Exile and Creativity - The Artists
The series continues with a panel discussion that explores the experience of two Italian artists: Corrado Cagli and Costantino Nivola, who fled Fascist Italy for America and whose experience of
The series continues with a panel discussion that explores the experience of two Italian artists: Corrado Cagli and Costantino Nivola, who fled Fascist Italy for America and whose experience of exile become a platform to reflect upon art, cross-fertilization, and creativity.
Panelists: Giuliana Altea and Raffaele Bedarida.
Costantino Nivola and Corrado Cagli came from very different backgrounds. Nivola, from rural Sardinia, was the son of a mason, Cagli from Ancona and Rome was born into an urban and assimilated Jewish family. They shared a minority origin and the enthusiasm for participating in public life through the means of art.
While Cagli was successfully integrated into the Fascist cultural world, Nivola navigated, with equal success, milieux of mild political dissent. In 1938, the promulgation of the Racial Laws brought them both to America. Cagli had become an outcast because of his Jewishness and Nivola had frictions with the regime due to his antifascist leanings; he had also married a German Jewish woman, Ruth Guggenheim, and left Italy with her. In their new country, Cagli and Nivola found themselves among exiled artists from various countries: Gropius, Albers, Breuer, Moholy Nagy, Balanchine, Rieti, Steinberg, and many others. Cagli joins the ranks of the US Army where he confronts the horrors of the war and the Shoah. Nivola mingles with other antifascist exiles, the like of Modigliani, Toscanini, Salvemini, and Borgese. During their exile, Costantino Nivola and Corrado Cagli, each one in his own way, acted as cultural bridges between their country of origin and the US.
Giuliana Altea is an associate professor at the University of Sassari. The main focus of her research is on Italian art and applied arts of the first half of the twentieth century, on the relationship between architecture and visual arts after World War II, and on artistic exchanges between Italy and the United States in the 20th century. She has also been involved in the international debate on the integration of architecture and the visual arts, the so-called “synthesis of the arts”. Following her studies on one of the protagonists of this movement, the Italian-American sculptor Costantino Nivola – on which she has published an extensive monograph with Antonella Camarda (Nivola, The Synthesis of the Arts, Ilisso, Nuoro 2015) – Altea became president of the Nivola Foundation. In this role, in addition to curating with Antonella Camarda and Richard Ingersoll the new museum project of the Nivola Museum in Orani, Sardinia, she continued to explore the role of Nivola in the transatlantic scenario of the synthesis of the arts.
Raffaele Bedarida holds a PhD from the Art History Department of the CUNY Graduate Center, New York as well as MA and BA degrees in Art History from the Università degli Studi di Siena, Italy. He is an art historian and curator specializing in art, politics, and cultural diplomacy between Europe and America. His publications have focused on Italian Modernism from Futurism to Arte Povera in the international context. Since 2008, when he founded and curated the residency program Harlem Studio Fellowship in New York, he has actively promoted programs of international exchange for emerging artists. In addition to his academic and curatorial activities, Bedarida has regularly lectured on modern and contemporary art topics at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and MoMA. After three years as an adjunct, Bedarida joined Cooper Union full-time faculty in September 2016.