This October, the Wolfsonian-FIU museum and research center hosted a visit to the institution by Silvia Barisione, an expert on twentieth-century Italian decorative arts and one of three curators at the Wolfsoniana, our sister institution in Genoa, Italy. Silvia has been working with that collection since 1991, and with her colleagues Matteo Fochessati and Gianni Franzione, has organized numerous exhibitions both in Italy and abroad, and published a number of excellent and well-received catalogs for the same. Thanks to a NEA “Access to Artistic Excellence” grant, Silvia was able to spend nearly the entire month with us working on projects centered on our extensive Italian holdings. She also came bearing gifts–something we always appreciate here–donating to the library a vintage Italian postcard published at the end of the First World War by her great-grandfather.

Silvia conducted a survey of our rare Italian books and ephemera and helped us identify some particularly rare and significant items in our collection. One item in particular that caught her eye was this book published by Davide Campari and C. in 1932 with brilliant color illustrations by futurist artist Bruno Munari (1907-1998).
In the course of her research visit, Silvia also worked with Wolfsonian curator Marianne Lamonaca to explore the possibilities of organizing a joint exhibition drawn from our related–if geographically separated–collections. Their collaboration has thus far produced the germs of an exhibition with the tentative working title, Exporting Italy. This exhibition will look at how Italy marketed its products abroad, examining the trends, debates, and directions of Italian art and design between 1902 and 1960.
While Silvia appeared content slaving away in our windowless research library–the few windows on this floor are kept constantly shuttered to prevent UV light damage to our rare books–we thought it necessary to occasionally drag her out into the sunshine on weekends to ensure that she did not return to Genoa paler in complexion than when she arrived! Towards that end, the staff here took turns dragging her off to the beach and to some of the quirkier tourist attractions here in sunny Florida. Here she is with yours truly during a Sunday afternoon excursion to Coral Castle and Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.

~ by "The Chief" on October 30, 2009.

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