April 20, 2011 - May 21, 2011. Los Angeles
Curated by Luca Lo Pinto
In collaboration with Valerio Mannucci


After New York Minute - 60 Artists on the New York Scene, DEPART Foundation, with the support of the Provincia di Roma, presents When in Rome in Los Angeles.

The exhibition, which will take place in the spaces of the Italian Cultural Institute, with the participation of the Hammer Museum and LA><ART, precedes a large exhibition on young art in Los Angeles that DEPART will bring to Rome.


When in Rome presents for the first time in a group show the work of some of the most interesting artists associated with the city of Rome and its environs. Through painting, installation, conceptual art, pop culture, performance, cinema and music, the project aims to read the works in their own individuality, in a strongly suggestive display. The works will, in fact, be exhibited within a stage, a real-life environment.

The show, curated by Luca Lo Pinto in collaboration with Valerio Mannucci, presents the work of a new generation of artists who—although distributed across different age groups—animate the artistic life of Rome and its environs today. To widen the cultural frame of reference, the exhibit also presents works by some artists from preceding generations. Historic artists such as Alighiero Boetti, Gino De Dominicis, Francesco Lo Savio, Fabio Mauri, Luigi Ontani and Emilio Prini constitute an essential key to reading the exhibit, producing a second interpretive level.

In the words of the President of the Provincia di Roma, Nicola Zingaretti: “The show represents an extraordinary opportunity to introduce the young artists and the creative experiences that make up the most relevant and vivid cultural fabric of the Capital and its territory. The most interesting and stimulating challenge of this project, therefore, is that of capturing a generation of artists in its complexity as well as the daily life of our metropolis.”


When in Rome presents in Los Angeles, together for the first time, the works of some of the most interesting artists associated with the city of Rome and its environs.

The show is structured in three levels: an exhibition component at the IIC, a special project at the Hammer Museum and a site-specific collaboration with LA><ART.

The title originates from the appropriation of the English-language proverb “when in rome, do as the romans do”, a universal formula which highlights the necessity to adapt to local customs when one finds oneself in a geographic, social or cultural context different from one’s own. The main purpose of the exhibition is, in fact, to present works of art and artists from Rome in a city like Los Angeles, keeping in mind not so much the specific or typical peculiarities of this city as much as the cultural and aesthetic prerogatives that make up the background for the reception and fruition of the show itself.

The common risk for shows of this kind is that of wanting to define, almost always with no real basis, a more or less evident local and cultural quality that connects the artists, artworks and geographical context. When in Rome aims, instead, to reflect on the individuals and the artworks themselves. The participating artists represent a new generation that, although distributed across different age groups, animates the artistic life of Rome and its environs today. Different experiences, therefore, that still take place against a shared background.

In occasion of the exhibition, Luigi Ontani—one of the most influential and remarkable Italian artists working today—will conceive of a new performance titled AmenHammerAmeno in collaboration with the Hammer Museum. The performance consists of a procession/parade that will end with a tableau vivant and formed by 13 performers led by Ontani himself accompanied by three musicians. Each performer will wear a Balinese mask created by the artist who will be the only one without one. Luigi Ontani is often the subject of his own work, wearing the clothing of mythical figures from history, religion or literature, drawing from very diverse sources, both near and distant in time. Ontani’s idiosyncratic work represents a radical counterposition to that adopted by Arte Povera in the years he came to prominence. His photographs, drawings, installations, performances and tableaux vivants relate to an extremely rich western and eastern iconographical tradition.

The collaborative project with LA><ART, the most active non-profit organization in Los Angeles, is inserted into the context of site-specific projects the group has been carrying out for years. One of the exhibited artists will present a work conceived specifically for an advertisement billboard near LA><ART’s headquarters.


On the curatorial level, there is a tendency in these cases to use the works, through their similarity of style, aesthetic and content, to create and define common cultural ground. When in Rome, however, aims to read these works in their own individuality within a strongly suggestive display. In the spaces of the IIC, the works will, in fact, be displayed inside a stage, the locations transformed into proper environments inspired by reality or collective imagination. This choice is also tied to the show’s host environment, Los Angeles, a mix of reality and fiction, artifact and original, a continuum on which it is difficult to identify the beginning of one thing and the end of another. From this perspective, the idea is to present these different works in an environment which produces an imaginary context, one made of nuances capable of emphasizing and recontextualizing the works themselves, expanding their boundaries.

Presenting works that span painting, installation, conceptual art, pop culture, performance, cinema and music, the exhibit wants to make evident the fact that the scene that revolves around Rome is not univocal and coherent. The strong economic disarticulation and substantial cultural immobility of the last decades have made the city into a harsh but stimulating region made up of layers, where the old stays old and the new is never new. Extremely different experiences overlap but do not seek out or define tradition, even as they take part in it.

When in Rome brings together a significant set of these artistic expressions in an attempt to render explicit and intelligible—even to an international public—this complex cultural dialogue.


To enlarge the cultural frame of reference, the exhibit also presents, inside the show itself, the work of some artists from preceding generations. Historic artists such as Alighiero Boetti, Gino De Dominicis, Francesco Lo Savio, Fabio Mauri, Luigi Ontani and Emilio Prini constitute an essential key to reading the exhibit, producing a second interpretive level, almost to function as a tool to better understand the current generation’s work. These artists are in some ways obligatory points of reference; in any case, their examples define an artistic and human attitude that has significantly marked the culture in which the new generation of artists works.


In addition to the exhibition project, there will be an accompanying series of related events aimed at enhancing and augmenting the contents of the show. In the IIC’s auditorium a series of film and documentary screenings will be organized to function as a further instrument for reading the works in the exhibit. On occasion of the opening, some of the participating artists will present a series of performances conceived ad hoc.



Curated by: Luca Lo Pinto, in collaboration with Valerio Mannucci
Coordination: Damiana Leoni

General secretariat: Ludovica Introini
Los Angeles organization: Leila Hamidi
Graphic design: MG&Co. Reto Geiser, Noemi Mollet
Layout: Michela Gavillucci
Translations: Diana Mellon
Logistic: Pasquale Luparelli - Arte e movimento, Torino/Roma



Elisabetta Benassi
Manfredi Beninati
Alighiero boetti
Carola Bonfili
Gino De Dominicis
Stanislao di Giugno
Ra di Martino
Francesco Lo Savio
Emiliano Maggi
Michele Manfellotto
Fabio Mauri
Matteo Nasini
Caterina Nelli
Luigi Ontani
Nicola Pecoraro
Alessandro Piangiamore
Cesare Pietroiusti
Giuseppe Pietroniro
Emilio Prini
Marco Raparelli
Pietro Ruffo
Andrea Salvino
Corrado Sassi
Diego Valentino


SCREENINGS – Integral to the show is a series of screenings in film, video and documentary form that directly describe the city of Rome and its environs or deepen the dialogue of some of the artists presented in the show. Conceived as an integral part of the exhibit, the program is not to be thought of as an appendix only; in fact, it describes a missing element, the ensemble of cultural and aesthetic influences that form the frame and background of current artistic practice.

ROMA (1972)
dir. Federico Fellini

dir. Matteo Garrone

dir. Claudio Caligari

dir. Nico D’Alessandria

dir. Carola Spadoni

dir. Emidio Greco

by Luigi Ontani



The Italian Cultural Institute of Los Angeles, founded in 1984 and located in Westwood at 1023 Hilgard Avenue, is one of the five governmental cultural agencies established in the United States by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to promote Italian culture. It has a library of over 5000 books available for loan, an art gallery and a theater suitable for conferences, concerts and movie screenings. The IIC organizes Italian language classes and supports grants for the translation and the publication of Italian books in English. Events are organized in partnerships with many local institutions to introduce Italy in all its cultural complexity to the American public

The Hammer Museum of Los Angeles is one of the most prestigious contemporary art museums in the United States and on an international level. Situated between central Los Angeles and the University of California (UCLA), the Hammer Museum, since its foundation in 1990, has distinguished itself with avant-garde exhibition programming. Beyond this, the museum boasts an important and heterogeneous collection with works from the nineteenth century through today, in addition to an important library and video collection. All exhibition programming is accompanied by a rich program of related events, including concerts, talks, guided tours and performances.

LA><ART is one of the most active non-profit organizations in Los Angeles. Directed by Lauri Firstenberg, LA><ART offers a series of experimental exhibitions accompanied by numerous initiatives and public projects. Some of the most interesting artists of the new American generation have exhibited in its Culver City space. Many projects are carried out in collaboration with other institutions, such as the LA Biennial, organized with the Hammer Museum.


The Provincia di Roma [District of Rome], with more than four million inhabitants, is the most populous in Italy and manages the services and infrastructure of 121 communities (including Rome) within a vast area of five square kilometers. Creativity is very important for Rome and its metropolitan area. There are 70,000 creative businesses and over 230,000 employees who contribute significantly to the growth and development of the district; beyond this economic dimension lies a contribution to cultural growth. The project “Provincia Creativa” was launched to recognize the value of these businesses, with the goal of strengthening Rome’s creative community, facilitating innovation, establishing ties with other national and European entities, promoting ideas formed in educational settings and sustaining the globalization of the sector by expanding the possibility of specialization abroad for the talented.


DEPART Foundation is an arts organization dedicated to the development and support of contemporary artists whose work and careers distinguish themselves from previous endeavors or predecessors. DEPART Foundation actively supports the fields of research, artistic production, education, and acquisition, encouraging the growth of these artists through the promotion of a residency program, laboratories, symposia and grants for research; it plays an active role in the field of urban development through architectural planning and design and cultural development through programs and initiatives aimed at the community.




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