25
May

Arrivederci Roma!

Walking into studio on the first day of classes in January.

Walking into studio on the first day of classes in January.

120 days ago I stepped off a plane into Rome—jetlagged, overwhelmed, alone. Today I retraced my path in reverse. The taxi wound its way through the same streets, past the same pizza shops and cafés, churches and monuments. In January the windows of the taxi were streaked with rain, today they flashed white in the late May sunshine. It seemed yesterday I had arrived. My checklist was incomplete. My time felt abbreviated. Rome was slipping past the window and I sat inside trying to catch every detail in my mind.

Italy rushing past: a field trip adventure in motion.

Italy rushing past: a field trip adventure in motion.

This semester was the most fleeting I’ve experienced in my last three years at Cornell. January was a whirlwind of settling in, adjusting to new roommates, new classes, and a new pacing of life. February brought the first fieldtrip of the semester, more cold days, and a beginning awareness of the intricacies and eccentricities of the neighborhood surrounding the AAP studios at Palazzo Lazaroni. February was a time for celebrating the first, rare warm days when the sun dripped through the library windows like lemon tea. February was a time for peering through icy café windows in snowy Bologna, sipping down piping hot cappuccinos on a coffee break.

A Spring Break view of Capri in Southern Italy.

A Spring Break view of Capri in Southern Italy.

But February was gone in a flash and March arrived promptly bringing a sudden rush of activity with it. The semester was fully underway by then and movie nights, cooking lessons, and guest lectures crowded a schedule already full of class work, deadlines, and internship responsibilities. It wasn’t until Spring Break arrived that I fully realized how much time had already passed. Despite midterms awaiting our return, the opportunity to travel stole us far from the library as the promise of a week of adventure in Europe breathed fire into a collective wanderlust. For Spring Break, Cornell in Rome students fanned out across Europe traveling to such diverse locales as Greece, Spain, France, Switzerland, Portugal, The Netherlands, Morocco, Turkey, and more. Sometimes alone, sometimes in groups, any free weekend was a fresh opportunity but the longer breaks were treasured for their potential to wander, to roam, to go forth and see the world.

Michelangelo's Campidoglio at night.

Michelangelo’s Campidoglio at night.

If the first half of the semester moved quickly, the second flew by at an even more accelerated pace. April came with sunny days, the first floods of tourists in the streets, and an abrupt increase in Cornell’s collective gelato consumption. The Plane Trees along the Tiber began to fill out, sprinkling the ground first with their fine yellow seeds and then the leafy embrace of an electric green canopy. Then along came May. Unbelievably, the countdown to departure began. Final exams, final critiques, and a final exhibition forced us out of the glittering streets and back behind the suddenly crushing palazzo walls. The strains of an accordion beckoned from the street below, but seemingly endless lists of names, dates, and key concepts called us back to our open books. And then the last exam was handed in and my bags were packed and I was stepping into a taxi and that was it. It was over. My third year at Cornell has come to a close. Five months in Rome are behind me. It is time for summer, time for the next adventure, time to realize that while my semester in Rome has drawn to a close, the end of this era is simply a continuation of the next, another chapter in the winding narrative of life and time.

Sant'Ivo, a famous church we studied in the Renaissance and Baroque Architecture History course.

Sant’Ivo, a famous church we studied in the Renaissance and Baroque Architecture History course.

19
May

Final Exhibition

Students and guests gather to celebrate the final exhibition. Photo: Winnie Lu

Students and guests gather to celebrate the final exhibition. Photo: Winnie Lu

The semester is almost over. Final critiques have come and gone. Classes have wrapped up and students have begun the arduous process of packing up and moving out. But before Cornell in Rome’s Spring 2015 class leaves Palazzo Lazzaroni for good, there is one final event to celebrate the hard work of a semester spent living, working, and learning in Rome.

 

Jungbin Seo, BFA 2016 installs his piece in the art galleries downstairs. Photo: Winnie Lu

Jungbin Seo, BFA 2016 installs his piece in the art galleries downstairs. Photo: Winnie Lu

The Final Exhibition is open to the public and utilizes every inch of the palazzo space to display artworks, architectural projects, and urban planning informational displays. A one-night-only event, the planning committees elected from each department began preparations weeks in advance as invitation designs were created and selected, floor plans were scrutinized, and work was curated. The days before the event were a flurry of activity as work was installed and the exhibition spaces prepared.

 

Guest critics inspect the midterm creative projects produced by Jeffrey Blanchard's Architecture History course. Photo: Rina Kang

Guest critics inspect the midterm creative projects produced by Jeffrey Blanchard’s Architecture History course. Photo: Rina Kang

On May 14th at 7:00pm the doors of the palazzo swung open to reveal the classrooms, studios, and library all transformed into gallery spaces full of drawings, models, posters, booklets, photographs, sculptures, and installations. Guests were ushered up the marble staircase, flanked by tiny glowing candles, and into the halls where they found student work, a delightful spread of refreshments, and a festive atmosphere.

 

Visitors examine the work of the Intro to Photography class. Photo: Rina Kang

Visitors examine the work of the Intro to Photography class. Photo: Rina Kang

Guest critics, internship supervisors, professors, visitors, students, friends, and family all milled about the rooms discussing the work on display, but also intermingling with all the conviviality of true celebration. The Final Exhibition was a show of work but it was also an opportunity to engage, to interact, and to find closure and joy in one’s efforts and explorations.

Happy Art and Architecture students enjoy a bite of cake at the end of the evening. Photo: Winnie Lu

Happy Art and Architecture students enjoy a bite of cake at the end of the evening. Photo: Winnie Lu

08
May

Journey to the South

Urban Planning students inspect ancient stonework in Herculaneum.

Urban Planning students inspect ancient stonework in Herculaneum.

The Southern Field Trip was the last, the sunniest, and arguably the conclusive favorite of the Spring 2015 Cornell in Rome class. Consisting of five busy and exciting days of tours through sites in ancient Herculaneum, Napoli, Padula, Matera, and Trani, each city captured the imaginations and intellects of the group of aspiring designers, urbanists, and artists.

Professor Jan Gadeyne leads a tour of the ruins and street systems at Herculaneum.

Professor Jan Gadeyne leads a tour of the ruins and street systems at Herculaneum.

The trip began with a tour, led by Ancient Architectural History professor Jan Gadeyne, of the ancient civilization of Herculaneum. The primal street systems, bathhouses, and residential structures still rise from the surrounding ruins—an impressive homage to the brilliant engineering and construction techniques practiced hundreds of years ago.

Architecture student Christine Ansalone  and Urban Planner Emma Guida discuss the significance of the site.

Architecture student Christine Ansalone and Urban Planner Emma Guida discuss the significance of the site.

After a day in Herculaenum, we arrived in Napoli just after nightfall. Tired and hungry, it wasn’t long before groups of students poured back out into the glowing streets in search of dinner. Luckily, a shortage of good food is not Napoli’s problem. Indeed, Napoli is the famous birthplace of pizza. Thick, spongy, inexpensive, and ubiquitous at the corner of almost every street, a hearty round of Neapolitan pizza was the perfect end to a busy first day.

Professor Jeffrey Blanchard holds court in an historical wine cellar.

Professor Jeffrey Blanchard holds court in an historical wine cellar.

The next day, we arose early to begin a day of exploring the crowded and bustling streets of central Napoli led by the venerable Jeffrey Blanchard, professor of Renaissance and Baroque Architecture History as well as director of the Cornell in Rome program. Highlights of the walking tour included a visit to the Pio Monte della Misericordia that holds a famous altar painting by Caravaggio and a look around the breathtaking Cappella Sansevero with its uncannily beautiful sculpture of the Veiled Christ by Sanmartino. Professor Blanchard brought Caravaggio’s dramatic and emotional painting alive with his vivid description of Caravaggio’s equally turbulent and fraught life. From reports of violently flung trays of artichokes to murders committed over ballgames, Caravaggio was hardly the proper and dignified Renaissance man of his time. With less drama in life, but equal spectacle in art, Sanmartino’s Veiled Christ remains one of the most wondrous marble sculptures the world has ever seen. The depiction of skin through fabric is astounding and every detail shines outward, a hyper-real extension of an imagined experience.

Before lunch, the Architecture and Art majors switched gears to experience a bit of the contemporary Neapolitan art world. Located in an historical complex redesigned by famed architect Akvaro Siza, MADRE is the home to Napoli’s admired collection of contemporary art. Featuring work by Anish Kapoor, Joseph Bueys, and Richard Serra, the museum offered a glimpse back to the contemporary and a new, international context with which to view the historical monuments and artworks present throughout the rest of the city.

Our day in Napoli ended with a funicular ride to the Certosa di San Martino at the top of one of Napoli’s formidable hills. Surrounded by the tranquil grounds of the historical Charterhouse, the sun slowly melted behind Mount Vesuvius, washing the Bay of Naples in a sheer veil of golden light.

Students and professors reflect on their day at the top of the Charterhouse in Napoli.

Students and professors reflect on their day at the top of the Charterhouse in Napoli.

With a quick breakfast and an early start, the students of Architecture, Art, and Planning jumped back on the bus and were soon off to Padula and another beautiful example of Charterhouse and garden design at the Certosa di Padula. Charterhouses are run by an ancient religious order known as the Carthusians. Carthusians dedicate themselves to a life of silence and seclusion, defined by prayer and the pursuit of peaceful and practical activities such as gardening. The charterhouse at Padula is no longer inhabited, but charterhouses in other parts of Europe still function today. During our tour, we explored the great communal spaces and isolated chambers present throughout the uniquely programmed structure. The gardens were equally impressive, featuring a range of formal parterres, forested areas, and meadow-like spaces in addition to food gardens.

Students explore the complex of the Charterhouse in Padula.

Students explore the complex of the Charterhouse in Padula.

After another short bus ride, we arrived in Matera. Easily one of the favorite destinations Cornell in Rome has visited, Matera was unbelievably beautiful. Old Matera is constructed directly into the side of a mountain, with houses and shops excavated from existing caves. Split into smaller groups, we had the opportunity to stay in hotels renovated from these old structures, called Sassi. Still a hidden gem, Matera was refreshingly empty of tourists and retained the magical feel of a small, mountainous village.

The view from our hotel! Matera in the sunshine!

The view from our hotel! Matera in the sunshine!

The following day, a local tour guide led us through the winding streets that laced the hillsides. The tour ended with a trip to MUSMA, a museum of contemporary sculpture built into the Sassi. Here, contemporary sculptural works stood out brilliantly against the narrow corridors and rough stonewalls of the renovated cave system. Each turn led to a new gallery cleverly tucked behind a boulder or hollowed beneath a rocky plateau. All were sad to leave the picturesque and breathtaking skyline of Matera that night, but boarded the bus inspired with new energy for the final leg of the fieldtrip.

After staying the night in the midway city, Bari, we departed for our final destinations: Castel del Monte and the small port town of Trani. Castel del Monte was built for Frederick II in the mid 1200’s. An impressively fortified structure, it represents one of the best examples of Italian castle designs. The nearby town of Trani also stood out as a favorite among the participants of the program. A somewhat sleepy town, it is nevertheless home to a significant cathedral built in the 11th – 14th centuries.

As we waved goodbye to the sea, the south, and another remarkable journey through the artistic, architectural, and urban histories of Italy, we prepared ourselves for the last weeks of studying and exploring our own eternal city of Rome.

 

05
May

Flavio Favelli Lecture

The last of the Art lectures of the semester, visiting artist Flavio Favelli discussed his work as well as conducted desk critiques with each of the Art majors. Originally studying History in his native Bologna, Favelli is a completely self-trained artist. However, his work is far from Outsider Art. Rather, it stems from equal parts rigorous academicism and curious romanticism. Indeed, reflections from his childhood and the small, personal memories of daily experience form the foundation of his remarkable career.

His upbringing in the violent “Lead Years” of the late 60’s and early 70’s permeate through a veil of the sheltered, bourgeois lifestyle from which he came. During this time period, advertising exploded, American culture became the new hot trend, and cars took center stage as a marker of status and haven for youth culture. Indeed, many of his collage works from this time balance on the edge between the Arte Povera of Italy and the Pop Art movement happening almost simultaneously across the Atlantic. Favelli summed up this singular excitement in newfound consumerism by explaining that ad trademarks appealed to him because “they spoke of a new world.”

The works stemming from this conceptual base become a blend of symbols, an amalgam of desires, overlapped, remixed, sometimes almost completely obscured. Taking the form of collages, recombined posters, and logos stamped one over the other, the familiar names of Pan Am, San Pellegrino, and even early 1980’s pornography posters are sublimated and decontextualized from their respective products.

His next body of works examines these themes of hybrid languages between Italian and English, the growing fascination with American culture, and this time the effects and aftereffects of the 1980’s economic boom. Creating a series of “copy paintings” he enlarges images of credit cards, posters, and symbols, rendering them all in the same naïve, raw style.

His newest work, currently exhibited at the MAXXI Museum in Rome, is a memorial to Italian soldiers killed overseas, titled The Angels of Heroes. In this work, he reflects on the contrast between the secularism of the military and piety of the surrounding culture as he seeks to honor those who have died in the service of their country.

04
May

Architecture on Art Guest Critique

Art students gather around to watch and take notes on the critique.

Art students gather around to watch and take notes on the critique.

Throughout the semester Cornell in Rome Art students receive critical feedback from a variety of visiting artists, gallerists, and critics. This semester, the Art students sought yet another avenue from which to receive the kind of thoughtful responses and analytical criticism essential to the art making process in the form of an interdepartmental critique. Although Architecture, Art and Planning are separate departments, they all exist within the same, close-knit college. However, for far too long there has been little overlap and interplay between these interrelated disciplines. While definitely different, an architectural viewpoint can bring a refreshing logic and aesthetic awareness to the sometimes overly theorized artistic process. For these reasons, the Art majors invited Cornell in Rome Architecture professor Andrea Simitch to conduct a guest critique of the Art students midterm works. The two hour critique session was followed by an open studio reception in which Architecture and Planning students were invited into the art studios to encourage interdepartmental dialogue and a sharing of ideas and critical feedback across the boundaries of Cornell’s AAP.

Art student, Pablo Maggi presents his work to Architecture Professor, Andrea Simitch

Art student, Pablo Maggi presents his work to Architecture Professor, Andrea Simitch

Professor Simitch visited each desk, viewing and discussing the work present and offering her opinions for development. At the culmination of the critique, the aspiring artists agreed that her feedback had been invaluable. Offering a critical eye, an open mind, and an outstanding generosity of advice, she brought a fresh perspective and a new momentum to the post-midterm art studios.

Students Observe James Walwer's preparatory drawings.

Students observe James Walwer’s preparatory drawings.

28
Apr

Cinecittà visit!

Last week the Italian Cinema and European Cities classes merged on a visit to Cinecittà, the famous film studios that have been the center of Italian cinema since it’s creation in 1937 by Mussolini.

Cinecittà! with Jimmy Walwer - Photo by Laura Kimmel

Cinecittà! with Jimmy Walwer – Photo by Laura Kimmel

Our tour began at the lawn in which the giant head from Fellini’s Casanova is placed. The studios were founded partially for purposes of propaganda, but became a cultural icon that are still valuable to Rome.

Students Emma Guida and Kyra Spotte-Smith posing with the head from the film Casanova - Photo by Laura Kimmel

Students Emma Guida and Kyra Spotte-Smith posing with the head from the film Casanova – Photo by Laura Kimmel

From here, our guide led us down a street lined with stages- including the infamous Stage 5 where director and writer Frederico Fellini produced La Dolce Vita, and felt most at home- even having a small apartment built for himself here.

We went on to visit several outdoor sets, including one resembling Florence, part of the set for Gangs of New York, and the TV series Rome. Most of the sets are made of fiberglass, wood, and scaffolding by the on-site artists. What’s fascinating is that these sets are often reused for new projects but are always evolving to meet different needs.

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Photo by Laura Kimmel

Photo by Laura Kimmel

As a strong part of Italy’s cultural heritage, it was interesting to see the importance that Cinecitta has had for Rome- especially since it has survived several economic depressions where there were plans to sell and reappropriate portions of the studios. The opening of the studios to public tours has helped maintain the significance of Cinecittà to the public, with an understanding that it is still a place of cultural production, not an icon of past achievements.

(Text and photos by Laura Kimmel)

07
Apr

Fettuccine and Ravioli Night!

 

Step 1: the eggs are combined with flour. Photo: Winnie Lu

Step 1: the eggs are combined with flour. Photo: Winnie Lu

Step 2: The dough is rolled out using a pasta machine. Photo: Winnie Lu

Step 2: The dough is rolled out using a pasta machine. Photo: Winnie Lu

The second of the special pasta cooking lessons hosted by Administrative Director Anna Rita, Fettuccine and Ravioli night was met with hungry excitement. After the wildly successful Gnocchi night of a few weeks previous, students were eager to get back in the kitchen. At this event, Anna Rita instructed the assembled designers, artists, and urbanists in the art of mixing, kneading, and folding fettuccine and ravioli pasta by hand. The actual pasta dough is simple: a mixture of water, flour, and eggs. The dough is first kneaded and then rolled progressively thinner, first with a rolling pin and then with a hand crank pasta machine. At this stage, the fettuccine is cut into its characteristic ribbons while the thin sheets of ravioli dough are placed over a shaped metal ravioli mold. Into each space goes a spoonful of Anna Rita’s famous ravioli filling: a rich mixture of spinach and three kinds of cheese—parmigiano, and both cow and sheep ricotta. As Anna Rita declared, “It’s not light!” To finish them off, another layer of dough is added on top and the ravioli are cut out using a crimped roller to seal them off.

Step 3: The filling is added to the ravioli dough. Photo: Winnie Lu

Step 3: The filling is added to the ravioli dough. Photo: Winnie Lu

Step 4: The ravioli is cut out using a roller.

Step 4: The ravioli is cut out using a roller.

With the pasta bubbling away in the pot, the Cornell students sat down to a cauldron of rice and vegetable soup and a selection of vegetable frittata appetizers. Soon the first batch of fettuccine was cooked and dressed in a tomato and eggplant sauce. Soon tureens, bowls, and basins of pasta paraded from the kitchen, all dressed in a different sauce of Anna Rita’s invention. One of the most popular ravioli sauces was a simple sage and olive oil dressing—not much was needed to set off the flavorful filling! Just as the last ravioli were divvied up and the fettuccine bowl scraped clean, the first desserts were brought out. This time, Daniela—housekeeper and baker extraordinaire—truly outdid herself. In addition to an exceptional range of cookies and cakes there was also an entire tray of homemade tiramisù. With prosecco in hand, we gathered together to end the meal and toast the people who made this feast possible.

Step 5: Happy Cornellians after the feast!

Step 5: Happy Cornellians after the feast! Photo: Winnie Lu

 

30
Mar

Internships!

A unique part of Cornell in Rome, the internship program allows students to gain professional experience in their fields, earn one elective credit through the adjoining class “International Professional Practice,” build their resumes, and gain a new perspective on what it’s like to live and work in Rome. Open to Fine Art and Liberal Studies majors, interested students are placed within a range of opportunities under the guidance of professor Shara Wasserman. Professor Wasserman has lived and worked in Rome for years, teaching at Temple, Cornell, and RISD study abroad programs. Her knowledge of the Roman art and design scene and connections to the top players in these fields make the International Professional Practice Program possible. This semester, three Fine Art students and two visiting Liberal Studies are participating in internships. In addition to working 10 hours per week, we also meet once per week with Professor Wasserman to reflect on and share our experiences in a small group setting. I sat down with each of the interns to learn a bit more about their internship experiences so far:

Gabrielle Manoff, Brown University, BS in Neuroscience, 2016

  1. What is your internship? I teach science to fifth year high school students in the Monteverde district.
  2. What does a normal day entail? Normally I go two days a week and make a powerpoint presentation-style lecture to six different classes. My presentation generally lasts around 40 minutes and then we’ll discuss the material for another 20. The program is part of a mandate that schools should have instruction each subject in English as well as Italian. I teach science material, so students will learn this kind of terminology in English.
  3. What is the best and worst part of your internship? The best part is being able to teach here. I love teaching kids—it’s something I do at home too. I’ve also learned so much about Italian culture in a different way. The worst part is that this is the first time these teachers have participated in this internship so sometimes it feels disorganized.

 

 

Isabella Masiello, Brown University, BA In International and Comparative Politics and Architectural studies, 16’

  1. What is your internship? I work for the artist Pietro Ruffo. Currently, I’m helping him with his commission to design the sets for Valentino’s spring fashion show in July.
  2. What does a normal day entail? There is no normal day at the office. I usually go there in the morning and then I’m given specific tasks for the day. Recently I’ve been helping with the design phase. Now the project has just entered the architecture and engineering phase so a local architecture studio has taken over. My next projects will probably involve assisting him with his usual studio work.
  3. What is the best and worst part of your internship? The best part is getting to hang out in the studio with a lot of cool and interesting artists. The worst part is that the bus has been late every time so it takes me an hour and twenty minutes to get there.

 

 

Hyunseok Seo, BFA, Cornell University, 16’

  1. What is your internship? I work with the free-lance curator and art manager, Jessica Stewart. I am assisting an artist she is working with.
  2. What does a normal day entail? We help the artist sell her works, pack pieces for shipping, and prepare for a show in April in Portugal.
  3. What is the best and worst part of your internship? The best part is that now I can see the real art world—not just studying as a student. I realize what I face when I graduate. The worst part is the location—it’s very far from studio.

 

Jungbin Seo, BFA, Cornell University, 16’

  1. What is your internship? I intern at Il Kino. It’s a nonprofit cinema organization that shows independent movies.
  2. What does a normal day entail? There’s no such thing as a normal day. I basically help out with whatever needs to be done to keep the place up and running smoothly. This could mean doing projections of films or working the sound system. There is a special event every day so I take photographs of whatever is going on and help update the website.
  3. What is the best and worst part of your internship? The best part is being introduced to the contemporary cinema scene and meeting a lot of new people. The worst part is the language barrier. I don’t speak Italian so sometimes it’s difficult to communicate.

 

 

Melody Stein, BFA, Cornell University, 16’

  1. What is your internship? I’m a research and design intern at Studio UAP: Urbanistica, Architectura, Paesaggio.
  2. What does a normal day entail? Studio UAP enters a lot of competitions so the last project I worked on was very research intensive and centered around analyzing precedents of urban agriculture and how it can be incorporated into city planning and landscape design. This week I just began a new, very different project. Studio UAP is hosting a special tour of edible food gardens along the Via Appia Antica in conjunction with the 2015 Milan EXPO, so I am designing brochures and maps showing the different tour routes.
  3. What is the best and worst part of your internship? The best part is getting the opportunity to try out another aspect of a field I’m considering pursuing. The worst part is that by the end of the day I’m so tired I feel like I’ve run out of energy to do homework.

 

 

 

23
Mar

Art Lecture: Alberto Dambruoso

Last week, Cornell in Rome hosted its first lecture through the Art Department. Alberto Dambruoso is a professor at the Academia di Belle Arti in Foggia as well as the founder of the renowned artist interview and lecture series I Martedì Critici, or The Tuesday Critics.

Dambruoso arrived in Rome when he was 23. Exposed to art from a young age by his art collector father, he quickly specialized in 1960’s era art and the Arte Povera movement. He began I Martedì Critici just over five years ago as a response to a problem: he noticed the trend of people going to galleries and attending openings but not actually speaking about or engaging with the work. In a major way, art was used as a prop for a social event rather than the driving force behind the gathering. The intention of I Martedì Critici was to reengage with art works in a critical and conscious manner while also creating a venue in which to discuss what art is and what it means today.

Founded in a renovated artist’s studio, it began as a small weekly event, attended by Dambruoso’s already impressive collection of art world friends. Slowly, it gained recognition and the refurbished studio filled with people ranging from artists, critics, and museum directors to gallerists, collectors and the interested public. The format was loose, with artists bringing their works, doing performances, and installing works in the space, but the basic outline was the same: an interview-style dialogue between the guest artist and Dambruoso himself.

Over the years, the event outgrew the space and moved from location to location, including a tour to cities as far flung as Milan and Florence. Finally, it found its current resting space within the hallowed lecture halls of the MAXXI and MACRO museums in Rome. This transition of space from studio to museum atmosphere allowed more of the public to attend, but also lost some of its intimacy and freedom. While the studio operated as a laboratory environment in which there was freedom to test out new ideas and young, emerging and unestablished artists were frequently invited to speak, the pedigree of a museum carried with it a formality and caution that now only allowed established, mostly mid-career artists to present. However, some things have not changed and the basic premise of I Martedì Critici has remained consistent: whom Dambruoso presents is a reflection of how he sees art today. The “lectures” still retain their interview format in an attempt to show art in a direct and approachable context. I Martedì Critici is, and always will be, about the process of creating the story of contemporary art as it happens.

Following his lecture, Dambruoso joined the Art majors for guest critiques in their studio spaces downstairs. A phenomenal opportunity, Dambruoso provided his professional feedback and commentary on the paintings, sculptures, drawings, and video pieces presented at each desk. A unique and inspiring talk, Dambruoso’s lecture provided a vivid glimpse into the contemporary art world in Rome.

Dambruoso watches a video installation by Rachel Margolis, BFA 16'. Photo: Melody Stein

Dambruoso watches a video installation by Rachel Margolis, BFA 16′. Photo: Melody Stein

Shayna Anderson, BFA 16' explains her series of drawings and paintings.

Shayna Anderson, BFA 16′ explains her series of drawings and paintings.

Dambruoso offers feedback as he wanders from desk to desk. Here, with Melody Stein, BFA 16'

Dambruoso offers feedback as he wanders from desk to desk. Here, with Melody Stein, BFA 16′

 

 

12
Mar

Gnocchi Night!

Anna Rita Flati is the Administrative Director of Cornell in Rome. Responsible for keeping the program running smoothly and fielding issues ranging from apartment mishaps to the finer details of complex fieldtrip itineraries and special events, Anna Rita is known for maintaining her warm and welcoming outlook through the most arduous of dilemmas. Rumors have circulated since the beginning of the semester that in addition to her organizational skills, she is also an incredible cook of Italian foods. Last week, the Cornell in Rome students were able to see (and taste!) for themselves, as Anna Rita hosted a gnocchi-cooking lesson in the palazzo lecture hall.

Anna Rita demonstrates how to prepare the dough for kneading

Anna Rita demonstrates how to prepare the dough for kneading. Photo: Melody Stein

Art professor Bob Bertoia strapped on his apron and joined in the festivities. Photo: Melody Stein

Art professor Bob Bertoia strapped on his apron and joined in the festivities. Photo: Melody Stein

Gnocchi is a kind of pasta made with only a few simple ingredients: flour, eggs, potatoes, and water. Combined in the correct proportions, they are then kneaded into soft, white dough. These piles are subsequently divided and rolled into long rope-like pieces. Next, the ropes are sliced into small two-centimeter sections to form the gnocchi pieces. Under Anna Rita’s watchful gaze, Art, Architecture and Planning students slowly began the process of transforming raw ingredients into piles of puffy dough and neat trays of freshly sliced gnocchi, ready for the pot. “Do this so the gnoccho will hold more sauce!” Anna Rita advised, as she demonstrated the last essential step: a quick press and flick of the finger that transforms the tiny blob of dough into an appealingly pasta-shaped curl.

Gnocchi is shaped with the flick of a finger. Photo: Melody Stein

Gnocchi is shaped with the flick of a finger. Photo: Melody Stein

Fresh gnocchi is laid out on trays before being boiled. Photo: Melody Stein

Fresh gnocchi is laid out on trays before being boiled. Photo: Melody Stein

After about an hour, the commotion had died down, the last trays of finished gnocchi were carried off to the kitchen, and the long lecture tables were swept of flour and arranged in the center of the room. It was time to eat! To our surprise, Anna Rita had spent the entire day preparing a selection of frittata appetizers, a cauldron of vegetable soup, and six sauces with which to eat the gnocchi. Far from a mere cooking lesson, this was a feast! Soon, steaming pots of gnocchi and sauces emerged from the kitchen. The next hour and a half was filled with the clattering of cutlery and the buzz of enjoyment as sauces were compared and one pot of gnocchi after another emerged from the kitchen. Just when the meal was drawing to a close and a few diners began to push their chairs back in satisfaction, a final surprise was in store. Anna Rita and Daniela, the housekeeper of the Cornell in Rome apartment complex, had baked a delicious spread of traditional Italian cakes. Served with sparkling wine, the delicious dessert was the perfect ending to an evening filled with the energy of celebration.

Cake by the window! Photo: Melody Stein

Cake by the window! Photo: Melody Stein