Today at the Center for Italian Modern Art, the first part of a two-day conference: Untying ‘The Knot’: The State of Postwar Italian Art History Today, organized by Sharon Hecker and Marin R. Sullivan. Co-sponsored by the Italian Art Society, this symposium seeks to evaluate the current state of the field and highlight alternative methodologies for future inquiry.

2015 marks the thirty-year anniversary of curator Germano Celant’s The Knot, the 1985 landmark exhibition held at PS1 in New York, which introduced contemporary Italian art to American audiences. Yet despite the interest it generated in its time, few scholars in the United States considered postwar Italian art as a subject for study in the decades since. Today, thanks to recent exhibitions and publications, scholars on both sides of the Atlantic are increasingly turning their attention to Italian art created after World War II. With the passage of half a century, European and American scholars alike are historicizing and scrutinizing the complex dichotomies that defined Italy during the period: from its dialogue with artistic and craft traditions of the past within the context of rapid industrialization, to the so-called “economic miracle” and the effects of American consumerism, to the mechanics of Italy’s desire to establish a particular kind of Italian Modernism in art, film, and design that would also become internationally influential.


Laura Petican (Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi)
‘Yes, but are you Italian?’: Considering the Legacy of italianità in Postwar and Contemporary Italian Art

Denis Viva (Università degli Studi di Udine)
Learning from artists: visual resources and Postwar Italian Art History

Gabriele Guercio (Independent)
Gino de Dominicis, Lady of Warka

Sharon Hecker (Independent)
Medardo Rosso’s Postwar Italian Legacy

Laura Moure Cecchini (Duke University)
A House No Longer Divided: Patronage, Pluralism, and Creative Freedom in Italian Pre- and Postwar Art

Davide Colombo (University of Milan)
Piero Dorazio: Non-objective Art vs. Abstract Expressionism?

Christopher Bennett (Independent)
Gleaning Italian Pop: Renato Mambor’s Thread

Fabio Belloni (Independent)
American Hyperrealism: an Italian Debate, 1972-74

Christian Caliandro (Symbola Foundation, Rome)
Rediscovering the Real: Art, Literature & Cinema during the Postwar Years

Nicoletta Leonardi (University of California, Florence Study Center)
From page to street and back: photography, visual poetry and the Italian city in the work of Franco Vaccari

Romy Golan (Graduate Center, City University New York)
Switchbacks in Italian Art of the 1960s

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