Italy leaves a mark in the United States. «Italian culture is everywhere in our country, I don’t know anybody who doesn’t dance to it, laugh to it, sing it, think about it, look at it, feel it, and everybody I know dreams always of coming to Italy at some point». These are the words of Secretary of State, John Kerry, one of the many prominent dignitaries of the Obama administration to give an enthusiastic welcome to the arrival of 2013 and its dynamic carrousel of events – over 200 in more than 50 cities riding on a breeze of fresh ideas. Not only in the biggest cities but also, for the first time, in smaller ones – Tulsa, Sarasota, Cleveland, Fort Worth and Charleston. The Year of Italian Culture in the United States, the crisis roiling through the Bel Paese and the cuts that have affected the sector notwithstanding is probably the most impressive stimulus operation that Italy has ever launched overseas. An undertaking that, month after month, continues to confirm the success of the Italian genius and the uniquely Italian gift of imparting and showcasing its best, even during difficult times. The formula used to fund the extensive program of events was key: direct sponsorship of the private sector and an efficient collaboration that was established by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Italian diplomatic and consular network in America with Italian brands, museums, and Italian and American research centers. The bench test proved that it was a winning formula: the Year is keeping its initial promise of offering at the same time both an extraordinary window into our priceless cultural heritage and a platform for opportunities and visibility for Italian companies on the U.S. market. In fact, in line with the motto selected by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs “discovery, research and innovation” – and the idea of culture as an essential asset to promote development and growth, the first six months of the initiative spotlighted scientific topics alongside Italian excellences. In Boston and Washington, for example, the tribute to Italian Nobel Prize winners – Renato Dulbecco, Rita Levi Montalcini and Franco Modigliani – gave way to a series of international conferences on past and present collaborations between Italian and American researchers and how to fuel the launch of other joint research projects. San Francisco, the cradle of Silicon Valley, hosted Italy Tech Week, a week of initiatives to illustrate the various components of Italian science and innovation; meanwhile Chicago, as part of Biotech 2013, was the setting to present the excellence of our Science Parks, a great source of pride for Italy. In this case as well, the purpose of the event was to create new opportunities for Sistema Paese through a series of meetings organized between potential financial partners, Science Parks tech partners, and Italian researchers. The celebrations of the 50th anniversary of cooperation with NASA put the spotlight on the essential strengths of the Italian Space Agency. The anniversary coincided with the signing of a historic agreement for the continuation and development of Italy-US cooperation in this strategic sector. Prominent witnesses to the signature ceremony were Italy’s own shuttle astronauts Roberto Vittori and, via video link on his first space mission, Luca Parmitano, who carried the logo of the Year of Culture aboard the International Space Station. Cinema, theater, music, literature, fashion, design, food: in just six months Italian culture has already made many of its sides known in the United States. Among the greats of its past, the excellences of its present, and the prospects of its future, the Arts are assigned a dominant role in the Year, heralded by the inaugural event at the National Gallery in Washington: the unveiling of Michelangelo’s David-Apollo on loan from the Museo del Bargello in Florence. The choice of this unfinished masterpiece is in itself of great significance. Displayed in the United States for the first time in 1949, as a sign of gratitude for the assistance provided during the post-war period, the David-Apollo symbolizes the strong bond between Italy and the United States and is synonymous today with the common desire strengthened by history, cultural roots and shared values to consolidate it even further. For Americans, the return of Michelangelo’s work of art was a welcome and unexpected “gift” as evidenced by Secretary of State Kerry’s teasing proposal: «You can keep George Clooney and we will keep the David -Apollo». Of course, the statue returned to Florence, but that extraordinary loan was followed by many others. The famous Capitoline Brutus, one of the most ancient and precious bronzes from the collection of the Capitoline Museums in Rome, was on display at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston until May 1st. From Sicily come the Dancing Satyr, which has left Italian shores only rarely, on display at the Metropolitan in New York, and the Efebo of Mozia, one of the most important pieces in the exhibition, Sicily: “Art and Invention between Greece and Rome”, at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Through the Year of Culture, Americans have had the opportunity to appreciate twelve Renaissance paintings by Piero della Francesca, some from collections held in Italy exhibited for the first time at the Frick Collection in New York. Bernini’s terracotta models and statues have made their long-awaited debut in Texas, at the Kimbell Museum in Fort Worth, and in Florida, 70 works from over 30 museums and private collections of Venetian painter Paolo Veronese were on display at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota. Until mid-July, the famous bronze statue of the Boxer at Rest, attributed to Lysippus, will be on exhibit for the first time in the United States at the Metropolitan in New York. In another room at the MET, and again as part of the Year of the Culture, the priceless portrait by Diego Velaszquez of Francesco I d’Este on loan from the Galleria Estense in Modena, has been on exhibit since April 15. The exhibit marked the launch in the United States of a fund-raising campaign for the Galleria Estense, which remains closed after the critical damages caused by last year’s earthquake. Among the many initiatives that will leave a mark well beyond 2013, there is also the splendid exhibition at the National Museum of Women in the Arts of Italy’s leading contemporary abstractionist, Bice Lazzari. The exhibition traces the artist’s evolution and includes 25 of her most important works, seven of them will later be donated to the Museum, which will, in turn, dedicate an entire wall to the great Italian painter. Also of note is the exhibition at the Phillips Collection in Washington of several of De Chirico’s mythology-inspired sculptures and drawings. Italy’s creative contribution in design was also in the spotlight: San Francisco has become the focal point of some of Italy’s leading designers with the exhibition New Italian Design from the Triennale Design Museum. Still more design, innovation, taste, and social commitment are the main themes of Barrique: “The Third Life of Wood”, a very special traveling exhibit that is making its way overseas for the first time to all major cities in the United States. Old unused barrels recovered by the Anti-Drug community of San Patrignano were transformed, as if by magic, into prized pieces of furniture and home decor by celebrated and up-and-coming Italian architects (a tasting of wines from all regions of Italy taking place concurrently with the exhibit). Another important exhibition this summer focusing on home design and lifestyle is “Vivere alla Ponti”, marking the creativity of Giò Ponti, one of the greatest architects and designers of the twentieth century. As 2013 coincided happily with the anniversary of the bicentennial of Verdi’s birth, it proved a perfect opportunity to focus a substantial part of the musical program on Italy’s great tradition of melodrama – Rossini, Verdi, Respighi, Puccini, Donizetti. Opera has dominated the billboards of major U.S. concert halls, and now the great Maestro Riccardo Muti will close the 2012-2013 season in Chicago with three Verdi concerts, programs that he specifically chose to dedicate to the Year of Culture. Italy’s rich and revered musical tradition was also celebrated at the nation’s capital top cultural and social event, the traditional Opera Ball in support of the Washington National Opera and the Kennedy Center. The annual gala is the season’s favorite among the international community and top VIPs. Held this year at Villa Firenze, the magnificent residence of Italy’s Ambassador to the United States, Claudio Bisogniero, it was one more occasion to celebrate the Year of Culture. Over 500 celebrities and dignitaries including Vice President Biden and wife Jill, were on hand to pay tribute to Italian opera and this special Year. Plans for the Music and Theater celebrations would not have been complete without a tribute to the internationally renowned La Scala of Milan. “MusicEmotion”, the first ever HD film completely dedicated to the debuts, soloists, and conductors that have made up the theater’s unparalleled history, will be screened in Chicago and Washington, with young talent from La Scala’s Accademia Orchestra. Music also counts on the concerts highlighting the extraordinary talents of internationally beloved pianist Maurizio Pollini. From tradition, we again come to the present and innovation, this time with Jazz. The birthplace of this musical phenomenon welcomes Italy’s prodigies and talents in the genre: Bollani, Cafiso, Fresu, and RavA. The United States is paid a visit also by other stars from our musical world, such as, composer Ludovico Einaudi, Pino Daniele, and Mauro Pagani and his “Notte della Taranta”. The standouts in the section on Theater are the debut of the Piccolo di Milano in Chicago with Eduardo de Filippo’s “Voce di dentro”, interpreted by Toni Servillo, and the tour of “Pinocchio”, majestically written, staged and interpreted by Massimiliano Finazzer Flory. Last but certainly not least, we present Culture as a synonym for lifestyle and quality of life. In this context, among the excellences of the Bel Paese is our enogastronomic culture that is considered everywhere in the world as exceptional and unmatched. A model of how our culinary tradition has evolved is demonstrated by one of Italy’s leading chefs and our Culinary Ambassador to the United States. Three stars, his restaurant, Osteria Francescana di Modena, ranked third in the world and for years ranked among the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, received three stars last year from Michelin. Massimo Bottura is currently touring the United States and adding our country’s typical aromas and flavors to the already rich program that 2013 has offered to Washington, New York, and Los Angeles in one more joining of tradition and innovation.

by Susanna Bonini

Italy of the Future
Exhibition dedicated to Italian excellences in the scientific and technological sectors
San Francisco , Los Angeles
July – October, 2013

Month of Italian Science
A series of meetings with Italian scientists and scholars in the South West of the U.S. and an exhibition on research and technology for the new lifestyles
Los Angeles, Italian Cultural Institute
Pasadena, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Irvine, University of California
September 2013

Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Codex on the Flight of Birds” from the Royal Library of Turin
A display of Leonardo’s famous manuscript from 1505 that shows his drawings and plans for a Flying Machine
Washington DC, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
September – October, 2013

New York, Morgan Library
October 2013 – February 2014

Bice Lazzari: Signature Line
The National Museum of Women of the Arts in Washington has organized a monographic exhibition dedicated to the great Italian artist, Bice Lazzari. The exhibition looks the artistic evolution of the most famous Italian Abstract artist through a selection of her works
Washington DC, National Museum of Women in the Arts
Currently on view until September 22, 2013

Roberto Bolle and Friends
A selection of the most well known and fascinating pieces of the 19th century repertoire with contemporary choreography and artistic direction by Roberto Bolle
September, 2013
New York, City Center Theatre

Unesco. Italia
Photographic exhibition on UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Italy
Miami, Main Library Auditorium – June – August, 2013
Joplin (MO), University of Southern Missouri – August – September 2013
Reno (NV), arte Italia – September– November 2013
San Francisco, The Italian American Museum – December 2013 – January 2014

Of Heaven and Earth: 500 Years of Italian Painting
Thematic and stylistic developments in Italian art from the late Middle Ages to the nineteenth century presented through a collection of unique works by great Italian masters from the Glasgow Museum
August – November, 2013
Oklahoma City, Museum of Arts

Cleveland Italian Film Festival
September 12 – October 3, 2013
Cleveland, Cedar Lee Theatre

Workshop MIT – Fondazione Bocelli
Workshop promoted by Fondazione Bocelli in collaboration with MIT on how to develop innovative technological solution enabling visually impaired people to increase their social independence
December 2013
Boston, MIT

Retrieved Treasures: Piero della Francesca’s Madonna di Senigallia
The masterpiece retrieved by the Department for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Italian Carabinieri on display for the Year of Italian Culture
September 2013 –January Boston, Museum of Fine Arts
January 2014 – March 2014, New York, Metropolitan

Gems of the Medici
For the first time outside Italy a number of masterpieces belonging to the collection of the Medici family, which ruled Florence for 300 years leaving its mark on the history of art, is presented in this unique exhibit
April– September, 2013
Santa Ana, Bowers Museum

Muti conducts Verdi
On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of Verdi’s birth, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performs a series of remarkable Verdian concerts conducted by Maestro Muti
Chicago, Symphony Orchestra
September 2013

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