Just published in Two Coats of Paint:
An Italian American Colloquy with Joanne Mattera and John Avelluto
Click to read

Italianità:  A Book, an Exhibition

In 2023 I immersed myself in italianità, the essence of Italian character, to produce a book and co-curate an exhibition. The result was a 296-page hardcover book with the work of 59 artists--all drawing in some way, from their Italian American, or Italian, or Italian diasporic experience--and a long-running exhibition featuring the work of 21 artists from the book.

Let's start with the exhibition, A Legacy of Making

A Legacy of Making: 21 Contemporary Italian American Artists is on view at the John D. Calandra Institute in Midtown Manhattan until January 12, 2024. Curated by Joseph Sciorra and me, it features 21 artists from the newly published book, Italianità: Contemporary Art Inspired by the Italian Immigrant Experience. 

At the John D. Calandra Institute in Manhattan: A Legacy of Making: 21 Contemporary Italian American Artists, up through January 12

Before the pandemic, I had proposed an exhibition to Sciorra, the director of academic and cultural programs at Calandra, an Italian American American research Institute under the auspices of Queens College. In Spring 2023, when the Institute resumed its exhibition program, Scorra suggested that we curate an exhibition together. We selected 21 artists from the then about-to-be-published Italianità. We focused on artists from the New York metropolitan area. The exhibition is shown in panoramic view below. You can take a walk-though, with me as your guide, on my blog. Click here. (If you're in Manhattan, there are two programs to accompany the exhibition: one on November 8, the other on December 13. Scroll to the end of the blog for more information.)

The book, Italianità: Contemporary Art Inspired by the Italian Immigrant Experience

Originating from an online curatorial project that I conceived in 2020, Italianità, the book, features new artwork and personal narratives by 59 artists who were part of the original website. All have stories whose threads connect to the language and traditions of their immigrant forebears. The narratives are familiar, but the particular threads are unique to each artist, as we came of age in the conservative Fifties, the rebellious Sixties, the disco Seventies, even the MTV Eighties.

"We carry the history of our families and our cultures in our psyches as well as our genes," says B. Amore, who has traced seven generations of her family and whose work is included in the book.  At a time when ethnicity and cultural legacy are a big part of the art world conversation, Italianità makes a relevant contribution. 

Below, the front and back covers.

A peek at some pages, below

Foreword by Joseph Sciorra: Musings on Contemporary Italian American Visual Artists, which features Due Facc', a painting by John Avelluto. The book was designed by Karen Freedman

Opening to the section, Navigating, which features work by Angelica Bergamini, B. Amore, Diana González Gandolfi, Pasquale Natale, John Avelluto, and Jeanne Brasile

Opening to Needlework & Textiles, which features work by Jennifer Cecere, Patricia Miranda, Milisa Galazzi, Sheila Pepe, Chris Costan, Lorenza Sannai, Antonietta Grassi, Cianne Fragione, and me

Opening to Sculpture, which features work in a variety of mediums by Laura Moriarty, Nancy Azara, D. Dominick Lombardi, Lisa Zukowski, Don Porcaro, and Gianluca Bianchino

Opening to The Natural World, which features work by Debra Claffey, Margaret Lanzetta, Paula Maenza Roland, Sandi Miot, Denise Sfraga, Tracy Spadafora, Patti Russotti, and Brian Alterio

Opening to The Aesthetic Influence of the Church, with Baroque-inspired work by John Monti and Charyl Urbano Weissbach, and paintings by Grace DeDennaro, inspired by quietude and asceticism

Opening to Still Life, Architecture, and the Figure with work by Victor Pesce, Robert Maloney, Timothy Macellari McDowell, and Wayne Montecalvo

Geometry & Abstraction with Mark Wethli, Lloyd Martin, Lucio Pozzi, Karen Schifano, Paul Fabozzi, Carleen Zimbalatti, Roberta Tucci, Aldo Longo, Michelangelo Giaquinto, Mary Schiliro, and Hugo Rizzoli

Opening to Gesture & Materiality with Len Bellinger, Serena Bocchino, Carolanna Parlato, Assunta Sera, Josette Urso, and Anna Patalano

Opening to Part Three: Two Worlds/Due Mondi, my essay contextualizing the work of each artist within the structure of the book

To buy, click here or scan