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Articles by: Roberta Cutillo

  • Facts & Stories

    An Ever-Expanding Guide to The World’s Top Pizza

    The goal of the editorial project ‘50 Top Pizza’ is to create the ultimate global map of quality pizza: a Bible for the pizza lovers of the world if you please. Its curators, economic geographer and food lover Barbara Guerra, sommelier and master cheese and oil taster Albert Sapere, and prominent food and wine writer Luciano Pignataro, are expanding this year’s edition by creating new categories for the top pizzerias outside of Italy.

     

    Their statement reads: “Pizza is a global phenomenon which, without relinquishing its appeal to the masses, is undergoing a significant evolution in terms of quality. We believe, therefore, that it is right to pay tribute to and to spotlight all of those individuals who, throughout the world, have been able to distinguish themselves for the quality of the product they offer.”

     

    This year’s ranking of the 50 Top European Pizzerias gave 1st place to Ciro Salvo’s London venue 50 Kalo (sister to the one in Naples who came in third place in the 2018 Italian ranking); 2nd place was awarded to Bijou, a Parisian restaurant owned by another Neapolitan Gennaro Nasti; and Copenhagen’s Bæst, owned by Sicilian-Danish chef Christian Puglisi, won 3rd place.

     

    Unsurprisingly, England, France and Germany are the three European countries - out of the 23 featured in the list - with the most high quality pizzerias, counting respectively ten, eight, and five.

     

    The nominees for five other international categories were announced: 50 TOP Neapolitan Pizza (out of Italy), 10 TOP Pizza in Africa, 10 TOP Pizza in Asia, 10 TOP Pizza in Oceania, and 10 TOP Pizza in Japan, the results of which will be announced on July 23.

     

    The ranking of the 50 top in North America will be revealed on June 27th during a special event in New York. On this occasion, the nominees for Best Pizzeria in South America and the Best Pizzeria in Brazil will also be announced.

     

    The project does however remain deeply anchored in Italy where the guide counts over 1000 pizzerias. Some of these are already listed online, more will then be revealed later in June, leading up to the grand finale, which will be held on July 23 in the Teatro Mercadante in Naples, the birthplace of pizza. There will take place the much anticipated announcement of Italy’s top 50 pizzerias.

     

    In the past, the winners - and most of the contendants - in fact came from the Campania region. Last year’s top 3 spots were received by Franco Pepe’s Pepe in Grani in Caiazzo; Francesco Martucci’s I Masanielli in Caserta; and 50 Kalo’s Naples location. However, although the traditional Neapolitan style of pizza is certainly prominent, the guide is open to different kinds of pizza, which are featured on the ranking. For example, Simone Padoan’s cutting-edge pizzeria I Tigli, in San Bonifacio, Veneto came in 4th place and Rome’s La Gatta Mangiona was 7th.

     

    Considering this fact, along with the increased opening towards global variations on what is still regarded as a fundamentally Italian dish, it will be interesting to see in which direction this year’s ranking will move, whether it will stick to tradition or hold surprises.

     

  • Art & Culture

    The Italian Couple Behind Great Cinema

     

    The Italian Cultural Institute in New York hosted a conversation with movie industry power couple Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo on May 22nd as part of the “Fare Cinema” initiative launched by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Anica and Istituto Luce Cinecittà, in collaboration with the ASC to promote the various crafts behind the success of Italian - and global - cinema.

     

    The conversation, moderated by journalist Maria Teresa Cometto, began with clips from the 2010 documentary “Dante Ferretti: Production Designer,” which retraces the Italian designer’s prosperous career, showing the films he has worked on, from Fellini’s “Medea” to Scorsese’s “Hugo,” one of the three films for which he and Lo Schiavo won an Oscar for Best Art Direction. (the other two are “The Aviator” and “Sweeney Todd’)

     

    In the documentary, some of the biggest figures in Hollywood share their experiences working with Ferretti, including British screenwriter Terry Gilliam, with whom he worked on “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen,” (1988) and of course director Martin Scorsese, with whom Ferretti and Lo Schiavo have often worked.

     

    “It’s a time capsule, the best work I’ve seen in my life,” Leonardo Di Caprio (who starred in several of those films) says about the set of “Gangs of New York.”

     

    Ferretti speaks about working with Fellini, whom he describes as his “beacon,” who opened the doors into the movie industry for him by promoting him from Assistant to Production Designer on the set of Satyricon, after firing his boss. Ferretti has been working since he was 17 and estimates that he has done around 85 films, plus various Opera and theatre sets.

     

    Lo Schiavo’s story is different: she was working as an interior decorator before making the switch to the movie industry. When asked why she explains that she was attracted to this world because it gave her the opportunity to work with different time periods, to be more versatile, creative. “It’s always a new challenge,” she says.

     

    And by looking at their work, you can tell that they both love challenges. Though they are certainly very different, they share strong personalities, larger than life, just like the scenes they create. The assurance with which they have forged their way through the movie industry is remarkable, and it reveals itself in each of their interactions.

     

    Ferretti describes himself as a maximalista and a megalomaniac (“just like Fellini.”) He expresses himself by using few words - mostly jokes - with the confidence of someone who knows he can let his work speak for him. His beautiful large sketches have been exhibited in some of the world’s most important art and design museums. “He was up in the MoMA for five months,” comments his wife. “Six,” he specifies, holding up his fingers.

     

    Lo Schiavo, on the other hand, is much more loquacious. She commands attention and respect and quickly takes over the interview. It’s not surprising that she was able to impress Fellini to the point of obtaining an instant promotion from Assistant to Set Designer, just like her husband.

     

    Her own self-assurance comes out in the way she approaches her work. She explains how her job can require taking on risks, like the time she had to furnish an entire villa (which had been owned by Ava Gardner) for “The Aviator”. “There was little money left because these were the last days of shooting, but the house was empty,” she explains. “But they wanted Ava Gardner’s house.” Through her contacts, she managed to get all that she needed “for almost nothing,” but everything had to go back in two days.

     

    The couple describes working together as their “best time.” They never argue on set and always understand each other. It took a while for them to start working together though. Apparently, Ferretti was very resistant to the idea. Finally he accepted, believing that she would soon grow tired and give up.

     

    “I had to start from the bottom. Dante didn’t introduce me to anyone,” she recounts. But, just like his, her success seemed unavoidable. Last March, she received the prestigious Special David di Donatello Award for her extraordinary career.

     

    A montage of some of their most iconic films emphasizes their incredible talent and versatility: how they are able to create worlds in such incredible detail that it blurs the confines of the screen and you get transported inside it.

     

    Their sets manage to visually convey multisensorial and even emotional atmospheres: In Fellini’s “E la Nave Va” you can immediately grasp the contrast between the upper and lower classes crossing the Atlantic at the turn of the century.

     

    In some cases, the sets and costumes are what make the movie. This is true of Terry Gilliam’s “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen,” a film that is extremely over the top in the most exquisite and beautiful way, where objects and layout are as much a part of the narrative as any dialog.

     

    When asked about experiencing regrets when rewatching a film, Lo Schiavo answers that she always wants to add something up until the very end but that ultimately her job is done when shooting begins. “I don’t usually rewatch the films I work on, but seeing these clips now I’m pretty impressed with what I’ve done,” she says.

     

    But this doesn’t mean the Ferretti-Lo Schiavo power couple is done making films. They are now working on another Scorsese film starring De Caprio and De Niro titled “Killers of the Flying Moon,” for which filming is set to begin this Summer.

     

  • Facts & Stories

    Lady Gaga’s Mother Named UN Ambassador for Mental Health

    The United Nations' World Health Organization (WHO) announced its four new Goodwill Ambassadors for the promotion of global health and one of them was Cynthia Germanotta, the mother of Singer and Actress Lady Gaga.

     

    Mrs. Germanotta is the President of the Born This Way Foundation (presumably named after Lady Gaga’s 2011 hit song and album), which she and her daughter founded in 2012 to support the wellness of young people and empower them to create a kinder and braver world. For this reason, she was named Goodwill Ambassador for Mental Health.

     

    On this occasion, former President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was appointed Ambassador of Health Workforce, while the Brazilian couple made up of Alisson Becker of the Brazilian national and Liverpool soccer teams and Dr. Natalia Loewe Becker will serve as Ambassadors for Health Promotion.

     

    “Each of our new ambassadors are champions in their own right, from helping their communities rebuild and develop sustainably, to fighting for better mental health and well-being, to being role models for healthier living,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who announced the Ambassadors in his speech to open the 72nd World Health Assembly in Geneva.

     

    In response to the nomination, Germanotta tweeted “I’m honored to serve as @WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Mental Health and to work alongside @DrTedros + his extraordinary team to ensure mental #healthforall is a global priority. We face many challenges but there are even more reasons for hope.”

     

    Lady Gaga also took to Twitter to congratulate her mother and to stress the importance of spreading awareness about mental health. The singer has long been outspoken about her own past struggles with mental health and continuously takes part in initiatives aimed at helping those facing similar challenges, such as the brand new program Mental Health First-Aid Kit, whose goal is to help high schoolers deal with such issues.

     

    The program, run by the National Council for Behavioral Health and supported by the Born This Way Foundation, teaches teens and those working with them to respond to signs of mental illness, reducing stigma and enabling them to help and support each other.

  • Art & Culture

    Italian Contestant Mahmood Wins 2nd Place at Eurovision

    Class of 1992, born and raised in the periphery of Milan, the son of an Italian mother and Egyptian father, Alessandro Mahmoud - a.k.a Mahmood - already made headlines in Italy after winning the latest edition of the Sanremo Music Festival in February 2019, a result that did not please everyone.

     

    His single “Soldi,” with which he chose to compete at both Sanremo and this year’s Eurovision Song Contest held in Tel Aviv, was a huge hit, earning platinum status, reaching number one position in all Italian charts, and even making it to the Spotify Global Top 50. However, certain people - most notably Italian Vice Prime Minister Matteo Salvini - were unsatisfied by his victory at Sanremo.

     

    “Mahmood …mah…the most beautiful Italian song? I would have chosen #Ultimo,” tweeted Salvini during the finale. Unsurprisingly, the Minister took issue with the singer’s “pedigree”: he didn’t deem him Italian enough to win an Italian song contest, no matter the fact that Mahmood is indeed a citizen, born and raised in Italy, and even sings in Italian.

     

    Not wishing to be left out of the discussion, (politicians get ‘FOMO’ too) Italy’s other Vice Prime Minister, Luigi Di Maio from the Five Star Movement, chimed in by commenting that Mahmood’s victory only represented the opinion of the country’s “radical chic” elites which made up the jury and not that of the people, a tricky statement to support considering the widespread popularity of his music.

     

    Despite these and several other negative reactions, Mahmood was chosen to represent Italy in this year’s Eurovision, an annual competition between mostly (but not exclusively) European countries. Since Italy was one of the seven countries present for the first ever Eurovision in 1956, it is one of the "Big Five" countries that automatically qualify for the final.

     

    The Milanese singer was one of the favored candidates for this year’s edition, but in the end the award went to Netherlands contestant Duncan Laurence and his romantic ballade “Arcade.”

     

    “I don’t feel any disappointment nor remorse,” comments Mahmood, “this has been the biggest success in my career so far.” Beyond scoring second place, the 27-year-old also took home the Composer Award, something which is particularly remarkable considering that he is one of the few contestants who chose to sing in a language other than English. “They told me that it’s the first time an Italian song wins this award,” he explains.

     

    “Soldi” is a catchy Trap / Hip Hop / Pop track, with influences from traditional Arabic music. The video’s aesthetic matches the singer’s personal urban minimalist style, hip but understated. It’s an autobiographical song about growing up in the periphery of Milan and focuses particularly on his difficult relationship with his father, whose main preoccupation was money (soldi). It features one line in Arabic “Waladi waladi habibi ta’aleena” (my son, my son, darling, come over here) and is the fourth song in the history of Eurovision to include the language.

     

    This 64th edition of the contest has been a particularly politicized one. An international pro-Palestinian campaign urged artists and the public to boycott the event before it even began. No contestants did however drop out of the show. Madonna’s guest performance then featured two dancers flashing both the Palestinian and Israeli flags, breaking Eurovision rules. Even more controversial was Icelandic Techno Punk group Hatari, who held up Palestinian flags at the end of their performance and might now have to “face consequences”.

     

    So far, despite the provocations of various Italian politicians, Mahmood has (wisely) abstained from engaging in political discussions, letting his music and his story speak for themselves.

     

  • Via the High Line
    Art & Culture

    A Flash of Contemporary Italian Fashion on The High Line

    ‘Borders: A Flash of New Italian Fashion’ is part of a project by Italy’s National Chamber of Fashion titled CNMI Camera Club, aimed at promoting the contemporary face of Italian fashion. It was conceived by the Consulate General of Italy in New York, along with the Italian Trade Commission and the Italian Embassy in DC.

     

    As you access the exhibition through the 16th street entrance of the High Line, a former elevated freight line turned public park; a symbol of requalification and creativity, you walk under an industrial “archway” of sorts, constructed out of metallic tubes. The title of the show flashes across a couple of LED display screens.

     

    The exhibition is constructed like a path: two pairs of mannequins, one on each side, greet you as you enter the space. Their outfits belong to the collections of two of the four emerging brands presented there: Dorian Stefano Tarantini’s M1992 and Giorgio di Salvo’s United Standard.

     

    It immediately becomes clear that you will be experiencing something different from what you might typically associate with Italian Fashion. These first two sets of mannequins sport casual mises, each heavily influenced by the urban landscape, albeit in unique ways.

     

    Going forward, you come to the central part of the exhibition, a place where you can congregate and even sit down on one of the two long benches facing a large screen surrounded by other smaller monitors, three on each side. The main screen shows a video created by Francesco Petroni, shot in relatively unknown locations in Puglia.

     

    It features extremely young actors/models, mostly teenagers, and communicates that sense of lightness and freedom, which can only be found in the summertime. The other clips were made by the designers themselves to present their collections: all of them very artsy and sometimes provocative, mostly with a general vintage feel, though each brand showcases its personal style and aesthetic.

     

    You then get to the other two sets of mannequins, one pair wearing the designs of Mauro Simionato’s Vitelli Maglieria Italiana, and the other clad in Magliano by Luca Magliano. These can be considered more traditional in their tailoring perhaps, but stand out because of the bold colors, patterns and materials employed.

     

    Particularly attractive is the piece from Magliano’s women's collection, which features a wide purple plaid menswear-inspired jacket (complete with pocket handkerchief) and a matching T-shirt over a pair of wide tailored black pants, also seemingly inspired by 1940s men’s dress pants but made out of leather.

     

    The exhibition was curated by Creative Director Giangi Giordano, himself very young and based in Milan, like all of the designers. Giordano, who on the May 16th opening night was wearing a beautiful vintage Prada ensemble and intimidatingly high MiuMiu heels, explained that the idea was to present a different side of Italian Fashion, younger, more dynamic, more diverse, and more aware of and involved in the global scene.

     

    “We wanted it to be just a glimpse, a flash,” he explains, “to show that the Milan fashion scene is dynamic, always changing, not something static.” And, in fact, the show will be on view on the High Line only through May 17, during which it will be open to all visitors.

     

    These four designers were selected for this initiative because they best represent the younger Milanese Fashion scene, in which they are all quite well established. It’s an environment characterized by its connection to various aspects of urban life, including the club scene, (some of the designers are, in fact, DJs themselves) and the art scene.

     

    As it is composed mostly of very young people, it’s also a very connected world: one that is very aware of current global issues and engages with them. Particularly, all four designers share a strong focus on sustainability, a central issue in the contemporary fashion world and beyond.

     

    The opening night was hugely successful, the space was packed with a surprisingly diverse crowd: younger and older generations, New Yorkers and Italians, creatives and Institutions. The Italian Ambassador, Armando Varricchio was there, as well as the Consul General of Italy Francesco Genuardi and the director of the Italian Cultural Institute, Giorgio van Straten. The Director of the Italian Trade Agency, Maurizio Forte, and the President of the National Chamber of Fashion, Carlo Capasa, were also present.

     

    In their speeches, they all emphasized the importance of teamwork and collaboration and of cultivating the already strong ties between Italy and the city of New York. And you can’t help but agree as you stand there on the High Line, a glass of Franciacorta in hand, savoring delicious treats by Il Gattopardo Restaurant Executive Chef Vito Gnazzo and admiring these beautiful and innovative Italian designs against the backdrop of the sun setting over the Hudson River.

     

  • Facts & Stories

    Mayor Sala on Milan: Culture, Sustainability, And Above All Inclusivity

    Just as Milan is often described as a standout case amongst Italian cities, its Mayor Giuseppe (or “Beppe” to his friends and numerous Instagram followers) Sala can be considered an unusual politician, who appears to be generally beloved at a time in which politicians are generally not so well regarded.  

     

    His intervention at NYU’s Casa Italiana was introduced by a short video of the institution’s founder and benefactor, the late Baroness Mariuccia Zerilli-Marimò, herself a proud Milanese. In the clip, she talks about the reconstruction of Milan and particularly of La Scala, the famous Opera House, after World War II.

     

    She underlines how, despite their poverty and lack of resources, citizens immediately got organized and began rebuilding the City and its symbols, actively contributing to its rebirth. Milan has more recently begun undergoing another rebirth, of which Mayor Sala is a major actor.

     

    The City has in fact seen significant growth in various sectors in recent years, despite the difficult economic situation in Italy and across Europe. Up until a few years ago, Milan was seen exclusively as an industrial city. It has since then begun an intensive and very effective rebranding process. Sala explains that they are working for a mixed model, promoting three key aspects:

     

    They wish to present Milan as a university city, not a stretch considering that of its 4 million inhabitants, 200,000 are university students. And the goal is to increase this number, particularly by attracting more international students. One major challenge that the Mayor recognizes in this is the lack of affordable housing, something on which both the municipality and certain universities are working on, by envisioning campuses, for example.

     

    Another important aspect is of course creativity: Milan is already known for fashion and (mostly furniture) design. The idea is to reinforce this perception and to expand it to represent a more contemporary and cross-disciplinary understanding of these creative fields.

     

    And finally, tourism. In the past years, investments in culture, museums, and events such as the 2015 Milan Expo, (of which Sala was the CEO and Chairman) regarded as the turning point for the City, the symbol of its cultural rebirth, put Milan on the map as a central tourist destination, which now sees around 9 Million tourists each year.

     

    Sustainability is also a key issue that all mayors have to deal with and one in which Milan has taken significant measures, by expanding the almost incredibly efficient metro system, (Sala promises that they are working on the fifth line which will take citizens from the airport to the city center in just 15 minutes) beginning to replace all busses with electrical ones, installing car, scooter, and bike sharing services, and implementing congestion charges and limiting traffic in the city center.

     

    “As Mayor, it’s not easy to tell people they can’t use their car,” comments Sala, “but you have to show them that it’s the way of the future, that these measures have been agreed on with 40 major municipalities across the world.”

     

    His is quite a daring approach, many cities, including New York, are considering measures to reduce waste and pollution, such as implementing congestion charges, or eliminating plastic bags, but often these plans are halted if they are deemed too unpopular and could threaten future elections.

     

    Also daring given the current political situation in Italy, is Mayor Sala’s position on immigration. Along with other mayors, including Orlando (Palermo) and De Magistris (Naples) as well as others all over Europe and even here in the US, Sala goes against the anti-immigration approach sustained by the central government.

     

    “Milan wants to promote solidarity,” he comments, adding that “in Italy, immigrants constitute 9% of the population, in Milan they are 20% and it works.” So the problem doesn’t lie in the number of migrants, but in the organization, in the way the system works.

     

    According to Sala, the “solution” to immigration is creating work for everyone. The Italian government, however, is not embracing this approach. When immigrants arrive and are registered, they are put on a waiting list for two years to find work. In some cases, municipalities can try to take what should be the government’s role into their own hands. Sala cites an instance in which the CEO of Starbucks came to Milan to open a store there and he agreed on the condition that 5% of its employees be chosen amongst migrants waiting for their application to process.

     

    Still on the theme of migration, the Mayor of Milan shares a story from his current US trip. “I went to visit the new museum on Liberty Island and asked how many ‘Sala’ were registered arriving through there,” he says. “There were about 2000. Then I asked: and how many ‘Salvini’? Over 250.”

     

    Though it’s only a joke, this anecdote perfectly captures the absurdity and hypocrisy behind the nationalist and xenophobic approaches adopted by political leaders in Italy and across the world.

  • M. C. Escher, Hand with reflecting sphere
    Facts & Stories

    Italy's Self-Image Problem

    “La penisola che non c’è” (the peninsula that isn’t there) is the title of Nando Pagnoncelli’s new book, an essay which reflects upon the growing reliance on polls within politics and warns of the potential threats of “sondocrazia,” that is of using polls to govern.

     

    As the President of IPSOS Italia (a leading global market research and analysis agency,) Pagnoncelli is certainly qualified to discuss the topic. Some have even pointed out how it seems strange that a warning against polling comes from the head of a polling agency himself, but the author argues for a more conscious use of such tools, in order to avoid political instrumentalization.   

     

    “Polls,” he writes, “should remain a tool for knowledge,” and not become “an oracle that points the way.”

     

    As politicians increasingly focus on public opinion and how to win it over, the role of public polls, which determine and try to predict it, is changing. We see political leaders pursuing public consent as an end in of itself and, as they start to gain it, they can influence it.

     

    One major issue that emerges from the analysis of public opinion is that often groups or even entire countries share a distorted perception of reality. This is particularly true in Italy.

     

    It’s no news that Italians believe their situation to be worse than it actually is. Some time ago, for example, it was revealed that Italian citizens thought immigrants constituted 30% of the population while in reality they only represent 7%.

     

    This misperception extends to various sectors. Amongst the 14 different countries analyzed by IPSOS, Italy was found to be the one with the most distorted self-image: overall, we believe that we are poorer, sicker, and more unemployed than we really are, that our economy is much more fragile and weak, and our crime rates higher.

     

    One of the consequences of this is that, instead of correcting these misconceptions, the public discourse surrounding these issues actually enlarges them, creating a vicious cycle. We see this in the way the migrant and economic “crisis” are presented (sometimes sensationalized) by the media and, more alarmingly, by politicians.

     

    Knowing what citizens already think and reinforcing it, allows politicians to gain their trust and eventually their consent because people like to be told that they are right. And if someone tries to contest certain claims, arguing that they are not accurate, political figures can easily respond by throwing the results of public opinion polls at them, as if they were in and of themselves proof of indisputable facts.

     

    Though these considerations are quite bleak, Pagnoncelli ends his book on a positive note, claiming that younger generations, who are now starting to engage in politics, can resolve this situation by being aware of the problems we are facing. Public awareness is in fact the key to this issue and to the main aim of the book.

     

  • Photo Courtesy of Marco Sabadin/Vision – Matteo De Fina
    Art & Culture

    Venetian Tradition and Sustainability: The Laguna Goes Red

    On May 11, during the opening week of the Venice Biennale, Venetians and visitors saw the North Laguna turn red for the trial run of the Red Regatta: a site-specific public artwork by American artist Melissa McGill.

     

    Organized alongside Magazzino Italian Art Foundation and Venice’s Vela al Terzo Association, with the support of Mazzoleni and the participation of over 250 collaborators throughout the city, the project curated by Chiara Spangaro and managed by Marcella Ferrari consists of a Venetian “regata”, a race of traditional “vela al terzo” sailboats.

     

    Only, for this occasion, the artist had each sail hand-painted a different shade of red. The result is a spectacular choreography; the different reds reflect and mix on the surface of the water, illuminating the Laguna and the city.

     

    Red Regatta will take place on June 30 on the North Laguna, between the islands of San Servolo and Poveglia, then again on September 1st on the San Marco basin, as the opening to the annual Historical Regatta, and a final time on September 15 back in the initial location. These performances will be visible from different parts of the city, which can be found by consulting the interactive map on www.redregatta.org.

     

    Melissa McGill is an interdisciplinary artist living and working in New York. Having lived in Venice from 1991 to 1993, she often returns to the Italian city and had previously created pieces that simultaneously celebrate its beauty and tradition and reflect upon the challenges it faces, such as her 2017 work “The Campi,” a series of sound sculptures invoking daily life in a Venetian “campo” (square) while also highlighting its precariousness as Venice is increasingly taken over by tourism and citizens forced to move out.

    With Red Regatta, McGill wishes, on the one hand, to celebrate the Venetian tradition of the regattas as well as pay homage to the city's history; in fact, the color red can be found all throughout Venice, in its terracotta roofs, its flag, in the paintings of Titian, Tintoretto and other Venetian masters.

     

    At the same time, the work is also intended to bring attention to the issue of climate change and particularly the melting of glaciers and rising of sea levels, which threaten the city and this very heritage.

     

    The project is the first artwork to be registered as a “Clean Regatta,” the sustainability certification for water-based events created by Sailors for the Sea in order to mobilize navigators in protecting the sea through good practice and activism. Throughout the duration of the Biennale, the artist will participate in public talks and labs about art and activism alongside partners such as Ocean-Space and No Longer Empty.

     

    Also important is the collaborative aspect of the work, which saw the participation of over 250 members of the local community and was conceived to involve and entertain the citizens and honor their love for Venice.

     

    Red Regatta “will contribute to the maintenance, conservation, and restoration of the typical Venetian vessels (“vela al terzo” boats, e.d.) belonging to the Municipality,” commented City Commissioner Giovanni Giusto, then adding that this collaboration strengthens the bond between Venice and the United States, “This way the colors of Tintoretto, which are exhibited in the National Gallery of Art in DC, return to the Laguna.”

     

  • High Line Photo by Timothy Schenck Courtesy of the High Line
    Art & Culture

    New Sustainable Italian Fashion on the High Line

    An event aimed at promoting new and sustainable Italian fashion, ‘Borders: A Flash of New Italian Fashion’ will take place on May 17 on the High Line, itself a symbol of both culture and sustainability located above New York’s trendy Meatpacking and Chelsea neighborhoods.

     

    Part of a CNMI’s Camera Club, a project aimed at promoting the contemporary face of Italian fashion, it was conceived by the Consulate General of Italy in New York, along with the Italian Trade Commission and the Italian Embassy in DC.

     

    The event, curated by Giangi Giordano, is conceived as a multidisciplinary exhibition, presenting the collections of four young Italian fashion designers alongside musical performances, videos, images and light shows. One of the goals of the show is, in fact, to stress the interconnectedness of contemporary fashion with other forms of creativity. Most of the designers are themselves DJs and producers as well.

     

    The featured brands are Dorian Stefano Tarantini’s M1992, Luca Magliano’s Magliano, Giorgio di Salvo’s United Standard, and Mauro Simionato’s Vitelli Maglieria Italiana: all young labels deeply influenced by street style and urban culture, while also characterized by typically Italian styling and production know-how.

     

    To highlight the sustainability aspect, which is central in contemporary fashion, garments will be shown on biodegradable mannequins produced by leading Italian mannequin manufacturing company Bonaveri.

     

    Another important feature is inclusivity, for this reason the event will take place on the High Line, a beautiful suspended public park already known for promoting public art projects and initiatives. It will be free and accessible to all New Yorkers and visitors throughout the entire day.

     

    The closest entrance is the one located on 16th Street and 10th Avenue. For information on how to access the High Line visit: https://www.thehighline.org/visit/

     

  • Art & Culture

    Remains of a Sunken Migrant Ship Become a Biennale Piece

    The 58th Venice Art Biennale, one of the world’s major international art events, opens this week and everyone is already talking about Swiss-Icelandic artist Christoph Büchel’s contribution, a project titled “Barca Nostra,” which means “our boat,” also a play on “mare nostrum” (“our sea”), a Roman name for the Mediteranean, as well as the name given to the operation launched by the Italian government in 2013 to tackle increased immigration and migratory ship wreckages off Lampedusa.

     

    For this work, the artist, who has already been known to carry out political and provocatory projects, recovered the wreck of a fishing boat that sank between the coast of Libya and the Sicilian island of Lampedusa on April 18, 2015, causing the death of 700 to 800 migrants, and had it installed on the shore of the Arsenale, one of the Biennale’s exhibition spaces.

     

    In 2016, the ship was recovered from the seabed and brought back to a NATO naval base in Augusta, Sicily. Obtaining it was not an easy process, as there were other proposals for its use and no official owner. “The government had recovered it but officially the defence ministry had only custody of it, not ownership. And officially shipwrecks in Italy are supposed to be destroyed,” explained Maria Chiara di Trapani, a Biennale curator.

     

    This project was strongly wanted by Ralph Rugoff, the curator of this year’s Biennale titled “May You Live in Interesting Times.” As is always the case considering the quantity and variety of the works exhibited, the theme is multifaceted and can be interpreted in a myriad of ways, but its name certainly reveals the intention to conjure discussions about the times we live in and the phenomena they are characterized by. Migration is undoubtedly amongst them and this work confronts the theme in a powerful way.

     

    The April 2015 shipwreck is one of the deadliest to have ever taken place in the Mediterranean, but it is by no means an isolated case. The sight of this ship, broken and rusted, is terribly ominous because it immediately conjures up the countless other vessels that have met and continue to meet similar fates. It is described as “a relic of a human tragedy but also a monument to contemporary migration, engaging real and symbolic borders and the (im)possibility of freedom of movement of information and people.”

     

    The work “invites silence and reflection,” comments the President of the Biennale Foundation Paolo Baratta, who reveals that the intention in including it in this year’s Biennale was to “move people’s consciences.”

     

    “We are living in a tragic moment without memory. We all look at the news, and it seems so far away,” explains Ms. di Trapani, who hopes that actually seeing the ship first-hand, feeling its presence will help change that.

     

    After the Biennale, which will end on November 24th, the wreck will be brought back to Augusta and placed in a new monument called “Giardino della Memoria” (“Garden of Memory”), a collective memorial dedicated to the migrants who have lost their lives at sea.

     

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