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Art, Italian American Issues

The Fate of Futurism in the USA

A lecture by Laura Mattioli (Center for Italian Modern Art)

November 15, 2018
6:30 pm

A lecture by
Laura Mattioli, founder of the Center for Italian Modern Art (CIMA)

From the beginning of the movement, Futurist artists actively engaged in proselytizing and spreading their ideas beyond national borders. Despite this, F.T. Marinetti refused to let his artists participate in the first major exhibition of modern art organized in the USA in 1913, The Armory Show –an error in judgment with (art) historical consequences. If the death of Marinetti in 1944 marked the definitive end of the Futurist group, the exhibition at the MoMA XX Century Italian Art of 1949 presented Futurism for the first time in the United States as the crucible of modern Italian art, with important acquisitions by American collectors and museums. The exhibition helped to mark the division between First and Second Futurism, after which only the production prior to 1916 became recognized as important for the history of art.

A more attentive reinterpretation of Futurism and of its intrinsic traits – chiefly a desire to change the daily life of the masses and their political consequence – has yet to be accepted by international critics. Despite the transversality of today’s artistic forms, cultural barriers still exist that impede a broader, more comprehensive study of the movement – something this talk will examine in the light of new methodological and museological models.

Laura Mattioli was born in Milan in 1950 to one of the most well-known collectors of modern art, Gianni Mattioli, and met and spent time with famous artists from an early age. She graduated in Modern Literature from the University of Milan and obtained a specialization degree in Art History in 1978. From 1992 to 1999, she taught at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bergamo, and she has curated various exhibitions, including Morandi Ultimo in Verona and in Venice in 1997-98, an exhibition on Umberto Boccioni at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 2004, and Boccioni Pittore e Scultore at Palazzo Reale in Milan in 2006. In 2013, she founded the Center for Italian Modern Art (CIMA) in New York and has curated all its exhibition activities since its founding.