Italian Futurism at the Guggenheim Museum

Friday, August 15, 2014

Curator Vivien Greene discusses the exhibition “Italian Futurism, 1909–1944: Reconstructing the Universe,” on view at the Guggenheim Museum through September 1. It’s the first comprehensive overview in the United States of one of Europe’s most important 20th-century avant-garde movements. Featuring over 360 works by more than 80 artists, architects, designers, photographers, and writers, the show examines the full historical breadth of Futurism, from its Filippo Tommaso Marinetti’s first Futurist manifesto in 1909 through its demise at the end of World War II.


© 2013 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SIAE, Rome
Giacomo Balla The Hand of the Violinist (The Rhythms of the Bow) (La mano del violinista [I ritmi dell’archetto]), 1912

Oil on canvas, 56 x 78.3 cm

Estorick Collection, London

Courtesy Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York
Giacomo Balla Abstract Speed + Sound (Velocità astratta + rumore), 1913–14

Oil on millboard (unvarnished) in artist’s painted frame, 54.5 x 76.5 cm

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice 76.2553.31

© 2013 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SIAE, Rome

Luca Carrà
Umberto Boccioni Elasticity (Elasticità), 1912

Oil on canvas, 100 x 100 cm
Museo del Novecento, Milan
© Museo del Novecento, Comune di Milano (all legal rights reserved)

© 2013 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SIAE, Rome
Francesco Cangiullo Large Crowd in the Piazza del Popolo (Grande folla in Piazza del Popolo), 1914

Watercolor, gouache, and pencil on paper, 58 x 74 cm

Private collection

Courtesy Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York
Carlo Carrà Interventionist Demonstration (Manifestazione Interventista), 1914

Tempera, pen, mica powder, paper glued on cardboard, 38.5 x 30 cm
Gianni Mattioli Collection, on long-term loan to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice
© 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SIAE, Rome

Benedetta (Cappa Marinetti) Synthesis of Aerial Communications (Sintesi delle comunicazioni aeree), 1933–34

Tempera and encaustic on canvas, 324.5 x 199 cm
Il Palazzo delle Poste di Palermo, Sicily, Poste Italiane
© Benedetta Cappa Marinetti, used by permission of Vittoria Marinetti and Luce Marinetti’s heirs


Vivien Greene

Comments [6]

Josh-_Lke from Ottaw

So the Guggenheim is showcasing and extolling the aesthetics Italian fascism. While t is true that Mussolini was a popular figure in his day, the optics of this show is a bit troubling, to say the least. What kind of message is that sending out.

Aug. 15 2014 06:04 PM
thomas from NYC

Greetings fellow Lopate listeners! I run a Meetup discussion group dedicated to discussing various WNYC programs. I'm hosting an event tomorrow based on one of Leonard's programs that aired recently:

Join us for an afternoon of fun, intellectual, and friendly discussions!

Aug. 15 2014 02:00 PM
db from Manhattan

From my recollection of the exhibition there is no mention of the Bauhaus, whose "operating" years overlapped with Futurism. The Bauhaus had a similar multidisciplinary and multimedia approach in the notion "gesamtkunstwerk" (total artwork). It would be have interesting, in such as important exhibition, to investigate if there was any relationship. Futurism and the Bauhaus School were both operating under right wing totalitarian governments, but took different directions in their political choices.

Another important presence in terms of multidisciplinary thinking, during those decades, was Rudolf Laban. Did his totally innovative way of looking at movement, performance and even visual arts, had any relationship with Futurism? Giannina Censi's body geometry in "Aerodanze" has remarkable resemblances with Laban's scale's, although the latter are more fluid in transitions.

Aug. 15 2014 01:33 PM

My main critique of the exhibition was that there was not enough text about the Futurists and their support of Fascism. I'm surprised to hear the curator continually equivocating about the Futurists and fascism when Lopate asks her about this. They were far more militaristic than she is suggesting.

Aug. 15 2014 12:56 PM

FYI there was an exhibit at MoMA in the summer of 1961 on Futurism. I still have the book from the exhibit!

Aug. 15 2014 12:35 PM

Please ask Vivien Greene why Boccioni's "Dynamism of a Soccer Player" is not in the exhibit. (Or perhaps I just missed it?) His "Dynamism of a Cyclist" is in the exhibit.

Fantastic exhibit, BTW.

Aug. 15 2014 07:09 AM

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