Art teacher, painter, poet, sculptor, fashion designer, furniture maker, Italian futurist. Authored the Manifesto of Anti-Neutral Clothing in September 1914. Giacomo Balla (aka Balla Futurista) is a case study in conveying one’s ideas, always and by all means.
5 Books on Italian Futurism A Shelfie from Jessica Palmieri, Senior Project Manager at the Getty Museum
Hello, I’m Jessica Palmieri, senior project manager for
collections at the J. Paul Getty Museum, and I’m happy to share with you my
longtime passion for futurism. It just so happens that the Getty Research
Institute has extensive archives on the subject, and the Getty occasionally
publishes on the topic (for example, the
recent book on Russian Futurist book art). Here are just five books from my
extensive personal archive, which reflect meaningful personal connections.
The very first book on the topic that I owned is this condensed survey focusing on various aspects of
Italian Futurism, such as women and Futurism, performance, and manifestos. My copy was given to me by a
close friend while I was an undergrad, when I had only heard a brief mention of
the subject in an art history survey class and was desperate to know more. I
continued to explore Futurism in these formative years.
Forming a lovely bookend, when I first started at the
Getty, I received an email through my website ItalianFuturism.org from Getty
Publications, and was happy to respond with a phone call to my new colleague. Originally
published in 1909, this Getty text is the first English translation of the
original, which demonstrates that Boccioni was one
of the foremost avant-garde theorists of his time.
This is THE text on Italian Futurist theater and was
immensely useful when I was researching my master’s thesis on Italian Futurist
marionette theater. Such a thoroughly researched text, which is a huge
contribution to avant-garde performance studies.
This is the catalog for the exhibition held in New York
at the Guggenheim in 2014, which the first comprehensive overview of Italian
Futurism to be presented in the United States. Meant to complement—but not
recreate—the exhibition, this publication examines Futurism from its inception
with F.T. Marinetti’s manifesto in 1909 through the movement’s demise at the
end of World War II. The publication spans a broad expanse of artists involved
with the movement and encompasses not only painting and sculpture, but also
architecture, design, ceramics, fashion, film, photography, advertising,
free-form poetry, publications, music, theater, and performance.
I own no fewer than three copies in both English and
Italian of this catalog. With a wealth of illustrated images, this is a great
glance at the movement in an international context. Before there was the Guggenheim
exhibition, Futurismo & Futurismi, held in Venice in 1986 and curated by Pontus Hulton, was the most impactful presentation of the subject. This exhibition was the first attempt to
contextualize Italian Futurism as an international, global cultural phenomenon. It exposed many to the art of the Italian Futurists for the first time.
Breathtaking Maria Monaci Gallenga Couture trained gown dating back to the early 1920’s. The textile art of Gallenga is often compared to that of Mariano Fortuny because they both produced hand-stenciled designs that drew inspiration from the distant past. Gallenga became the mentor of the Italian Futurists and in 1925 exhibited in the Italian Pavilion, winning the Grand Prix for stenciled textiles. I adore the metallic stenciled medieval novelty pattern throughout. The care to place this garment together must have taken weeks. The luxurious heavily-pleated collar and waistband create a beautiful regal effect. My favorite detail is the dramatic winged angel-sleeves which Gallenga was known for.