Exhibiting Italian Art in the United States from Futurism to Arte Povera

Tuesday, April 25, 2023, 12:15 - 2pm

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Raffaele Bedarida book



Raffaele Bedarida, associate professor of art history, speaks about his latest book that explores how Italian institutions, dealers, critics, and artists constructed a modern national identity for Italy by exporting – literally and figuratively – contemporary art to the United States in key moments between 1929 and 1969.

The program will be held in The Cooper Union Library.

From artist Fortunato Depero opening his Futurist House in New York City to critic Germano Celant launching Arte Povera in the United States, Raffaele Bedarida examines the thick web of individuals and cultural environments beyond the two more canonical movements that shaped this project. By interrogating standard narratives of Italian Fascist propaganda on the one hand and American Cold War imperialism on the other, this book establishes a more nuanced transnational approach. The central thesis is that, beyond the immediate aims of political propaganda and conquering a new market for Italian art, these art exhibitions, publications, and the critical discourse aimed at American audiences all reflected back on their makers: they forced and helped Italians define their own modernity in relation to the world’s new dominant cultural and economic power.

Since joining The Cooper Union full-time faculty in 2016, Professor Bedarida has coordinated the History and Theory of Art program. He received a Ph.D. in art history from the CUNY Graduate Center, New York as well as his M.A. and B.A. degrees in art history from the Università degli Studi di Siena, Italy. 

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