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Propaganda: The Art of Political Indoctrination

detail from brochure

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the exhibit will remain at Casa Italiana through mid-June.


The Art of Political Indoctrination in Italy, 1902-1950

Works from the Fondazione Massimo and Sonia Cirulli

Curated by
Nicola Lucchi, CUNY Queens College

NYU Advisors
Ruth Ben-Ghiat; Valentina Castellani; Ara Merjian

Opening: March 4, 2020, 6:00pm
On view through April 17, 2020
Mon-Fri 10-6

Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò at New York University is pleased to present a documentary exhibition that investigates the inner workings of propaganda through the lens of 20th century Italian politics. Its focus is on fascism, with works from the two decades of Mussolini’s dictatorial government (1922-1943, followed by two additional years at the helm of the Italian Social Republic, a Nazi puppet-state in northern Italy), plus select pieces from the edges of this period that help contextualize the exhibition.

In sum, these years constitute the most problematic period in modern Italian history, and the fascist use of propaganda—which enlisted prominent artists in the service of its bankrupt ideology—is a case study in the tools of oppressive politics.

The exhibition illustrates how fascist political propaganda coopted modernist aesthetics, mass communication, marketing techniques, and popular culture to manipulate society and muster support for its totalitarian endeavors. Considered together, the propaganda emerging from fascism, as well as from the particularly tense democratic times surrounding the fascist period, provide an opportunity to deconstruct the rhetoric of political communication in its entirety, and represent a call to engage critically with the multitude of competing political narratives that surround us today.

The exhibition will be enriched by a calendar of related events:
Except where noted, the following programs will take place at Casa Italiana (24 West 12th Street)

Wednesday, March 4
6:00pm Exhibition Viewing
6:30pm Opening Panel Discussion featuring the curator and artistic advisors
7:30pm Reception

Monday, March 9, 6:30pm
Film Screening
Lo squadrone bianco (White Squadron, dir. Augusto Genina, 1936)
Introduced by Alberto Zambenedetti, University of Toronto
In Italian with English subtitles

Wednesday, April 1, 6:00pm
Italian Cultural Institute of New York (686 Park Ave.)
The Afterlife of Fascist Monuments
A Lecture by Carmen Belmonte, Fellow, Italian Academy

Tuesday, April 7, 6:30pm
Film Screening
Grandi magazzini (Department Store, dir. Mario Camerini, 1939)
In Italian with English subtitles

Tuesday, April 14, 6:30pm
Serata Futurista
A concert and presentation by composer and musicologist Luciano Chessa

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