30 January - 8 July 2002
The exhibition used an interdisciplinary approach to look back on a decade of culture, society and customs in Rome from 1948 to 1959, from the years immediately after the war to the eve of the economic boom.
The material was arranged in a chronological order within which the many different aspects of the decade were explored: from the local city news to national politics, from the figurative arts and the applied arts to cinema, architecture, music, literature, fashion and sport.
The broad sweep of the figurative arts covered by the exhibition encompassed the reciprocal influences between leading figures on the national and international art scene as well as the clashes between them: the move from figurative art to abstract (Giuseppe Capogrossi, Afro, Mario Mafai, Luigi Pirandello...); the sparring between abstract artists and realists (between the young members of the Forma group, Carla Accardi, Pietro Consagra, Piero Dorazio, Achille Perilli, and Giulio Turcato; and the representatives of realism: Renato Guttuso, Carlo Levi, and Giacomo Manzù, but also Renzo Vespignani's intense representational art and more informal experiments in style, as well as the appearance of great artists such as Alberto Burri, Toti Scialoja, Edgardo Mannucci, and Ettore Colla on the scene.
The exhibition also encapsulated the entire range of activity of the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna under curator Palma Bucarelli, as well as that of some of the most dynamic private art galleries that played a particularly important role in those years: Del Secolo, Art Club, Dell'Obelisco, Fondazione Origine, La Tartaruga, and La Salita. In a section called Americana (after the title of the celebrated anthology translated by Elio Vittoriani), a selection of works by American artists with close ties to the city of Rome and the artists who worked here was on display, from Arshile Gorky to Matta, from Jackson Pollock to Conrad Marca-Relli, from Mark Rothko to Alexander Calder and Franz Kline.
The extensive documentation of the period was interwoven with the variety of artistic styles on display, thanks to a special design that allowed for a series of screens along the exhibition itinerary that brought the times to life with excerpts from films, newsreels, and documentaries.
The decorative arts were given considerable scope; many artists, in fact, devoted themselves to this art form, collaborating with the architects of the day. Among other works that appeared in this section, there were the sketches by Alberto Burri and Piero Dorazio for renovation of the public housing erected by INA Casa; the sketch by Mirko of the gate for the mausoleum of the Fosse Ardeatine; and part of the large decorative panel painted by Gino Severini for the Palazzo dei Congressi in Rome in 1953; as well as jewelry designed by Carla Accardi, Giuseppe Capogrossi, Pietro Consagra, and Nino Franchina. Hundreds of photographs allowed visitors to retrace the social and political history of Rome in those years.
In addition, a series of documents on display attested to the activity of poets and writers in the capital city, the rebirth of poetry in dialect, and the intense relationship between writers and artists, as well as offering glimpses of both the theatre scene, which had enjoyed a revival, and the advent of television.
Clothes and accessories also on exhibit vividly recreated the glamour of haute couture in Rome after the war; the city was famed the world over for its fashion designers. But the exhibition didn't overlook other forms of design, such as the automobiles produced in Italy over the decade, or the first Lambretta scooters.
The exhibition was conceived by Maurizio Fagiolo dell'Arco and its sections curated by:
Miriam Mafai for the Current Affairs and History
Maurizio Fagiolo dall'Arco and Claudia Terenzi for the Figurative Arts
Maurizio di Puolo for architecture
Daniela Fonti for the decorative arts
Gianfranco Capitta, Renzo Tian and Guido Di Palmo for entertainment
Luciano Luisi and Silvana Cirillo for literature
Gianni Borgna for music
Giulia Mafai for fashion
Photographic documentation for Franco Lefèvre
Research and direction of audiovisual material by Paolo Lucani and Cristina Torelli
Exhibition mounted by Maurizio Di Puolo in collaboration with Lucio Turchetta.
Catalogue with essays by Miriam Mafai, Giovanni Russo, Maurizio Fagiolo dell'Arco, Flavia Matitti, Beatrice Marconi, Claudia Terenzi, Lorenza Trucchi, Nadja Perilli, Daniela Lancioni, Renato Nicolini, Irene de Guttry, Daniela Fonti, Gianluca Riccio, Giuseppe Cannella, Micol Forti, Renzo Tian, Gianfranco Capitta, Vanessa Polselli, Guido di Palma, Carlo Lizzani, Giulio Calvani, Stefano Della Casa, Gianni Borgna, Luciano Luisi, Silvana Cirillo, Barbara Scaramucci, and Antonio Girelli. Published by Skira Editore, Milan 2002.