Margaret Scarborough recently completed her PhD in Italian and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. Her dissertation examines the influence of philology on conceptions of selfhood in postwar Italy. At CIMA, she is excited to study midcentury approaches to gesture and human spontaneity in the thought of Italian author and designer Bruno Munari and British psychoanalyst D. W. Winnicott.
Giulia Zompa is a final year Ph.D. Student in Contemporary Art History at the University of Milan (Italy). Her doctoral research focuses on the Italian artistic situation between the 1980s and 1990s taking into consideration, as a case study, what occurred at the exhibition level in the city of Milan.
Giulia completed her studies at the University of Florence and at the University of Milan, where she earned her BA and MA degrees cum laude. Her current interest in this new Italian art scene is related to her master’s degree thesis (defended in March 2020) entitled “Young Italian Art “in Milan (1984-1986). Her publications are devoted to those main research topics (Art of the 1980s and 1990s, history of exhibitions) but she is also truly interested in the neo-avantgardes of the 1960s and 1970s. She actively collaborates with the Department of Art History and Criticism at the University of Milan holding lectures and seminars. During the past years, Giulia has also collaborated with different galleries. Furthermore, from October 2021, she is the Founder and Director of Micro_Mosso, a cultural project that shares and promotes contemporary art with meetings and Education Lab.
As a fellow at CIMA, Giulia will focus on meaning and role of playfulness in Bruno Munari’s activity. Bruno Munari has dedicated a large part of his creative activity to the act of playing: from the creation of children’s games and ‘game-books’ to the development of educational workshops that put playing at the heart of a new method. Giulia will attempt to trace the evolution of Munari’s approach to the theme during his career, outlining the characteristics that demonstrate continuity and those that signal change. Moreover, she will study the possible cultural references that have fostered Munari’s interest in play and the progressive awareness of its potential social role.
Eduardo De Maio
Eduardo De Maio is a final year PhD candidate in History of Art at the University of York, United Kingdom. Supervised by Prof. Elizabeth Prettejohn, Eduardo’s thesis investigates the phenomenon of cultural interchange and transmission between Britain and Italy at the turn of the twentieth century, presenting it as a mutual opportunity for both countries to discover their respective contemporary artistic cultures.
Eduardo holds an MA in History of Modern and Contemporary Art from the University of York, with a dissertation on the relationship between the English sculptor Henry Moore and Tuscany. The research was carried out mainly at the Henry Moore Foundation, The Henry Moore Institute and at the KHI in Florence, with a focus on the innovative exhibition of Moore’s sculptures held at the Forte di Belvedere in Florence in 1972 and its impact on the 1970s-Italian environmental art.
Previously, Eduardo was awarded a BA in Cultural Studies at the University of Florence, Italy, with a thesis in History of Art Criticism, focussing on the Italian critic Roberto Longhi’s early Futurist ekphrasis.
In the meantime, Eduardo has worked at the History of Art Department of the University of York as Graduate Teaching Assistant and as Associate Editor of the Department peer-reviewed journal Aspectus. He previously worked as an exhibition and collection researcher at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds and at the York Museum Trust.
His further research interests include European and Italian art between 1880s and 1930s, Post-War exhibition practice, Arte Povera and Environmental art, democratization and social commitment in culture.
As a CIMA fellow, Eduardo will investigate the impact of Anglo-American and European social/socialist culture on fin de siècle Italian art and culture, in particular on the gradual development of a social commitment and tendencies to socialism (Humanitarian and Evolutionary), which some Italian artists embraced between the 1880s and 1910s. This theme will be analyzed in the broader context of the fin de siècle internationalism, alongside highlighting its peculiarities as a phenomenon per se, parallel or even clashing with the contemporary influences coming from the rest of Europe and beyond. Most importantly, it will be related to the cultural debate that hinged on the dichotomy of “Art for the few” (elitist) and “Art for the People” (collective), which animated Italian culture for almost four decades between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Camilla Froio earned her PH.D in Art Criticism and Theory at the University of Florence, Italy, with a dissertation on the process of appropriation and canonization of G.E. Lessing’s “Laokoon” in North-America during the XIXth century, here regarded as a fundamental step to the formalization of the modernist lexicon in America during the 1930s and the 1940s. Camilla’s research especially focused on the analysis of Clement Greenberg’s essay “Towards a Newer Laocoon,” published on “Partisan Review” in 1940, and on the cultural and historical significance of Greenberg’s reference to Gotthold Ephraim Lessing’s treatise. Moreover, her thesis intended to demonstrate that Greenberg’s peculiar choice to reappraise the German classic was partly due to Lessing’s traditional and enduring popularity in North-America during the second half of the XIXth century. This part of Camilla’s study has been published in “Studi di Memofonte” with the title “La cultura nord-americana e il Laokoon di G.E. Lessing: premesse di una fortunata ricezione critica, 1840-1874.” Camilla’s research for her Ph.D thesis was supported by a Getty Library Grant from the Getty Research Institute, which allowed her to study Greenberg’s personal papers, held by the mentioned institution, and to elaborate the hypothesis on the existence of multiple drafts of Greenberg’s essay. An article on this subject, called “Un Unreleased Laokoon: The First Draft of Clement Greenberg’s Towards a Newer Laocoon,” has been recently published in the “Getty Research Journal” (2021).
Over the years, Camilla published a number of articles as well as two books dedicated to Clement Greenberg (A Quality of Jewishness. Ebraismo e modernismo nella critica di Clement Greenberg, 2018; Verso un Laocoonte modernista. Temi, immagini e contesti del Laocoonte di Clement Greenberg, 2020, both for Angelo Pontecorboli Editore, Florence). Camilla took part in the 2018 École de printemps with an essay on the political significance of Clement Greenberg’s “Laocoon,” and recently contributed to the 2021 École de printemps, where she presented a paper on the painter Hans Hofmann and his theory of art. She contributed with the Centro dell’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci (Prato, Italy) on several occasions, giving talks and lectures on topics related to contemporary art. Camilla is currently Cultore della materia in Art History and Criticism at the University of Florence, and conference secretariat for the upcoming 16th Expert Working Group Meeting for the Safeguarding of the Cultural Landscape and Archeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley World Heritage Property, for the University of Florence.
From these research experiences, Camilla’s interest has gradually gravitated towards topics related to the transcultural interactions between American and European culture, with a particular emphasis on the ideological aspect of knowledge and on the processes of cultural negotiations.
During her time at CIMA, Camilla will be working on the collecting history of Alberto Pasini’s “orientalist” artworks in Northeastern America; she will be highlighting the visual success of Pasini’s paintings, as well as their critical reception and circulation from the 1870s until the first decade of the XXth century. Moreover, Camilla will be examining the depiction and crystallization of the image of the “Italian peasant” that, along with the iconic representation of Muslim subjects, was perceived through the lenses of a preconceived network of stereotypes around Italy’s so-called “Southern question.”
Giorgio Motisi is a PhD candidate in Art History at the Scuola Normale Superiore (Pisa). His doctoral research, supervised by professor Flavio Fergonzi, focuses on the Italian Ultimo Naturalismo (“Last Naturalism”) and Francesco Arcangeli’s work as a critic during the 1950s. Giorgio attended both the University of Pisa and the Scuola Normale Superiore. In 2018, after completing an internship at the Marino Marini Foundation (Pistoia), he defended a thesis on Marini’s portraits. An extract of the thesis has been published in the CIMA journal (Italian Modern Art, 2021). In 2020, he discussed his MA thesis on the portraits of the anti-fascist group Corrente, which emphasized the social and political values of these artworks. The first results of the thesis are about to be presented at a conference at the Kunsthistorisches Institut (Florence 2021). Giorgio’s main area of interest is Italian 20th century painting and sculpture, with an emphasis on their connections to the sociocultural context, the reception of ancient and Renaissance art, and the critical dialogue with the international avant-gard. On these subjects he has contributed book chapters, published articles in leading academic journals (Annali della Scuola Normale Superiore, 2020; L’uomo nero, 2021), and attended international conferences (Pisa 2019; Ravenna 2021; Reims 2021; New York 2021). He is a contributor to Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani (Enciclopedia Treccani), with entries on the painters Filippo de Pisis (2019), Ernesto Treccani (2020), and Italo Valenti (2020). Furthermore, since 2018 he has been on the board of FAcT (Festival of Academic Theater): an association which organizes international festivals for university theater companies. Giorgio’s research project for the 2022 CIMA Fellowship proposes a new way of interpreting an oftenoverlooked issue: the value of titles in socially committed artworks of the late-19th and early-20th centuries. In those decades, indeed, Italian painters and sculptors showed an unprecedented interest in their choice of titles, conceiving them as instruments capable of deeply enriching their works. Taking into account a large number of case studies, the main purpose of the project will be to understand not only the sources but also the reasons and aims of their choices, providing a starting point for analyzing the inner workings of titles, their critical reception and their variations depending on different contexts and audiences.
Aja Martin is a doctoral candidate in Art History at Rice University where she studies twentieth-century art and film of Italy. Her dissertation, “Chain of Shadows: Lucio Fontana’s ‘Concetto spaziale, Teatrini,’ and the Modern Grotesque’” addresses that lesser-studied group of shadow-boxes, as well as his “Ambienti spaziali” installations, to suggest how these series chide the artist’s seemingly nihilist claims for painting, proposed both in interviews and in the “Concetto spaziale: Attese” monochrome series. Through careful visual analysis, her project reveals how the series, instead, offer complex formulations of vital boundaries – an act crucial in Fontana’s distinction of works of art from their surrounds and the viewer, from other visual art mediums, and art forms. Given the theatrically-inspired structure of the “Concetto spaziale, Teatrini,” Aja’s project operates within the the broader art-historical dialogue between the theater and modern painting and seeks to extend these ideas toward the filmic frame, also apparent within the shadow box’s structure and color relationships.
Aja holds a Master’s Degree in Art History from Southern Methodist University and has presented her research nationally at graduate conferences, curated numerous contemporary art exhibitions, and served in curatorial departments, institutions and boards across Texas. Her previous research was attuned to the shifting notions of landscape from the medieval to the modern era, with an emphasis on Latin America and the US. Her current work picks up in Argentina, Fontana’s second home and birthplace, but crosses the Atlantic, to Italy, where Fontana would act as an important international conduit connecting with artists across Europe. Aja’s prior research into constructed public and private spaces opened onto notions of technology, vision, and being; which Aja continues to pursue in the work of Lucio Fontana, through his ultimate “spatialist realisms,” the “Concetto spaziale, Teatrini.”
Aja will pursue similar lines of research toward the work of 2020–21 feature artist, Mario Schifano, where she will investigate the artist’s manifestations of presence and absence within hybrid spaces that interface landscape with the framed, even televisual view. Beginning with formal properties, or the thing at hand, she will contribute extensive analyses of select works on display in order to offer new insights on Schifano’s practice, his relationship to American postwar artists, and the temporally dynamic Italian milieu.
Biancalucia Maglione is a PhD candidate in Art History at the University of Florence, Pisa and Siena. Her PhD research focuses on Italian collector Carlo Frua De Angeli (1885-1969) within the context of Milan’s art market between 1930 and 1950. The project is mostly based on provenance studies and on the analysis of galleries’ activities in Milan.
She did research on this subject at the Provenance Research Workshop at the Castello di Rivoli (Torino), and she is currently writing for the Art Market Dictionary (ed. De Gruyter).
Furthermore, since 2017 she has been Teaching Assistant in Contemporary Art at the University of Pisa, where she also had two research scholarships.
Previously, she obtained a MA (cum laude) in Modern and Contemporary Art History at the University of Pisa, with a dissertation on the Italian painter Osvaldo Licini (1894-1958). Much of the research for her dissertation took place during a research internship at the Musée National d’Art Moderne – Centre Georges Pompidou, in Paris. She has both published and presented at conferences on Licini and, more recently, she has been part of the scientific committee of the exhibition La regione delle Madri. I paesaggi di Osvaldo Licini (Monte Vidon Corrado, 2020).
She was awarded a BA (cum laude) in Contemporary Art History from the University of Pisa, with a thesis on the Italian contemporary artist Loris Cecchini (published in 2017: Loris Cecchini. Testing effects, dancing reactions, Pacini Editore).
Her recent publications include essays on sculpture (“Prima di tutto il ritratto”. Un’aggiunta al catalogo di Marino Marini, «Critica d’Arte», expected 2021), Surrealism (L’ornement sens nom tra grafica tardo-ottocentesca e ibridazioni surrealiste, exh. catalogue Raffaello e la Domus Aurea, 2020) and the inter-war Italian art (Carlo Ludovico Ragghianti e Osvaldo Licini. Verso Arte moderna in Italia 1915-1935, in Carlo Ludovico Ragghianti e l’arte italiana tra le due guerre, symposium proceedings, 2020).
At the Center for Italian Modern Art, Biancalucia intends to investigate the importance of photography in Schifano’s early career, focussing on both the artist’s material practice of the medium in the pictorial field and the painter’s constant reflection on photographic framing. The overarching aim is to ascertain whether and to what extent certain typically photographic categories, syntactical and grammar rules can function as a plausible, even if not exclusive, analytical and interpretive tool to discuss some specific results of Schifano’s early oeuvre.
Marica Antonucci is a Ph.D. candidate in the history of art at Johns Hopkins University, where she specializes in twentieth-century art. Her dissertation analyzes the intersections of artistic creation, political commitment, and conceptions of community during the turbulent 1960s and 1970s in Italy. From 2018–2020, she was a predoctoral fellow at the Bibliotheca Hertziana – Max Planck Institute for Art History, working within the “Rome Contemporary” research initiative in the department of Prof. Tristan Weddigen. Previously, she served as the Carlson/Cowart Fellow in the Department of Prints Drawings and Photographs at the Baltimore Museum of Art from 2017–2018. She holds an M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. from New York University. During her time at CIMA, she will be examining Mario Schifano’s relationship to postwar realist currents, both domestic and international, in order to shed light on overlooked aspects of the artist’s practice. In so doing, her project opens onto broader historiographical issues including the limits of realism itself.
Winter - Spring 2021
Virginia Magnaghi is a Ph.D. candidate in Art History at the Scuola Normale Superiore (Pisa). Her doctoral research focuses on Italian landscape painting under Fascism (1920–1939), with special attention to the political implications of the realist issue when approaching nature. Urban views aside, her project aims to understand the role of nature as a pictorial, but also literary and cinematographic subject in Italy under the regime.
She attended both the Scuola Normale Superiore and the University of Pisa for her MA, defending a thesis on Raphael’s fortune among Italian critics and painters in the first half of the XX century. Raphael’s reception resulted being a very precious lens to differently approach Italian modern art history. An extract of the thesis is about to be published in the journal of the Academy of France in Rome (“Marea che si frange”? Raffaello nella critica e nell’arte italiana del primo Novecento, Studiolo, expected 2021) and she collaborated on the current exhibition on the reception of Raphael in the Accademia di San Luca in Rome (Raffaello. L’Accademia di San Luca e il mito dell’Urbinate, Roma, 2020-21). She previously graduated in Early Modern Art History at Ca’ Foscari University in Venice, after being a visiting student in Paris (Université Paris IV).
She is a contributor to Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, with entries on the landscape painters and engravers Francesco Vitalini, Giuseppe Viviani, and Teodoro Wolf-Ferrari (2020, and expected 2021).
As a fellow at CIMA, Virginia will study Mario Schifano’s early landscape paintings (1962–65), proposing to highlight their close relationship not only with photography and art in the US, but also with the Italian and European pictorial tradition. Her research project aims to investigate both the series Particolari (1962–64) and the first Paesaggi anemici (1964–65), re-weighing their pictorial characteristics and their possible sources. She is also interested in the ties between the canvases and the crucial drawings on paper, to finally reflect on the status of landscape between Rome and New York in the first half of the 1960s.
Besides her doctoral studies, her interest in contemporary art led to an article on the 58th Venice Biennale (La scelta come rinuncia seduttiva. Quattro casi di moltiplicazione visiva alla Biennale Arte 2019, ed. La Biennale di Venezia, 2020). She has also been following contemporary dance and theater, and she is a regular contributor for the journal of theater studies «Stratagemmi – Prospettive teatrali».
Fall 2020 - Spring 2021
Carlotta Vacchelli is a Ph.D. Candidate in Italian Studies at Indiana University, with a specialization in Comics Studies. She received her first M.A. in Modern Philology at the University of Pavia, and her second M.A. in Italian Studies at Indiana University. Her dissertation explores the influence of Andrea Pazienza on the next generation of Italian graphic novelists, especially through a close stylistic examination of panels and drawings, as well as techniques, and materials employed. Carlotta has published numerous articles on the subject matter making a case for comics, both auteur and mainstream, as a lively component of the long-term artistic discourse, and she has identified many Renaissance, Modern and Contemporary works as a source of comics figuration. Investigating different forms of image/text and image/narration relationships, and studying artists’ books is also part of Carlotta’s research agenda. Carlotta strongly believes in the existence of what she defines “expanded liberal arts,” an interdisciplinary, dialectic category where pop (underground, nerd, sub-, counter-, etc.) culture could be studied, taught, and understood as part of a greater set of humanistic knowledge.
At CIMA, Carlotta will complete her post-doc research on Mario Schifano’s art as an aesthetic source for the Italian comics avant-garde active on the journals Cannibale and Frigidaire in the 1970s and ’80s. She will analyze Schifano’s influence in the context of auteur comics of the 1960s–’80s, but she will also focus on Schifano’s later art, namely that of the 1980s, as the phase of “remediation” of many of the contents and styles of his paintings of the 1960s, in light of her conviction that Schifano’s reflection on media and merchandise plays a fundamental role in his Anschauung.