8Apr7:00 pm- 9:00 pmMagnifico in New York Corrado Cagli, Migrating Artists, and the Mirage of ItalyThe New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Bruno Walter Auditorium, 40 Lincoln Center Plaza 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm Memoria:Memoria
As part of the Carnegie Hall Migrations Festival, Centro Primo Levi and the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts present an evening with art historian Raffaele Bedarida dedicated to the experience of Italian artist and cultural organizer Corrado Cagli.
The Cantori New York directed by Mark Shapiro will perform excerpts of Vittorio Rieti’s music for the Magnifico.
Free (registration required) at 212-642-0142. Additional information: www.primolevicenter.org and www.nypl.org/lpa/events
In 1948, the New York City Ballet presented The Triumph of Bacchus and Ariadne, a Renaissance poem by Lorenzo de’ Medici whose refrain “del doman non v’è certezza” (the future holds no certainty) may have had a particular resonance in the immediate aftermath of World War II.
Behind the project was the painter, set designer and cultural organizer, Corrado Cagli who captured the irony of this carnivalesque reflection on time and man and called upon Georges Balanchine and Vittorio Rieti to bring it to the stage. The three shared experiences of migration that challenged traditional narratives.
In this Centro Primo Levi’s program conceived for Carnegie Hall’s Migration Festival, Cooper Union’s art historian Raffaele Bedarida (author of Corrado Cagli: La pittura, l’esilio, l’America (Rome: Donzelli, 2018; English edition, New York: CPL Editions, forthcoming) will discuss Cagli’e exile as a significant anomaly in the history of European artists’ forced migration.
Jewish and gay, Cagli had enjoyed a successful career in Fascist Italy during the 1930s. After the 1938 racial laws, he was censored and forced to leave the country. He served in the US army during World War II, participating in the landing in Normandy and the liberation of Buchenwald. With a special status as military artist, he depicted the horror of war in a breathtaking series of drawings that were immediately acquired by MoMA and the Whitney Museum.
In the immediate postwar period, Cagli emerged as an important cultural bridge, helping resume art exchanges between Italy and the United States. Together with other Jewish artists who had fled Italy – Vittorio Rieti, Saul Steinberg, Bruno Zevi – he helped the New York art world rediscover contemporary Italian art and design, and made it possible for emerging American artists to work in Italy.
The program will feature a multimedia display of Cagli’s 1946-47 paintings and drawings for the scenography and costumes of The Triumph of Bacchus and Ariadne (New York Public Library for the Performing Arts) and a live execution of passages from Rieti’s score, which were never performed in public since 1948.
Raffaele Bedarida is an art historian and curator specializing in Italian art, politics, and cultural diplomacy in the mid-20th century. Assistant professor of art history at Cooper Union, he regularly lectures on modern and contemporary art topics at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and MoMA. He holds a PhD from the CUNY Graduate Center. Bedarida is the author of two books in Italian, Bepi Romagnoni: Il Nuovo Racconto (Silvana Editoriale, 2005) and Corrado Cagli: La pittura, l’esilio, L’America (Donzelli, 2018). He is currently working on his book manuscript: Art Exchange Across National Boundaries: The Promotion of Contemporary Italian Art in the Unites States, 1935-1969.
Pankaj Mishra Reads The Drowned
Pankaj Mishra Reads The Drowned and the Saved
This lecture inaugurates a series of programs to mark Primo Levi’s Hundredth Anniversary held at various venues in town, including the New York Public Library, the Italian Cultural Institute and Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimò. Following the center’s tradition of providing a platform for readings of Levi’s work stemming from contexts and experiences others than those in which they originated.
Novelist and essayst Pankaj Mishra will draw on two chapters of Levi’s last book and intellectual testament, The Drowned and the Saved, the “The Intellectual at Auschwitz” and “The Grey Zone,” to probe his complex views on the dialectic of oppression and its impact on both oppressed and oppressor.
Expanding on topics that Levi tackled with growing concern in his last years, Mr. Mishra will talk about Primo Levi and Israel as well as the rise of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in the light of Levi’s ideas.
“The surrender to the intrinsic horror of the past could lead the scholar to an intellectual abdication and at the same time equip him with the defensive weapons of his uneducated comrade: “So has it always been, so will it always be.” My ignorance of history may have protected me from this metamorphosis. On the other hand, luckily for me, I was not exposed to another danger that Amery rightly mentions: by nature, the intellectual (the German intellectual, allow me to add to his formulation) tends to become complicit with Power and therefore to sanction it. He tends to follow in the footsteps of Hegel and deify the State, any State: the mere fact of existing justifies its existence. The chronicles of Nazi Germany are filled with cases that confirm this tendency: the philosopher Heidegger, Sartres teacher; the physicist Stark, a Nobel laureate; Cardinal Faulhaber, the supreme Catholic authority in Germany; and countless others acquiesced in Nazism.” from: The Drowned and the Saved
Pankaj Mishra began writing as an essayist in the early 1990s after moving to a Himalayan village in northern India, where he read prolifically and contributed essays to a number of Indian magazines. By the end of the decade, he was writing regularly for The New York Review of Books and other publications, often providing an unsparing look at the legacy of colonial rule in Asia by unpacking the myriad ways in which Western interests continued to penetrate former possessions.
His first book was Butter Chicken in Ludhiana: Travels in Small Town India (1995), a travelogue which described the social and cultural changes in India in the new context of globalization. It was followed by: The Romantics (2000), An End to Suffering: The Buddha in the World (2004), From the Ruins of Empire: The Revolt Against the West (2012), The Remaking of Asia (2013), and A Great Clamour: Encounters with China and its Neighbours (2013).
His widely acclaimed 2012 book, From the Ruins of Empire: The Intellectuals Who Remade Asia, told the history of imperialism from the point of view of those subjected to its power, while his most recent offering, Age of Anger: A History of the Present (2017), which explores the foundations of violent nationalism and other ideologies, was long-listed for the 2018 Orwell Prize.
Save the date for the
Save the date for the complete multilanguage reading of If This Is a Man.
Promoted by the Italian Cultural Institute in collaboration with the New York Public Library and Centro Primo Levi, this complete reading of Primo Levi’s memoir of his deportation and imprisonment at Auschwitz, will be held in the 30 languages in which the book was translated.
The English text will be projected on the screen so that everyone can follow while at the same time giving moment of linguistic intimacy to New Yorkers of all provenances.
The event is free and open to the public. Please join us and share the invitation with others who may be interested.