The Best of Italy’s Art, Music and Culture Come to the U.S. in 2013
BY LAURA ITZKOWITZ
Assuming the world doesn’t end this month as the Mayans predicted, 2013 is set to be the Year of Italian Culture in the United States. Some 70 museums and cultural institutions throughout the country will display masterpieces on loan from Italy that range from the classical to the contemporary. The initiative is being organized by Italy’s foreign minister Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata, under the auspices of President of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano. It seems as though American institutions are already celebrating Italian culture, with the Bernini show at the Met, the Pasolini retrospective at MoMA, a special exhibition of Rosso Fiorentino and sixteenth century Florentine drawing at The Morgan Library, and the recent world premier of Jonathan Dawe’s new opera CosÃ¬ Faran Tutti at Columbia University’s Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America.
Another must-see event at the Italian Academy is the upcoming exhibition of works by contemporary photographer Paolo Ventura, opening on January 24th. Ventura’s photos are surreal and dreamlike, yet strangely familiar. Organized in various series, they retell the stories that Ventura’s father, a children’s book writer, told him and his brother growing up in post-WWII Italy. One of the most haunting stories is about an old watchmaker living in Venice on the eve of WWII, who decides to build an automaton to keep himself company when the Jewish Ghetto is emptied by the Fascists.
Ventura’s Venice is steely and gray, with dark water in the canals and a foggy atmosphere that gives the scenes a sense of foreboding. From far away, you would think that these were actual photographs of Venice, but upon closer inspection, you realize that something is off. This is because Ventura actually builds models of the scenes and photographs them, giving them the illusion that they are to scale. Having gotten a preview of the exhibition at the Italian Academy, I can assure you it’s well worth seeing.
In Washington D.C., the National Gallery inaugurates the Year of Italian Culture with an exhibition of Michelangelo’s David-Apollo, on loan from the Museo Nazionale del Bargello in Florence. The great Renaissance master never finished the sculpture with the details that would identify the figure as either David or Apollo, yet it’s a stunning example of his marble work. Visitors to the National Gallery can also feast their eyes on The Dying Gaul, on loan from the Capitoline Museum in Rome.
On the West Coast, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is currently hosting an exhibition of Caravaggio paintings and works by the painters he influenced. In March, the exhibition will travel to the Wadsworth Athenaeum Museum of Art in Hartford.
There will be plenty of musical, theatrical and cinematic offerings as well being that 2013 is the 200th anniversary of Giuseppe Verdi’s birth. Riccardo Muti, conductor and director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, has just published Verdi, l’Italiano (though the release date of the English translation has not yet been announced), and will perform a tribute to the great composer. The Boston Symphony Orchestra will perform Verdi’s Requiem on January 17th-19th.
In addition to a wealth of art, musical, theatrical and cinematic offerings, there will be events focused on literature, science, design, fashion, and cuisine. Visit the official website for more details about events: Italy in US 2013
About Laura Itzkowitz
Laura is an editor and regular contributor to Untapped Cities, a web magazine dedicated to helping people rediscover their city. She prides herself on being not only an avid traveler, but also a cultural chameleon, after having lived in Paris and Rome and soaking up the language and customs. She’s currently based in New York City, where she frequently writes about art and cultural events, and translates from both French and Italian. You can follow her at Untapped Cities and on Twitter: @lauraitzkowitz
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