The Futurists of the early 20th century were known for their desires to demolish museums, libraries and all other sites receiving historical reverence. Nontheless, an exhibit of over 30 works by Futurist artists including D-Anna, Dottori, Rizzo, Bragaglia and more are on display now at NYU Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimo. Sponsored by the Italian Academy Foundation, this collection of various media from the private collection of a Mr. and Mrs. Stefano Acunto highlight the vibrant and aggressive style of the first and second wave Futurist artists.
The -ism that is Futurism began abruptly on February 20th, 1909, when a wealthy Italian poet, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, published his founding manifesto on the front page of newspapers across Europe. The manifesto's fascist content was shocking, since the irascible artist incited readers to revolt against morality and feminism. For Marinetti, society was at a precipice, in need of a healthy dose of militarism and anarchism to launch Italy and the world into the modern age.
As we all know by now, his pseudo-advertisement worked. Marinetti was joined in arms by Umberto Boccioni, Giacomo Ballo and the composer Luidi Russolo among others. Throughout the early 1900s, Futurist painting involved divisionist and cubist qualities that dissected light and color into dotted strips and angular shapes. Many of the painters and artists of other mediums depicted modern urban scenes involving manual labor and moving vehicles, glorifying speed and dynamism. The exhibit at the NYU space focuses on this period, showcasing works like Giulio D'Anna's "Il Nuotatore" (1930) which combine vibrant colors and triangular segments to produce perpetual motion on canvas.
Futurism later spread to other parts of Europe, but with the inevitable arrival of advanced forms of industry, the movement gradually faded away. That's not to say its legacy isn't carried on, however. The publishing of the Futurist manifesto undoubtedly encouraged members of future movements -- Surrealists and Dada artists -- to unite and organize in the same fashion. Plus, Japanese anime continues to incorporate components of Futurist thought, and the movement has lately seen a resurgence in theater troupes in the US and Canada, not to mention in the realm of cooking.
So despite Marinetti's deep seeded resentment for looking back at history, come check out the Futurist Exhibit at NYU Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimo. The works of various artists will be on display until June 1, 2012.