annual installation

The inaugural season at the Center for Italian Modern Art was devoted to the work of Italian artist Fortunato Depero (1892–1960). Throughout his career, Depero worked beyond the Futurist movement’s orthodoxy, engaging in fruitful dialogues with Dada and Metaphysical Painting, Esprit Nouveau and the Bauhaus, Valori Plastici and Art Deco. More than any other artist, Depero embodied Futurism’s desire to merge the boundaries between high and popular culture. He did so through non-traditional work, which included, besides painting and sculpture: furniture, industrial design, advertising, architecture, photography, tapestry, ballet scenography and costume design, and more.

Coinciding with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum’s landmark exhibition, Italian Futurism, 1909–1944: Reconstructing the Universe (February 21–September 1, 2014), CIMA’s exhibition introduced this multifaceted artist to an American audience and was the most comprehensive presentation of the artist’s work in New York since Depero’s residence in the city in the late 1920s. The exhibition featured more than fifty works, encompassing painting, sculpture, textiles, drawings, and more, drawn from the Gianni Mattioli collection. One room was dedicated to the display of Futurism’s first book-object—Depero’s “bolted” book, Depero Futurista (1927)—an experiment in typography that challenged the very idea of a book as cultural object and design product.

Public programming highlights included a conversation on Depero’s marionette theatre work with Dan Hurlin; a roundtable on Depero’s graphic design work with Steven Heller; and a Study Day exploring many facets of Depero’s career and legacy.

On view alongside the main Depero installation were two works by Fabio Mauri (1926-2009), including a video of the performance piece Gran Serata Futurista. CIMA hosted a Study Day on Fabio Mauri, an artist whose work explored the legacy of Futurism in light of Fascism, the horrors of WWII, and the Holocaust, which included the first U.S. staging of one of Mauri’s performances, L’Espressionista.








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