space remains as it was during Gross’ lifetime. In addition to some 10,000 works by Gross, including sculptures, drawings, and prints, the foundation maintains an extensive archive and Gross’s large personal collection of African, Oceanic, Pre-Columbia, American, and European art. We will also view the temporary exhibition, Building Identity: Chaim Gross and Artists’ Homes and Studios in New York City, 1953-74.

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.

The Disquieting Muses: An Evening of Poetry Inspired by de Chirico

10 April 2017

In celebration of National Poetry Month, join us Monday April 10 for a special evening of ekphrastic poetry* inspired by Giorgio de Chirico, subject of the current exhibition at the Center for Italian Modern Art. De Chirico’s painting Le Muse Inquietanti (The Disquieting Muses) of 1918, in particular — now on view at CIMA — inspired works by both Sylvia Plath and Mark Strand.

Poet Mark Wunderlich will read Sylvia Plath’s poems inspired by de Chirico’s paintings as well as a new work composed for the occasion. Jessica Strand will read Mark Strand’s poems inspired by de Chirico and speak of the role of art in her late father’s work. And poets Michael Dumanis and Mary Jo Bang will also read work inspired by de Chirico’s paintings.

*ekphrastic poetry is writing created in response to works of art.


Presented in collaboration with the Civitella Ranieri Foundation and with the generous support of the Maurice English Poetry Award. (more…)

Contemporary Perspectives on de Chirico: Lisa Yuskavage, Stephen Ellis, and Matvey Levenstein

21 March 2017

Join us for a special evening as CIMA Fellow Giovanni Casini leads a conversation on Giorgio de Chirico with artists Lisa Yuskavage, Stephen Ellis, and Matvey Levenstein.

Giorgio de Chirico’s wide-ranging body of work, especially his neo-baroque late paintings, has historically baffled critics, and the often contradictory developments of his long artistic career have made it difficult to situate his work within established narratives of modernism. MoMA’s 1982 retrospective, held a few years after the artist’s death, neatly omitted or discounted some two-thirds of the artist’s career, choosing to highlight the Metaphysical period — and showing how problematic the definition of a late de Chirico is. These later works, however, with their dense art historical references, methods of replication or (self-)citation, and ironic approach to painting, have drawn the eye of many contemporary practitioners (including of course Giulio Paolini, one of the subjects of CIMA’s exhibition). The blatantly kitsch taste of de Chirico’s late self-portraits, together with the negation of originality and uniqueness, as well as his pursuit of appropriation and the copy became especially relevant in relation to artistic practices developed in the 1980s.

$10 guests; free for CIMA members and students with valid ID




Program Schedule and Artist Biographies:



07 March 2017

CIMA Members are invited to join us for an exclusive tour, outside of public hours, of “Marisa Merz: The Sky is a Great Space” at the Met Breuer, led by the exhibition curator Ian Alteveer, Associate Curator in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art. This exhibition is the first major retrospective in the United States of works by the Turin-based artist (b. 1926), the sole female protagonist of the Arte Povera movement. Spanning five decades of work, the show includes exquisite examples of her early experiments with nontraditional art materials and processes, such as her hand-worked knitted copper wire objects; mid-career installation works; and the emblematic teste or heads that she began creating in the mid-1970s. 

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.