Written by CIMA’s Spring 2021 Intern Clara Apostolatos.
Last night, CIMA celebrated the end of summer session courses with a special evening event open to all university students in the city. Students from Columbia, Cooper Union, CUNY, NYU, Pace, Parsons, SUNY, SVA and more were invited to join us for a night of Italian art, music, and refreshments.
During his sojourn in New York City, Schifano became close friends with poet and curator Frank O’Hara, who introduced Schifano to many writers, intellectuals, musicians and artists in the city. Schifano’s encounter with the New York art scene allowed for many nights of lively social encounters surrounding themes of art, music and culture. We aimed to recreate an evening of animated discussion on art, filtered through the unique perspectives of students working from different fields.
A theme interwoven in the “Facing America: Mario Schifano 1940-45”exhibition is the allure and romanticization of New York City in the early postwar era. We hoped students, many of whom moved to the metropolis for school, would resonate with the appeal of New York’s endless inspiration and possibilities that prompted Schifano’s visit to New York.
Joined together by their eagerness to learn more about the 1960’s art scene in New York, our visitors found that many themes subjects represented in Schifano’s art echo life in the city today: New York City still carries many of the urban elements that inspired Schifano, such as mass media messaging (billboards, printed media, printed paper announcements), prevalence of cement and enamel in the urban landscape, and reproduction of pop culture imagery.
During last night’s gathering, CIMA fellow Marica Antonucci delivered two back-to-back guided tours at 7:00 and 8:00 pm of our current exhibition “Facing America”. In between tours, visitors gathered in the kitchen area to share pizza and refreshments, while listening to Italian music of the 1960’s by artists like Gino Paoli, Mina, and Mario Schifano himself. Visitors also had the chance to participate in an exhibition catalogue giveaway to take home a souvenir of the evening they spent at CIMA.