Rome Contemporary

The Bibliotheca Hertziana’s new research initiative ›Rome Contemporary‹ proposes to reconsider the significant contribution of the Roman art scene to the history of the twentieth and twenty-first century. Challenging the common assumption that the city lost its far-reaching importance in the art field from the French Revolution onwards, the initiative tackles the lacunary knowledge of the former West which still largely conditions today’s historiographies of modern and contemporary art.
By surveying artistic and cultural productions from the visual arts, theatre, cinema and architecture, which emerged in Rome in relation to international debates and concerns, the initiative seeks to reposition the city within its shifting frame of reference. In this sense, the contemporary dimension of the Roman artistic and cultural scene is brought to the fore. Against the grain of the modern and contemporary topoi of deterritorialization and fluidification, and contradicting the historiographical trend towards uniformization reinforced by the rise of global perspectives, the initiative aims at emphasizing the historical and spatial situatedness of artistic and cultural production in Rome, with respect to: firstly, the urban fabric, a distinctive palimpsest of accumulated history, which imposes site and time-specificity as a pressing concern; secondly, the city’s social, political, cultural and institutional conditions; thirdly, its contact zones, networks and thought collectives.
With its focus on the contemporary dimension of the Roman art scene in the twentieth and twenty-first century, ›Rome Contemporary‹ serves as a research hub, connecting local and international perspectives on the city through formats ranging from reading groups to workshops, from field seminars to lectures. The initiative comprises a significant component of digital art history which will be developed with the University of Zurich.
In the framework of the initiative, a wide range of subjects may be tackled, including artistic practices, practices of exhibiting, art criticism and publishing; art collectives and collaborations; public and private collections; the art market; history of institutions; history of the fascist regime and its memory; history and effects of colonialism, wars and migrations; urbanism and public space; terrorism; Italian theory; feminism; ecology; the shift from Fordism to Post-Fordism and the impact of globalization; questions of historization (preservation, citation, canonization, and translation).

Rome Contemporary

Research initiative leader: 
Prof. Dr. Tristan Weddigen

Research associates:
Dr. Carmen Belmonte
belmonte(at)biblhertz.it
Maria Bremer, PhD
bremer(at)biblhertz.it
Daphne Jung, MA
jung(at)biblhertz.it