March 30, 2023, 6:00 PM
General admission: $15. Members and Students: Free
Meet author Raffaele Bedarida as he presents his latest book Exhibiting Italian Art in the United States from Futurism to Arte Povera (Routledge, 2022).
Bedarida will illustrates how Italian institutions, dealers, critics, and artists constructed a modern national identity for Italy by exporting – literally and figuratively – contemporary art to the United States in key moments between 1929 and 1969. From artist Fortunato Depero opening his Futurist House in New York City to critic Germano Celant launching Arte Povera in the United States, Raffaele Bedarida examines the thick web of individuals and cultural environments beyond the two more canonical movements that shaped this project. By interrogating standard narratives of Italian Fascist propaganda on the one hand and American Cold War imperialism on the other, his book establishes a more nuanced transnational approach. The central thesis is that, beyond the immediate aims of political propaganda and conquering a new market for Italian art, these art exhibitions, publications, and the critical discourse aimed at American audiences all reflected back on their makers: they forced and helped Italians define their own modernity in relation to the world’s new dominant cultural and economic power.
Raffaele Bedarida, associate professor or Art History at Cooper Union, is an art historian and curator specializing in transnational modernism and politics. Since he joined The Cooper Union full-time faculty in 2016, he has coordinated the History and Theory of Art program. Bedarida holds a Ph.D. from the Art History Department of the CUNY Graduate Center, New York as well as M.A. and B.A. degrees in Art History from the Università degli Studi di Siena, Italy. His research has focused on cultural diplomacy, migration, and exchange between Italy and the United States. He has also worked on exhibition history, censorship, and propaganda under Fascism and during the Cold War, from Futurism to Arte Povera. Since 2008, when he founded and curated the residency program Harlem Studio Fellowship in New York, Bedarida has actively promoted programs of international exchange for emerging artists. In addition to his academic and curatorial activities, Bedarida has regularly lectured on modern and contemporary art topics at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and MoMA. Bedarida has authored three monographs: Bepi Romagnoni: Il Nuovo Racconto (Milan: Silvana, 2005); Corrado Cagli: la pittura, l’esilio, l’America (Rome: Donzelli, 2018; English edition: CPL Editions, in press); Exhibiting Italian Art in the US. Futurism to Arte Povera (London-New York: Routledge, 2022). He has also edited many volumes, among which: Methodologies of Exchange: Twentieth Century Italian Art at MoMA, 1949, with Davide Colombo and Silvia Bignami, special issue of Italian Modern Art, January 2020; Gianfranco Baruchello: Painters Ain’t Butterflies (Macerata: Quodlibet, 2021); Curating Fascism: Exhibitions and Memory from the Fall of Mussolini to Today, with Sharon Hecker (London-New York: Bloomsbury, 2022). His academic articles and essays have been published extensively in periodicals, such as Oxford Art Journal, International Yearbook of Futurism Studies, Italian Modern Art, and Artforum, and in exhibition catalogues. Bedarida’s upcoming publications is: Author, Corrado Cagli: Exile, Painting, America 1938-1947, monograph (New York: Primo Levi Center Editions, in press).