Articles by: Antonella Iovino

  • The Bestseller “Quiet Chaos” Presented at the Italian Cultural Institute

    Last Thursday, at the Italian Cultural Institute of New York, Italian writer Sandro Veronesi presented his international bestseller ‘Quiet Chaos’, in conversation with Giancarlo Lombardi, professor at the College of Staten Island & Graduate Center of CUNY.

    The conference was introduced by Giovanni De Sanctis, Attaché for Cultural Affairs - Language and Literature- for the Italian Cultural Institute. He presented Sandro Veronesi as the most important living Italian writer. A very prolific author, he is a novelist, essayist, and journalist. He has published seven novels, a collection of poetry, and five non-fiction books. He can surely be considered one of the best representatives of Italian intellectuals today.

    His book “The Force of the Past” won the Viareggio-Repaci Prize and the Campiello Prize and was a Zerilli-Marimò finalist. In 2005, he won the Strega Prize for 'Quiet Chaos', translated from the Italian by Michael F. Moore, co-chair of the PEN American Center Translation Committee.  


    The novel deals with an overwhelmed daily routine, turning everything upside-down. The title itself remarks the contradiction of the protagonist's life: a quiet chaos is such an oxymoron. The main character is Pietro Palatini who, on a beach of the Mediterranean, after spending an afternoon surfing, struggles to save two drowning swimmers. Instead of coming home to a hero’s welcome, he is greeted by the flashing lights of an ambulance. His partner has unexpectedly died. Suddenly a chaos breaks in the calm of everyday life. Pietro abandons work, spending his days loafing in a small park near his daughter's school. As the days stretch into weeks, he becomes something of a neighborhood character, a benign, eccentric presence whose watchful, diffident manner arouses sympathy and mild curiosity from other habitués of the area. It is a portrayal of a life set adrift by death, with a profound sense of insight and emotional resonance.

    With an unconventional approach for a book review, Giancarlo Lombardi starts from the end of the book, from the acknowledgments where Veronesi wrote “When one writes, one feels alone”. A sentence, according to Lombardi, that really speaks back to the novel. When Pietro loses his partner everybody comes to visit him to share his sorrow, but Pietro knows that the burden-sharing will end soon. What best describes that mourning, Lombardi says, is the term “trauma”: an unexperienced event, something that happens too soon, too fast, so that you can feel it over and over again.

    “ This is not a novel of action, it is a novel of repetition of events. A very clear sentence that explains this trauma is when Pietro says in front of the school: it is the wall of tears without the wall” Lombardi concludes.  

    Veronesi adds:”We are not alone, we are just lonely”. My protagonist goes to live his loneliness in front of his daughter’s school. It is the first time I was asked to explain the very symbolic meaning of that image. Although this was a very lucky book, nobody seemed to care why I chose the school. After this death, Pietro has to renew his life and he does so in front of a place where people go to learn, a school”.

    Some real facts inspired Veronesi for this book. He says: “I was told a story of a man who lost his wife and remained alone with his daughter: since then it was as if he stops every day in front of his daughter's school”. For the opening image Veronesi uses a real fact that happened to himself: a kind of personal trauma when he was sunbathing and tried to save a woman who was drowning. As happens to Pietro in the book, he was drowning alongside the woman and he thought to hit her and save himself. So, a relationship among the author and the character occurs: the whole novel is not just a story of sorrow and loneliness but ethic issues emerge too. Pietro and Veronesi know how easy it is to go beyond ethnic borders and this story shows the attempt to recover a life accordingly.

    i-Italy had the chance of interviewing Veronesi.

    What do you thing of the current interest of the American readers for contemporary Italian literature?

    I am actually here to join the New York PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature, which includes more than 100 writers from 40 different nations. This festival reveals the renovated interest of the United States for foreign cultures, after a period of cultural isolationism following 9/11. After the terrorist attacks it was as if the US wanted to live in a kind of autarchy, protecting itself from any type of intromission. But it is no so, anymore.

    What do you thing can be misunderstood from the American audience about the book due to a cultural gap?

    Of course some things differ. I wondered whether the American audience would understand the image of a father spending a whole day in front of his daughter’s school, which is the main image the entire novel is constructed on. In the U.S. you see school buses but not fathers bringing their kids to school. So, maybe it is kept as an exotic framework, but this does not prevent to catch the real sense of the story.

    And what about the quiet chaos seen by a Newyorker? The entire novel has a very slow rhythm, the plot seems to be drawn to deliver a physical representation of a sense of slowness and immobility. Is a frenetic Newyorker really able to understand the idea of a quiet chaos?

    Yes, I am quite confident he or she is. The more neurosis people have, the more willing they are to find an antidote. America is the first producer of antidepressants. It is to say, in the midst of their accelerated lives, perhaps they are more likely to catch a sense of stop and renewal, as happens to Pietro Palatini.

    At the end of the conference some paragraphs of the novel's chapters were read by Veronesi and Moore, leaving the entire audience fascinated.     

  • Art & Culture

    The Zerilli-Marimò ‘Case’: NYU’s Casa Italiana Discussed at the University of Milan

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    Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò was created thanks to Baroness Mariuccia Zerilli-Marimò in memory of her husband Guido, who was very close to Italian culture and the city of New York. The Baroness also made it the home of the Department of Italian Studies of New York University, previously merged to the French Department. With a 4 Million dollar donation, the beautiful Greenwich Village building was bought and restored. In 2010 Casa Italiana celebrated its 20th anniversary.

    Prof. Giorgio Zanchetti coordinated the research of Lorenza Anselmi for the Cultural Heritage department of the Faculty of Art History of the University of Milan: an analysis of Casa Italiana’s activities from 1990 to 2010, which was concluded with the student’s defense of her thesis.

    The objects of this study were Casa’s context, history, organizational model and cultural strategy.

    First of all, Anselmi identified the specific traits of Italian culture in New York, the institutions and promotional initiatives present in the city: the Italian Cultural Institute, the Italian Academy of Columbia University, the Calandra Institute at the City University of New York, the Primo Levi Center, and MoMA PS1. All of these institutions has a different approach towards promoting Italian culture in a city that is very welcoming towards Italian production, whether classical or contemporary. The Calandra Institute, for instance, gives lots of space to Italian-American culture, while the Primo Levi Center concentrates upon the Italian Jewish community; other institutions, such as the Italian Academy focus on the more academic dimension.

    Following is the study of the foundation of Casa Italiana, its birth, the history of the building, its juridical status, the economical aspect, the relationship with the Department of Italian Studies of New York University and the type of activities, divided among performances, music, literature, politics and economics, and visual arts. Finally, the study focuses upon the future and Casa’s public, through a research regarding the goals, the opinions, and levels of appreciation.

    The work involved attentive archival research that took place in the fall of 2007. What resulted from the study is that Casa Italiana’s activity diversifies its proposals keeping into account both the historic and the contemporary dimension of Italian culture. Great attention is aimed at the visual arts and at young artists active during the last ten years. Apart from the tradition, Lorenza Anselmi points out how there is a large commitment towards the present: most of the time it is the Italy of the past that gets mentioned, the Roman Empire, the Renaissance, etc., forgetting the artistic and cultural expressions of today. Is Italy now only about food, fashion and design?

    In answer to this the thesis demonstrates the large number of presentations by Italian-American writers of today organized by Casa Italiana. To be part of New York University allows the foundation to get close to themes of interest to the American world. The effort of the foundation is to give continuity to the proposed activities, succeeding in hosting a number of regular attendees, the ‘friends of Casa’, constantly kept up to date by the Casa website, videos and interviews regarding past events.

    A future collaboration with Italian cultural centers and institution and a larger involvement of the younger generations should be researched as well. These are the conclusions of Lorenza Anselmi’s work: a piece of research that informed the Italian public about the constant commitment towards the promotion of Italy abroad. Italy often seems to forget its ‘cultural extensions’, in the prospective of telling more of itself abroad and obtaining feedback from a different kind of public, in an exchange that can only bring enrichment.

  • Arte e Cultura

    Il 'caso' Zerilli- Marimò: la Casa Italiana della NYU raccontata all'Università degli Studi di Milano

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    La Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò è sorta grazie all'iniziativa filantropica della baronessa Mariuccia Zerilli-Marimò in memoria del marito Guido, molto legato alla cultura italiana e alla città di New York. Per volontà della baronessa la Casa ospita anche il centro di Italianistica, prima unito al Dipartimento di Studi Francesi della New York University. Con la donazione di quattro milioni di dollari è stato acquistato e ristrutturato il bellissimo edificio che ne fa da sede, sito nel 'lower west side' di Manhattan. La casa ha festeggiato nel 2010 venti anni di attività.

    Il professor Giorgio Zanchetti ha coordinato il lavoro di ricerca di Lorenza Anselmi per il corso di laurea in Scienze dei Beni Culturali presso la facoltà di Storia dell'Arte del'Università di Milano: un'analisi sulle attività svolte dalla Casa Italiana dal 1990 al 2010, che si è conclusa con la discussione della tesi di laurea della studentessa.

    Della Casa Italiana Zerillì-Marimò sono stati studiati il contesto, la storia, il modello organizzativo e la strategia culturale.

    Sono stati dapprima identificati i tratti specifici della cultura italiana a New York, le istituzioni e le iniziative di promozione attive sul territorio: l'Istituto Italiano di Cultura, L'Italian Academy della Columbia University, Il Calandra Institute della City University di New York, il Centro Primo Levi, il MoMa PS1. Ciascuno di questi istituti dà un taglio diverso alla propria attività di promozione della cultura italiana a NY, città che, come mostra il lavoro, è la più accogliente nei confronti della produzione italiana, sia classica che contemporanea. Infatti, se il Calandra Institute dà grande spazio alla cultura italo-americana nel suo complesso, il Centro Primo Levi, invece, si concentra sulla comunità ebraica italiana; una dimensione più accademica e formativa viene data da altri istituti come l'Italian Academy.

    Si è passati allo studio della fondazione: la sua nascita, la storia dell'edificio, lo status giuridico, gli aspetti economici, il rapporto con il Dipartimento di Italiano della NYU e la tipologia delle iniziative. Le attività si dividono in spettacoli, musica, letteratura, politica ed economia, arti visive. Infine sono stati analizzati le prospettive future e il pubblico di riferimento, attraverso una ricerca condotta sulle aspettative, le opinioni e i livelli di apprezzamento.

    Il lavoro si è svolto attraverso un'accurata attività di archiviazione svolta nell'autunno 2007. E' emerso che l'attività della Casa Italiana tende a diversificare le sue proposte tenendo conto sia della dimensione storica che di quella contemporanea della cultura italiana. Grande attenzione viene rivolta, nello spazio dedicato alle arti visive, ai giovani artisti attivi nell'ultimo decennio. Oltre alla tradizione, Lorenza Anselmi fa notare come ci sia un grosso impegno quindi da parte della fondazione per la contemporaneità: troppo spesso, infatti, si racconta l'Italia del passato, la grandezza dell'Impero Romano o la magnificenza della cultura rinascimentale, dimenticando le attuali espressioni artistiche e culturali. E` l'Italia di oggi solo cucina, moda o design?

    In risposta a questo quesito la tesi mostra le numerose presentazioni di scrittori italo-americani contemporanei che la Casa Italiana organizza. Essere parte della New York University permette alla fondazione di avvicinarsi alle tematiche di reale interesse del mondo americano verso la cultura italiana. Lo sforzo della fondazione è anche quello di dare continuità alle attività proposte, riuscendo a garantirsi un gruppo di frequentatori assidui, 'gli amici della casa', mantenuti in aggiornamento continuo dal sito web della casa attraverso informazioni sugli eventi, video ed interviste sulle iniziative passate.

    Una futura collaborazione con centri culturali ed enti italiani ed un maggiore coinvolgimento del pubblico giovanile andrebbero altrettanto ricercati. Queste le conclusioni del lavoro di Lorenza Anselmi: una ricerca che ha portato a conoscenza del pubblico italiano l'impegno continuo della promozione dell'Italia all'estero. Troppo spesso, infatti , l'Italia sembra dimenticare di avere delle importanti 'estensioni culturali' cui dovrebbe riservare maggiore attenzione, nella prospettiva di raccontare se stessa all'estero e raccogliere le risposte dei vari pubblici, in uno scambio che non può altro che arricchire.

  • Tourism

    Pesaro and Urbino Unveiled in New York

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    The Italian Government Touristic Board has been recognized for the 2nd consecutive year as the first National European touristic board based in North America. Last Monday it hosted a presentation of the territories of Pesaro and Urbino in the Marche region.

    The conference was opened by Riccardo Strano, director of the board, who introduced the Marche region giving some details about its geographic area, the non-stop flights from the United States to Italy and the statistic trend of American tourists visiting the cities of Ancona, Pesaro and Urbino every year; afterwards he presented the official Italian guide that includes some images of the city of Urbino. The central image of the cover depicts a family in front of a natural landscape: the idea is to educate families in being closer to Italian culture through tourist tours. AARP Magazine says that Marche is one of the 5 must sees in the world. Other newspapers such as The New York Times, the Financial Times, The Orlando Times talked about the Marche as the second Tuscany.

    A video about the historical heritage and the naturalist resources of the Marche was screened. Last year a promotional campaign featuring American actor Dustin Hoffman reciting the “Infinito” poem by Giacomo Leopardi was screened as well.

    Marche is the land of composer Giacchino Rossini, painter Raphael Sanzio, poet Giacomo Leopardi, motorbike world champion Valentino Rossi and pianist Giovanni Allevi. The lord of Urbino Federico da Montefeltro, who governed from 1444 to 1482, contributed to the construction of the major Reinassance features of the area.

    Alberto Drudi, the president of the Pesaro-Urbino Chamber of Commerce, spoke about the activities of the region, assuring that those who come only for business then want to come back to Marche also for tourism. There are 180 km of coast and driving 60 km you can easily reach the inland. The greenery brings peace of mind. Luciano Pavarotti, who came from another region, chose the hills of Pesaro to spend many years of his life. It is a very peaceful place with a lot of activities, 176,000 companies based there, some of which are very important Italian brands such as Scavolini kitchen, the Tod's and Piero Guidi shoes, the cartoon “The Wings” etc. The Marche cuisine has 21 different appetizers and tourists simply feel home. The Marche motto is “Welcome, quality of life and friendship”. “A long-standing friendship, human relations, and good cuisine will always create something positive, in this case also touristic flows to Italy” concluded Drudi.

    Pietro Marcolini, Minister of Culture of the Marche, remarked how the region ranked as the first Italian region in terms of percentage of factories and firms and 8th in Europe. It has a high quality of life, being assessed as the region in Italy where one lives better and longer. It hosts different festivals such as the Rossini Opera Festival and the National Cinema Festival of Pesaro. The city of Pesaro is one of the Unesco World Heritage sites. Told to be the second Tuscany, the minister recognizes a common heritage with the Tuscan region, but actually – he says - the cost of life is cheaper. History has left many traces as the archeological discovery of Pergola bronzes testifies. Dante Alighieri wrote part of his ‘Divine Comedy’ there, as well.

    On March 27, 2012, the three ‘ideal city pictures’, three paintings with the same theme that are now one in Urbino, one in Boston and one in Berlin will be on view together in an exhibit in Urbino. In the future more campaigns promoting the Marche will be presented in other American cities to reach a larger audience and to look for stronger collaborations with American tourists.

  • The movie actors
    Art & Culture

    "The First Beautiful Thing" at The Angelika Film Center

    “The First Beautiful Thing” is the English title for “La prima cosa bella”, by the director from Livorno Paolo Virzì. 

    The film was screened at the Angelika Film Center, in Italian with English subtitles (dubbing movies is now standard only in Italy and a handful of other countries).  So without any filters, the New York audience was able to leap into Italian life from the 1970s to today: images of hot summers in the city between lights and neighborhood festivals, scenes from Italian classic films and melodic songs of those years, such as “La prima cosa bella” by Nicola di Bari that gave the title to the film. The story takes place in Livorno, the director’s home town, and describes a provincial Italy changing slowly thanks to the economic boom, but shedding with difficulties its cultural traditions: a woman too beautiful would constitute a threat to her husband because of the talk of the town; a woman who left her home would shame her family; a woman working for the movies would be like selling her body.

    The story follows the beautiful Anna, a mother who leaves home with her two children Bruno and Veleria, because of her husband’s jealousy. Bruno, once a teen-ager, is the most affected by his mother and leaves his family. Only Anna’s terminal disease will be able to bring them together again.

    Therefore the film descends into the complicated mother-son relationship, which is far from easy to talk about, a task in which Virzì succeeds with his usual ‘melancholic lightness’ that made him one of today’s representatives of Italian comedy. It is a kind of comedy that laughs at its own characters, usually naïve, awkward and full of hope (like the Taninos in ‘My name is Tanino’ or Caterina in ‘Caterina va in città’), and it also studies serious issues and traits typical of the Italian society: his film “Tutta la vita davanti” is most relevant because he paints a tragicomic scene on the theme of precariousness, whether at work, existential, or sentimental, in today’s Italy.

    In “La prima cosa bella” Virzì speaks about a timeless theme, and he does so without abandoning his sense of humor, which allows him to make a little fun of his characters while further analyzing their problems: Bruno is a grumpy immature unsatisfied 40-year-old, who avoids serious commitments with women. We see him avoiding responsibility, refusing to see his mother, maniacally seeking refuge in tranquilizers, narcoleptics and marijuana. Anna is an exuberant woman, perhaps naïve or superficial. But Virzì doesn’t seem to condemn her. We see her dragging her kids in precarious refuges, forcing them to drastically change their life on more than one occasion, she attracts admirers and lovers, praise and comments. All of this with a joy de vivre that lies heavy on her son Bruno: the more she seems to face life with determination and lightness, the more he introverts; perhaps Bruno would have wanted his mother more present, ready to accept the rules of an old society in exchange for a tranquil family life and the silence of the town. The relationship between parents and their kids is an eternal dilemma; a constant that can be succesfully narrated outside of Italy.

    The film also received eighteen David di Donatello nominations, winning for Best Screenplay (by Virzì, Francesco Bruni and Francesco Piccolo), Best Supporting Actress (Micaela Ramazzotti as young Anna) and Best Actor (Valerio Mastandrea as Bruno). The film also won Silver Ribbons, the prizes awarded by the film press, given to Virzì as the director of the best film of the year, as well as ribbons for Best Actress (Stefania Sandrelli as Anna), Best Screenplay and Best Costumes.

  • Arte e Cultura

    "La prima cosa bella" proiettato all'Angelika Film Center di New York

    “The First Beautiful thing” è il titolo inglese dell’originale film in italiano “La prima cosa bella” del regista livornese Paolo Virzì. 

    Il film viene proiettato all’ Angelika Film Center interamente in lingua originale e sottotitolato in inglese – il doppiaggio rimane un’abitudine italiana e di pochi altri paesi.

    Eliminato così ogni filtro, che la resa in un’altra lingua inevitabilmente crea, il pubblico newyorkese fa un salto nella vita in Italia dagli anni ’70 ad oggi: immagini di calde estati in città tra luci e feste rionali, immagini del cinema italiano e delle canzoni melodiche di quegli anni- come “La prima cosa bella” del cantante Nicola di Bari da cui ha preso il titolo il film. Ambientato a Livorno, città natale del regista, il film descrive un'Italia di provincia che stava lentamente cambiando il proprio volto con il boom economico, ma stentava ad abbandonare i retaggi culturali di un tempo: la donna troppo bella continuava ad essere quasi una minaccia per il marito, perché destava commenti nel paese; la donna che andava via di casa disonorava la famiglia; la donna che lavorava per il cinema vendeva il suo corpo.

    La storia è quella della bellissima Anna, una madre che per via della gelosia del marito va via di casa, con i suoi bambini, Bruno e Valeria. A risentire di più dell’immagine della madre è Bruno che, arrivato al liceo, abbandona la famiglia. Solo la malattia mortale di Anna li riavvicinerà.

    Il film scende, dunque, nelle trame profonde del complicato rapporto tra madre e figlio. Un rapporto di cui non è facile parlare, ma Virzì vi riesce con la sua comune 'malinconica leggerezza' che lo ha reso uno degli attuali rappresentanti della commedia all'italiana. Una commedia che se ride dei suoi personaggi, spesso ingenui, goffi e pieni di speranze (come i giovani Tanino nel film 'My name is Tanino' o Caterina di 'Caterina va in città') approfondisce anche problematiche e tratti tipici della società italiana: tremendamente attuale è il film “Tutta la vita davanti” in cui Virzì da' uno spaccato tragicomico sul tema della precarietà dei nostri giorni, una precarietà lavorativa, esistenziale e sentimentale dell'Italia di oggi.

    Ne “ La prima cosa bella” Virzì racconta di un tema senza tempo e lo fa senza abbandonare la sua ironia, che gli permettere di prendere un po' in giro i suoi personaggi mentre ne approfondisce i drammi: Bruno è un burbero quarantenne immaturo, insoddisfatto, che si sottrae ad impegni seri con le donne. Lo vediamo evitare le responsabilità, rifiutarsi di rivedere la madre, tentare maniacalmente rifugio in tranquillanti, narcolettici, marjiuna. Anna è una donna esuberante, forse ingenua o superficiale. Ma Virzì non sembra condannarla. La vediamo trascinare i figli in rifugi precari, costringerli a cambi di vita repentini, attirare ammiratori e amanti, lusinghe e commenti. Tutto questo con una gioia di vivere che pesa al figlio Bruno: quanto più lei sembra affrontare con determinazione e leggerezza la vita, tanto più lui sembra chiudersi in se stesso; forse Bruno avrebbe voluto una madre più presente, pronta ad accettare le regole di una vecchia società per la tranquillità della famiglia e il silenzio del paese. Un dilemma eterno, quello del rapporto tra genitori e figli; una costante che può essere narrata con successo oltre i confini dell'Italia.

    Il film ha ricevuto diciotto candidature al David di Donatello, ottenendo tre riconoscimenti: per la miglior sceneggiatura, di Virzì, Francesco Bruni e Francesco Piccolo, per la miglior attrice non protagonista (Micaela Ramazzotti che interpreta Anna in età giovanile) e il miglior attore protagonista (Valerio Mastandrea nel ruolo di Bruno). Ha ricevuto il Nastro d'Argento, premio assegnato dalla stampa cinematografica a Virzì come regista del miglior film dell'anno e i nastri per la miglior attrice protagonista (Stefania Sandrelli nel ruolo di Anna), per la migliore sceneggiatura e per i migliori costumi.

  • Art & Culture

    Our Lady of Pietranico: The New Ambassador of The Cultural Heritage of Abruzzo Arrives to New York

    p { margin-bottom: 0.08in; } p { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }On the second anniversary of the tragic Abruzzo earthquake, April the 6th, the Italian Culture Institute hosted a Press Conference on the restoration of “Our Lady of Pietranico” which is one of the most significant Abruzzo's artistic legacy. It is a precious sixteenth century terracotta Madonna which was shattered into 24 fragments and smaller pieces.

     On the second anniversary of the tragic Abruzzo earthquake, April the 6th, the Italian Culture Institute hosted a Press Conference on the restoration of “Our Lady of Pietranico” which is one of the most significant artistic legacies of Abruzzo. It is a precious sixteenth century terracotta Madonna, whose author is uncertain, which was shattered into twenty-four fragments and smaller pieces.

    In his welcoming greetings, the Director of the Institute, Mr. Riccardo Viale, explained how the fundraising made by the Italian American Museum is at the same time a strong collaboration between Italy and USA and a good example of fund-raising for Italian cultural heritage.

    A fund-raising that, in Consul Talò’s words, is not a simple act of generosity but reveals a great sense of national unity. He added “ The Italian-Americans were the first to arrive to our Ministry, their donation was the most efficient and showed the chance to work together for common cultural values. Although it is impossible to reconstruct over two years, Italy has learned to face these problem. Of course there remains a lot to do”. He recognizes the role of the Italian experts in the restorations: “ To preserve the artistic heritage is fundamental. This is the best way to commemorate the victims. It is not just for the Italian identity, but for the economic values gained through tourism. Italy is a country of art, where art is studied and maintained. The Italian cultural heritage is universal”.

    A documentary by Michele Bevilacqua was screened, focusing on the different steps of the one-year long job of restoration: the withdrawal of the sculpture on March the 17th 2010, the delivery to Rome, the assessment of the benchmark of restoration; the visit to Castelli, a small town in Abruzzo where a “ a respiro” oven was used to reproduce the lost hand. A big attention was given to the polichromy of the statue: 16 levels of previous restorations were found. Both mechanical means and 3D models were used. Support elements were added and the nose, two fingers and one hand were reconstructed .

    The first guest speaker was Mario Resca, General Director of Italian Heritage and Antiquities, who said “We are bringing back to the Italian American Museum the witness of its generosity. After the earthquake there was a worldwide concern for a possible loss of the Italian heritage. Italy is a leading cultural heritage, it has cultural assets based on thousands years of history, so it has the responsibility to preserve, maintain, and share its culture.

    Italy itself is a museum open-air. The recent 15 % increase of visits to our museums marks a growing interest for its historic heritage”.

    Then the floor was given to Lucia Arbace, the Superintendent for the Historic and Artistic ethno-anthropological Heritage of the Abruzzo Region. She was really emotionally involved in her speech. Shattered in twenty-four fragments, the Madonna was exhibited during the G8 Summit in l’Aquila, so it became the new ambassador of the cultural heritage of Abruzzo. They had to reconstruct the lost hand to maintain the original iconography of the sculpture: the representation of the simple spiritualism of San Francis’s pray. Both this statue and the “Trittico di Beffi”, another painting restored after the earthquake, came to very small towns of Abruzzo. Beffi is a village with forty inhabitants and Pietranico counts 400 citizens.

    Joseph Scelsa, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Italian American Museum, presented his institution with US $110,000 of  funds to sustain the recovery and restoration of the Lady. The Museum was please to reclaim it, becoming incredibly a powerful connection among all Italian-Americans: people started coming to the museum from all around the US to make donations. He had no idea he would  receive such an  amount. “This is the sign of a collective activism. We are so sorry for the tragedy and very proud of this response” he said.

    Finally Elisabetta Sonnino, chief of the restoration team, described the technical aspects of their job. She empathized how important was to do a document analysis of the previous restoration of the 1930's and  field work in the village of Pietranico. This led them to analyze the social and community environments and the religious devotion to the statue, which are fundamental aspects to reveal the real symbolic value of a work of art.

    Our Lady of Pietranico will be on view at the Italian-American Museum in Mulberry Street, in New York, until next June.

  • Art & Culture

    A Tiger calm, Na calma tigrata, is the New Lucia Grillo's Feature-lenght Narravite Film

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    The award-winning filmmaker Lucia Grillo and her film company Calabrisella Films will launch a fundraising campaign for the feature-length narrative film, A Tigered Calm on the webside Indiegogo on with perks ranging from DVDs of the completed film A Tigered Calm, to a walk-on role in the film, to Red Carpet access at the film's premiere. 

    The goal of the campaign is to raise $100,000 in 90 days, the first $28,000 of which by April 20th - Lucia's birthday - which will be celebrated at an exclusive fundraising party in New York to which contributors will be invited. 

    There is also an opportunity for investors, at the Producer levels, who can contact Lucia and Executive Producer, Lizette Jamison at [email protected]

    A Tigered Calm is a feature-lengths film to be shot entirely on location in Calabria and New York. The film is about New York social worker Caterina, "Cat," who arrives in Calabria to work at a rehab center in Calabria, helping youth stay off drugs and out of jail. There, she meets Manuele, a bright 17-year-old on probation for drug dealing and mafia association. Cat takes Manu under her wing, showing him alternatives to a life of crime, and begins to have an impact. Cat also reunites with Cesare, whom she has loved since adolescence, now the head of the local 'ndrangheta (the Calabrian mafia, the most powerful in the world). What Cat doesn't know is that Manu works for Cesare... 

    A Tigered Calm is the first film ever to see the mafia through the eyes of a woman, a woman who is an outsider and who fights to change things. This is a woman with a strong emotional and cultural bond to the land of her origins, and her people.

    Lucia says, “All of my stories as a filmmaker so have been inspired by the immigrants who raised me and who have enriched my life in every way. As a community, we are concerned about stereotypes and sometimes speak out, sometimes discuss amongst ourselves. We can also show our stories – not only to our community, but also to others outside the diaspora who are interested in human stories, stories of people who strive to make a difference.” Lucia has been bestowed the title Ambassador of Calabria “for the diffusion of the culture through cinema,” by the Presidents of the Calabria and Lazio Regions of Italy.

    For more information about the story, the production team, and how to be part of making this film happen, visit the website Atigeredcalm. Please also follow the film's progress at and on Facebook: A Tigered Calm 

    Come see her documentary, Terra sogna terra (Earth dream earth) at the Calandra Institute on May 12th. DVDs of her two films, the award-winning A pena do pana (The Cost of Bread) and the Cannes Film Festival selection Ad Ipponion (Ode to Hipponion) are avaialable on Amazon in two versions home use and Institutional/Educational  

    Trailers of the films can be seen at the Calabrisella Film webstite

  • Arte e Cultura

    Alla Carnegie Hall di NY debutta il gruppo “Women of the World”

    Il gruppo“Wowen of the World” del Berklee College of Music di Boston si esibisce martedì 15 marzo alla Carnegie Hall di NY, ore 21. 

    Il loro progetto musicale raccoglie 5 donne, che fanno da voce, ed 11 musicisti. Insieme si possono dire un mix perfetto di culture, identità e tradizioni dei diversi angoli del mondo, per un totale di 10 paesi e 4 continenti rappresentati.

    In una tale mescolanza di ritmi diversi e varie tradizioni folk, la performance di domani sera sembra preannunciarsi come una proposta musicale originale e creativa, per due ore intense di concerto. Intervistata da i-italy alla vigilia del loro debutto newyorkese, Giorgia Renosto, una delle voci del gruppo, ci descrive così il loro percorso musicale:

    “Il nostro progetto è nato al Berklee College of Music, dove tutti noi abbiamo studiato, dal desiderio di una ragazza giapponese di mettere insieme più persone di tutto il mondo per arrivare,  a partire dal bagaglio culturale e musicale di ognuno, a nuove sperimentazioni. Più che melodica la nostra è una musica ritmica. La batteria e le percussioni fanno da padrone sul palco, accompagnate da un corpo di altri 8 strumenti.

     Nel repertorio di domani ci sarà uno spazio dedicato ai nostri paesi di origine: noi cinque cantanti siamo una italiana, una greca, una brasiliana,un’americana, una giapponese ed un’indiana ed ognuna di noi metterà in scena una canzone, strumentale o a cappella, che rappresenti la nostra nazione”.

    La tappa di NY si preannuncia, quindi, come la prima di un cammino che,  per le origini e le ambizioni, sembra sarà davvero senza frontiere.

  • Arte e Cultura

    “Copy That”, “Ricevuto, passo e chiudo”: la vita a NY secondo l'artista Federico Massa

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    Federico Massa, in arte Cruz, è un artista poliedrico. Nato e cresciuto a Milano, si è diplomato all'Accademia delle Belle Arti di Brera e oggi vive in un loft di Brooklyn, una ex fabbrica di colla di 100 mq e 5 metri di altezza. Ha lavorato attivamente con i collettivi “Bag Art Factory” e “Biokip”, impegnandosi in installazioni, mostre, scenografie ed allestimenti, in un intreccio di arte e musica. Cura il design di lampade in plexigass , di toys, magliette, borse, felpe. Ha collaborato con i brand Marc Jacobs e La Perla. Lavora con diversi materiali come resina, piombo, plastica, cercando sempre nuove ispirazioni. Si è avvicinato all'arte facendo murales. Proprio un murales, dipinto sul muro esterno della galleria, apre il percorso visivo della mostra intitolata “Copy That”, inaugurata lo scorso 19 febbraio alla Graphite Gallery, 38 Mercy av. Brooklyn, NY 11211.

    Alle domande di I-Italy risponde così.

    Hai detto di essere venuto qui per scappare dall'Italia, per trovare un ambiente più fertile. Pensi che ci siano nuove correnti artistiche tutte italiane? O pensi che l'Italia sia intenzionata più a ricordare il passato che a produrre e coltivare nuove tendenze? Inoltre, che grado di apertura c'e' in Italia alle spinte provenienti dall'estero?

    Credo che in Italia ci siano molte persone di talento che cercano di portare un'innovazione sacrificando tempo ed energia. Non so se a livello artistico si siano create vere e proprie correnti artistiche ma sicuramente ci sono interessanti collettivi artistici. Ne è l’esempio il “The Bag Art Factory” di Milano, gruppo di artisti tra cui pittori, scultori e scenografi. Io ne faccio tutt’ora parte ma le notizie che arrivano da Milano è che stiamo perdendo la sede che ci ospita e dopo tanti anni di attività artistica è difficile trovare sostegno o fondi per continuare a portare avanti questa realtà unica nel suo genere. Si sa che l’Italia è molto legata alla sua storia e alle sue origine e io vado fiero di questo, però molte volte diventa più un ostacolo che un vanto; spesso ci si accorge di alcune tendenze provenienti da altri paesi solo alcuni anni dopo, cosa che ci fa rimanere sempre un passo in dietro.

    Il pubblico newyorkese, o in generale americano, sembra avere strumenti di decodifica migliori, perché più esposto a questo genere di arte. Che feedback hai avuto fino ad ora?

    Il mio percorso artistico è cominciato dai graffiti per poi prendere una strada più pittorica, ma con forte ispirazione all’ urban style. I graffiti, come la Pop Art sono nati a NY e credo che qui ci sia più apertura mentale verso delle arti che escono un pò dagli schemi. Il progetto pittorico intitolato “Omaggi”, a cui sto lavorando da diversi anni consiste nella rivisitazione di poster affissi dal comune di Milano, che trattano di mostre di altri artisti che hanno fatto la storia dell’arte. Io intervengo su questi poster miscelando il disegno originale con la mia pittura, facendo attenzione a lasciare sempre dei riferimenti che riportino all’artista a cui sto porgendo omaggio. Quello che cerco di ottenere è di mischiare l’arte del passato con l’arte dell’epoca in cui sto vivendo: amalgamarle, miscelarle, fondendole come se non potesse esisterne una senza l’altra.

    Perché' il titolo “Copy That”? C'e' un filo conduttore che unisce le tele esposte o hanno ciascuna un significato a sé ?

    C’è un motivo ben preciso per cui ho scelto il titolo Copy That : questa frase si usa quando si parla con le ricetrasmittenti e significa “ricevuto” come dire “ricevuto, passo e chiudo”. All’interno delle opere che ho presentato in questa mostra, vi è la mia visione di NYC con riferimenti culturali e iconografici che ho appunto ricevuto vivendo in questa città, da qui il nome Copy That.

    Cosa ti aspetti da New York in termini di crescita  artistica e professionale? Ti sei occupato di diversi ambiti fino ad ora. Pensi di rivolgere l'attenzione su un ambito specifico in futuro?

    Sono sicuro di una mia crescita artistica e professionale in questa città, credo che per un artista la cosa più importante sia avere degli input sempre nuovi per la creazione delle proprie opere e da questa città io ne ho molti, tutti i giorni. Mi è sempre piaciuto collaborare con altre persone e lavorare su diversi campi usando come unico filo conduttore la mia arte, spero di poter continuare a farlo a lungo.