Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Building an Idea: McKim, Mead & White and the American Academy in Rome, 1914-2014

Exhibition Opening  Wednesday, 21 May 2014 – 6:00pm to 9:00pm, AAR Gallery, Rome

McKim, Mead & White building with external scaffolding during construction in February 1913; American Academy in Rome, Photographic Archive
McKim, Mead & White building with external scaffolding during construction in February 1913; American Academy in Rome, Photographic Archive

In 2014, the American Academy in Rome celebrates the centenary of its main building, the only project designed by the legendary architectural firm McKim, Mead White in Europe. Marking the occasion, this exhibition of drawings, plans, photographs and other archival material, curated by noted architectural historian Marida Talamona, traces the design, construction and early critical reception of the structure.

Unlike many other foreign academies in Rome, the McKim, Mead & White building was conceived and constructed as the physical manifestation of a powerful generative idea: that the arts and humanities flourish and grow when they exist together in a single, residential context. The exhibition will feature unpublished designs and plans that have recently resurfaced in the Archivio di Stato di Roma and in the Archivio Storico Capitolino with additional material from the Istituto Nazionale per la Grafica. These institutions, along with the Ordine degli Architetti di Roma, are collaborating with the American Academy to realize the exhibition and catalogue. Architect Umberto Riva is responsible for the exhibition design.

Replete with essays by Marida Talamona, Barry Bergdoll, Francesca Romana Stabile, Paola Porretta, and current Rome Prize Fellow Lindsay Harris, among others, the illustrated catalogue promises to be the most definitive resource to date on the McKim, Mead White building.

Aerial view of the building
Aerial view of the McKim, Mead & White building

Remarks will be given at 7:30pm on the opening night.

The exhibition is open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 4pm to 7pm until 29 June 2014.

Support for this exhibition was provided in part by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation. Additional support was provided by the Ordine degli Architetti, P.P.C. di Roma e Provincia, AbbVie, Banca Popolare di Ancona, 3P SIM S.p.A., Associazione Italiana Tecnica Economica Cemento and Sisal.

Under the High Patronage of the President of the Republic of Italy

Front of the McKim, Mead & White building

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aar_mission1The American Academy in Rome is a leading American overseas center for independent studies and advanced research in the fine arts and humanities. It is a place where extraordinary moments have brought gifted individuals together in unexpected ways.

The American Academy in Rome awards the Rome Prize to a select group of artists and scholars, after an application process that begins in the fall of each year. The winners, announced in the spring, are invited to Rome to pursue their work in an atmosphere conducive to intellectual and artistic freedom, interdisciplinary exchange, and innovation.

The encounter with Rome represents now, as it has done since the Academy’s inception, something unique: a chance for American artists and scholars to spend significant time interacting and working in one of the oldest, most cosmopolitan cities in the world. The richness of Rome’s artistic and cultural legacy and its power to stimulate creative thinking served as the initial impetus for the Academy’s founding. Today, those tendencies live on, transformed as ever by the dynamism of the Academy’s constantly evolving community. The community includes Fellows, Residents, Visiting Artists and Scholars, and, come June, members of academic Summer Programs.

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