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Event Details

Mon, June 26, 2017

18:30 – 21:30

Villa La Pietra
Via Bolognese, 120
50139 Firenze, ITALY

Inauguration of the art exhibition by Italian and international female artists  Zoe Buckman, Alessandra Capodacqua, Patricia Cronin, Bärbel Reinhard, and Deb Willis, with poetry reading by Elisa Biagini, followed by a performance by Karen E. Finley, New York-based performance artist.

Karen Finley makes her Villa La Pietra debut with this performance of The Genital Election. Finley will present excerpts from her recent performance Unicorn Gratitude Mystery that examines pathological power, projection and gender in the US presidential election. In one excerpt Finley will perform as Donald Trump, embodying blonde feminine desire and degradation while unleashing psychosexual motivations for his presidential run against Hillary Clinton. Karen Finley is an award-winning artist of varying mediums, from her installations, music, painting, and writing to her most notable work as a performance artist. Her career brought her all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States in 1998 in a landmark case, National Endowment of the Arts v. Finley. Finley is known as one of the NEA 4, a group of artists defunded by the National Endowment of the Arts in the United States for their frank depiction of controversial and taboo issues in their work. Since the 1970s, she has pioneered in her field, recalled by many as “the chocolate smeared woman.” Her visceral work depicts issues surrounding sexuality, gender, violence, and celebrity. She is a Guggenheim fellow and recipient of the New York State Council on the Arts fellowship and the prestigious Richard J Massey Foundation Arts and Humanities Award. Her work has been featured internationally at the most esteemed venues (The Bobino in Paris, The ICA in London, Lincoln Center in New York). Her performance follows the inauguration of the exhibition Regarding Women in the Acton Collection. Using the Acton Collection as both a productive and discursive site, this exhibition examines the depiction of women with a transhistorical perspective, adding into the Villa’s collection contemporary responses by artists and poets in an effort to investigate, challenge and expand upon received art historical categories of iconography, patronage, material and function. Regarding Women in the Acton Collection is inaugurated as part of The Season, curated and produced by Ellyn Toscano. The Season was founded in 2004 by Toscano, the Villa’s director, from her vision to set contemporary work in conversation with the Villa’s expansive grounds and eclectic art collection. Since 2004, the Season has produced collaboration and exploration between international artists of varying mediums. In context with the exhibition curated by Toscano, Finley’s performance is sure to be a riveting event that is not to be missed.

Featured Biographies

Zoe Buckman


Zoë Buckman (b. 1985 Hackney, East London) is a multi-disciplinary artist working in sculpture, installation, and photography, exploring themes of Feminism, mortality, and equality. Buckman’s work has been shown in solo exhibitions including Imprison Her Soft Hand at Project for Empty Space, Newark, Every Curve at PAPILLION ART, Los Angeles and Present Life at Garis & Hahn Gallery, New York. Notable group exhibitions include: Harlem Postcards Fall/Winter 2016-2017, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY off the wall, Monique Meloche, Chicago, IL Framing Beauty, curated by Deborah Willis, Grunwald Art Gallery, Indiana University, IN For Freedoms, Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, NY Truth to Power, the Democratic National Convention, Philadelphia, PA Making and Unmaking, curated by Duro Olowu, Camden Arts Centre, London, UK Game On!, the Children’s Museum of the Arts, New York, NY To Be Young, Gifted, and Black, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, ZA New Abstraction, Leila Heller Gallery, New York, NY. Buckman was a featured artist at Pulse Projects New York 2014 and Miami 2016, and was included in the curated Soundscape Park at Art Basel Miami Beach 2016. The artist completed an artist residency at Mana Contemporary. Public works include a mural at Live Arts, Chelsea, New York in collaboration with Natalie Frank. Buckman studied at the International Center of Photography (ICP) and lives and works in New York.

Alessandra Capodacqua


Alessandra Capodacqua lives and works in Florence. A graduate in European Languages and Literatures, Alessandra is a photographer, teacher and curator of exhibitions. As a visual artist, she works with many different types of cameras, including pinhole, toy, digital and mobile. She constantly expands her artistic development by experimenting with new digital technologies and alternative printing processes. She teaches photography in Italian and in English for national and international schools and colleges. As a curator, Alessandra has developed exhibitions of photography and has participated to the creation of festivals of photography in Italy and abroad, such as the International Triennial Festival of Photography Backlight in Tampere, Finland and SI Fest 2016 in Savignano sul Rubicone. She is regularly invited for portfolio reviews: her task is to help photographers organize and expand their artistic production. She also gives photographers feedback for improving their career. Her main area of interest is documentary photography, photojournalism, street photography, and visual storytelling. She is often invited as juror for International Photo Awards and Prizes, and is a regular contributor to the LensCulture website.

Her photographs are shown nationally and internationally. Her works are in private and public collections, including the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence, the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris, the MUSINF in Senigallia, and the Museo di Montelupone. For more information visit her website

Patricia Cronin


Patricia Cronin is a New York-based cross-disciplinary artist and since the early-1990s, her photographs, paintings and sculptures, which examines issues of gender, sexuality and social justice, have been widely exhibited in the U.S. and internationally. Shrine For Girls, Venice premiered as a solo Collateral Event of the 56th Venice Biennale then traveled to The FLAG Art Foundation, New York, NY and The LAB, Dublin, Ireland. Other solo exhibitions were presented at the Capitoline Museum’s Centrale Montemartini Museum, and the American Academy in Rome Art Gallery, both in Rome, Italy; Newcomb Art Museum, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA; Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY and her monumental sculpture “Memorial To A Marriage” is permanently installed in Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, NY. Cronin is the recipient of numerous awards including: the Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome, Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant, Pollack Krasner Foundation Award and a Civitella Ranieri Fellowship. Her works are in museum collections such as the National Gallery of Art and Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, both in Washington, DC, Perez Art Museum Miami, FL and Gallery of Modern Art and Kelvingrove Museum, both in Glasgow, Scotland. She is the author of Harriet Hosmer: Lost and Found, A Catalogue Raisonné and The Zenobia Scandal: A Meditation on Male Jealousy. Cronin received her MFA from Brooklyn College of The City University of New York, where she is Professor of Art.

Bärbel Reinhard


Bärbel Reinhard is an artist working with photography and a teacher. After studying art history and sociology in Berlin she graduated in professional photography at Fondazione Studio Marangoni in Florence. Beside her work as photography teacher and freelance she works mainly on personal projects and has exhibited in Italy and abroad. She has curated several exhibitions in Italy and collaborated with publishers in the photographic sector. Her main interest is in the characteristics and limits of photography as a space-time-tied medium and its layering, memory and nature.

Deb Willis


Deborah Willis, Ph.D, is University Professor and Chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and has an affiliated appointment with the College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Social & Cultural Analysis, Africana Studies, where she teaches courses on photography and imaging, iconicity, and cultural histories visualizing the black body, women, and gender. Her research examines photography’s multifaceted histories, visual culture, the photographic history of Slavery and Emancipation, contemporary women photographers and beauty.  She received the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship and was a Richard D. Cohen Fellow in African and African American Art, Hutchins Center, Harvard University and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow. Professor Willis received the NAACP Image Award in 2014 for her co-authored book (with Barbara Krauthamer) Envisioning Emancipation. Other notable projects include The Black Female Body A Photographic History, Reflections in Black: A History of Black Photographers – 1840 to the Present, Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present, Michelle Obama: The First Lady in Photographs, a NAACP Image Award Literature Winner, and Black Venus 2010: They Called Her ‘Hottentot’.

Elisa Biagini


Elisa Biagini lives in Florence, Italy after having taught and studied in the U.S. for several years. Her poems have been published in several Italian and American reviews and anthologies. She has published 7 poetry collections- some bilingual- such as L’Ospite, (Einaudi, 2004), Fiato. parole per musica (Edizionidif 2006), Nel Bosco (Einaudi 2007) and Da una crepa (Einaudi, 2014). A selection of her poems came out in New York in 2013 (The guest in the wood, Chelsea editions- 2014 Best Translated Book Award). Her poems have been translated into English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Croatian, Japanese, Slovak, Russian, Serbian, Arabic and Chinese and she has been invited to important poetry festivals such as: “Stanza-Scotland’s International Poetry Festival”; St. Andrews, Scotland; “Dubai International Poetry Festival”, UAE; “poesiefestivalberlin”, Berlin; International Writers Workshop, Hong Kong (residency); “Struga poetry evenings”, Struga, Macedonia; “Poetry Parnassus” London; “internationales literaturfestival berlin”, Berlin and she has been a fellow at “Residences Internationales pour ecrivains au Chateau de Lavigny”, Suisse; “International Writers Workshop”, Hong Kong; “Fundacion Valparaiso”, Espana; “Fondazione Bogliasco-Centro studi ligure per le arti e le lettere”, Italy; “Hawthornden International Reatreat for Writers”, Scotland. She has translated several contemporary American poets for reviews, anthologies and complete collections (Nuovi Poeti Americani, Einaudi, 2006). Finally, she teaches creative writing-poetry, travel writing, literature and art history in American Universities in Italy and abroad

Karen E. Finley


Born in Chicago, she received her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. Working in a variety of mediums such as installation, video, performance, public art, visual art, entertainment, television and film, memorials, music, and literature, she has presented her work worldwide in various venues such as The Bobino in Paris, The ICA in London and Lincoln Center in NYC. Finley lectures and gives workshop at universities and museums internationally. Her work is in collections such as the Museum of Contemporary art and the Pompidou. She is the author of eight books, including a 25th  anniversary edition of Shock Treatment (City Lights 2015), Reality Shows, (Feminist Press 2011), and George and Martha (Verso 2008). Her recent work includes, Artist Anonymous –a social practice self-help open meeting for those addicted to art presented at Museum of Art and Design (2014), and Written in Sand, a performance of music and her writings on AIDS, Open Heart, a Holocaust memorial at Camp Gusen, Austria; Broken Negative, where Finley reconsiders her infamous chocolate performance that brought her to the Supreme Court, in Finley vs. NEA; and at the New Museum, NYC Sext ME if You Can, where Finley creates commissioned portraits inspired by “sexts” received from the public. Finley creates interactive walks such as Mandala: Reimaging Columbus Circle Columbia Graduate school of Architecture and Elastic City. A recipient of many awards and grants including a Guggenheim Fellowship, NYSCA and NEA fellowships. In 2015 she was awarded the Richard J Massey Foundation Arts and Humanities award.