New Eyes on Italy

New Eyes on Italy

Courtesy CIMA

Fortunato Depero
The Center for Italian Modern Art
421 Broome Street, New York
By appointment


The center hopes to serve as an “incubator for new discourse, scholarly debate, and appreciation of 20th century (Italian) art in all its variety and complexity,” according to its executive director, Heather Ewing. To this end the center will support a number of scholars each year in study fellowships tied to its core exhibition themes. It currently has two young researchers in residence focusing on Depero, and next year will support four new fellows.

Though the focus of the center is art and not architecture or design, one imagines that the strong interest in design that cuts across all artistic disciplines in Italy means that there may be many overlaps in coming exhibitions that could have an architectural theme. The one aspect of the Depero show where design is in evidence is the artist’s interest in graphic design. There is, for example, a graphically spectacular 1927 futurist “bolted” book, Depero Futurista (“Libro imbullonato”), that ostensibly documents the artist’s life and that of his friends. CIMA claims the volume “revolutionized the traditional concept of the book.” The exhibit has two copies and has unbolted one and mounted it on a wall. The manner in which the book’s contents are structured and spaced across the printed page is a manifesto of Futurist interpretations of “disegno,” or architecture and design concerns and ideas.