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Event Details

Thu, April 19, 2018

18:00 – 19:30

Villa La Pietra
Via Bolognese, 120
50139 Firenze, Italia

A lecture by Prof. Ara H. Merjian – New York University

Two current exhibitions in Milan and Florence respectively examine crucial periods of Italy’s twentieth-century aesthetics, and the national myths which they helped to generate. Focusing on the art and architectural culture of Italy’s ventennio nero – or “black twenty years,” as Fascism’s reign is often deemed – the Fondazione Prada’s Post Zang Tumb Tuuum affords a comprehensive reconsideration of a period from which Italian identity, and perhaps that of the West at large, still struggles to liberate itself. In a sense, the Palazzo Strozzi’s Dawn of a Nation takes up where the Milan exhibition leaves off: excluding the immediate post-war period, it focuses upon the decade between 1958 and 1968, from the start of Italy’s so-called economic “boom,” to the social upheaval with which the 1960s ended in Italy and elsewhere. Discussing both exhibitions in context, this talk will examine their historical and aesthetic arguments, and consider both the rupture and continuity evinced by specific works.

Post Zang Tumb Tuuum. Art, Life, Politics: Italia 1918–1943
Fondazione Prada, Milan Palazzo Strozzi, Florence

Dawn of a Nation: From Guttuso to Fontana and Schifano
Feb. 18 – 25 June, 2018 March 16 – July 22, 2018

Featured Biographies

Ara M. Merjian


Ara H. Merjian is Associate Professor of Italian Studies at New York University, where he is an affiliate of the Institute of Fine Arts and the Department of Art History, as well as Director of Undergraduate Studies. He is the author of Giorgio de Chirico and the Metaphysical City: Nietzsche, Paris, Modernism (Yale University Press, 2014), which garnered a College Art Association Meiss Author’s Award, and Against the Avant-Garde: Pier Paolo Pasolini, Contemporary Art and Neocapitalism, 1960-1975 (University of Chicago Press, 2019), for which he won a Creative Capital/Andy Warhol Foundation Art Writers Grant. He is a frequent contributor to frieze, Art in America, and Artforum.