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Life & People
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL. Over 1,600 migrants currently held on the Italian island of Lampedusa are at risk of being forcibly returned to their home countries. According to an official statement by the Italian Minister of the Interior on 23 January, 150 migrants have already been returned from Lampedusa since 1 January. (Read the article)
Reuters. Mania over President Barack Obama has reached the catwalks of Rome, where a top haute couture designer showed off a kaftan emblazoned with his face and another dedicated a gown of "hope" to his wife Michelle. (Read the article)
The Wall Street Journal. Italian eyewear maker Luxottica SpA is expected to unveil a new social-benefits program for its domestic work force, an attempt to ease the pain as the global economic downturn hits Italy's industrial north. (Read the article by Stacy Meichtry and Jennifer Clark)
DAILY NEWS. PETA is fur-ious with designer Giorgio Armani, saying he reneged on a promise to stop using animal pelts in his clothing line. The organization has taken out a full-page ad in Variety depicting the perma-tanned Italian as Pinocchio, and urging those attending this year's Oscars to shun the designer's duds on the red carpet. (Read the article)
Bloomberg.com. Tibet’s Buddhist spiritual leader, will visit Italy and France next week to receive awards, at the same time as the United Nations reviews human rights in China. (Read the article by James Peng)
Buffalonews. Terry Ann Hayes, a graduate design student at Rochester Institute of Technology presents her proposal Wednesday for a new Little Italy identity system on Hertel Avenue to the Hertel Avenue Business Association. (Read the article by Brian Meyer)
MACWORLD. Macity, an Italian-language Mac news site, has a screenshot of a job offer from a Milan store, which seems to indicate that an opening is imminent within the coming months. (Read the article by Cyrus Farivar)
autoblog. Reports persist on the prospect of a street race in Rome, punctuated this week by news that prolific track architect Herman Tilke is in the Italian capital planning layouts. (Read the article by Noah Joseph)
silive.com. Staten Island's State Sen. Diane Savino has been elected by her colleagues in the New York State Legislature to a one-year term as president of the New York Conference of Italian-America Legislators. (Read the article by Judy L. Randall)
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Italy in NY Calendar
Perhaps more than any other painter, Sandro Botticelli (about 1445–1510) exemplifies the artistic achievement of Renaissance Florence in the 15th century. “Botticelli and the Search for the Divine,” organized by the Muscarelle Museum of Art at the College of William & Mary and Italy’s Metamorfosi Associazione Culturale, explores the dramatic changes in the artist’s style and subject matter—from poetic depictions of classical gods and goddesses to austere sacred themes—reflecting the shifting political and religious climate of Florence during his lifetime.
At the height of his career, Botticelli was supported by the powerful Medici family, headed by Lorenzo the Magnificent. Botticelli’s instantly recognizable style, characterized by strong contours, lyrical poses, and transparent flowing drapery, was influenced both by Antique models and the courtly preferences of his patrons. Two paintings from this period on view in the exhibition, Minerva and the Centaur (1481, Uffizi, Florence) and Venus (about 1490, Galleria Sabauda, Turin)—Botticelli’s reworking of his famous Birth of Venus—are life-size and display the painter’s skill in depicting elegant figures from classical mythology.
In his later years, Botticelli became a follower of the stern Dominican friar Girolamo Savonarola, who by 1494 had established a theocracy in Florence following the exile of the Medici family. Personal conduct came under harsh scrutiny, and in 1497 all manner of worldly goods—including cosmetics, mirrors, fancy clothing, musical instruments, and paintings with nudes and pagan subjects—were burned in a notorious “Bonfire of the Vanities.” Under Savonarola’s sway, Botticelli’s graceful manner gave way to a newly austere approach, and secular subject matter disappeared. Severe religious paintings dominate the artist’s later production, and such moving masterpieces as the Virgin and Child with the Young Saint John (about 1495, Galleria Palatina, Palazzo Pitti, Florence) demonstrate the striking departure from his earlier sweet style. The exhibition also includes paintings by Botticelli’s teacher Filippo Lippi, his student Filippino Lippi, and other contemporaries.
The exhibition, the largest and most important display of Botticelli’s works in the United States, features 24 paintings from international lenders and the MFA’s own Virgin and Child with Saint John the Baptist (about 1500) as well as important loans from Harvard and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan’s bold, irreverent work skewers social complacencies and reimagines cultural icons. On the occasion of his 2011–12 retrospective at the Guggenheim, which featured virtually every work he had ever made suspended from the oculus of the rotunda, Cattelan announced his retirement from art making. Five years later, he returns from this self-imposed exile with a new, ongoing project at the museum. For “America” Cattelan replaced the toilet in this restroom with a fully functional replica cast in 18-karat gold, making available to the public an extravagant luxury product seemingly intended for the 1 percent. Its participatory nature, in which viewers are invited to make use of the fixture individually and privately, allows for an experience of unprecedented intimacy with a work of art. Cattelan’s toilet offers a wink to the excesses of the art market but also evokes the American dream of opportunity for all—its utility ultimately reminding us of the inescapable physical realities of our shared humanity.
Gladstone Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of historical works realized by Italian artist Mimmo Rotella from 1953 to 1962. Representing a sea change in the artist’s practice, the compositions on view are some of the first examples of Rotella’s pioneering décollage and retro d’affiche techniques, methods that would become integral to Rotella’s artistic pursuit of continually engaging with mass media’s own promotional materials.
The Medici’s Painter: Carlo Dolci and 17th-Century Florence is the first exhibition in America devoted to the luminous and meticulously rendered paintings and drawings of Italian artist Carlo Dolci (1616–1687). It provides an unprecedented opportunity to study the life and oeuvre of 17th-century Florence’s most important painter, whose reverence for detail, brilliant palette, and seemingly enameled surfaces earned the favor of powerful Medici patronage.
“Carol Rama: Antibodies” is the first New York museum survey of the work of Italian artist Carol Rama (b. 1918, Turin, Italy–d. 2015, Turin, Italy) and the largest presentation of her work in the US to date.
While Rama has been largely overlooked in contemporary art discourses, her work has proven prescient and influential for many artists working today, attaining cult status and attracting renewed interest in recent years. Rama’s exhibition at the New Museum will bring together over one hundred of her paintings, objects, and works on paper, highlighting her consistent fascination with the representation of the body.