Italian Posters Study Day


May 05, 2023, 10:00 AM - 06:30 PM

General admission: $15. Members and Students: Free


Keynote speaker: Prof. Luca Cottini (Villanova University)

The exhibition From Depero to Rotella: Italian Commercial Posters Between Advertising and Art, curated by Nicola Lucchi and on view in New York at the Center for Italian Modern Art (CIMA) through June 10, 2023, examines the cross-pollination between avant-garde art and commercial posters in Italy, with a particular focus on the interwar years and the early post-World War II era, during the country’s economic boom.

With this Italian Posters Study Day, CIMA’s Research Fellows join prominent scholars from diverse fields—including History of Art and Architecture, Graphic Design and Italian Studies—to investigate the themes at the center of the exhibition within and outside of established critical frameworks.

The conference will take place in person at the Center for Italian Modern Art. Besides the keynote address and three scholarly panels, a group of scholars, designers and design historians will also gather for a special roundtable session to discuss the art of Italian posters and their relations to the different art movements of the interwar and postwar years, the corresponding social milieux, as well as the connection to disciplines ranging from art and architecture to graphic design and fashion.


Conference Program

10AM: Coffee and registration

Light breakfast will be served

Conference registration and viewing of the exhibition From Depero to Rotella: Italian Commercial Posters Between Advertising and Art, curated by Nicola Lucchi.


10:30AM: Panel 1 – FORM

Duccio Nobili (Bibliotheca Hertziana, Rome, IT): “Some Shades of Red: Albe Steiner and the Legacy of Constructivism”

Giorgio Di Domenico (CIMA Research Fellow): “Dream Objects: Surrealism and Italian Advertising Art” 

Jonathan Wajskol (Parsons School of Design): “A G Fronzoni: a Minimalist and a Noncommercial Designer”

Followed by discussion and Q&A


12:00-1:30PM: Panel 2 — DEBATES

Greg D’Onofrio (Cooper Union; School of Visual Arts): “The Evolution of Italian Poster Design: 1960-1975”

Michele Galluzzo (University of Bolzano, IT): “What Surrounds These Posters? Mimmo Rotella’s Décollages and the Italian Advertising Landscape Between the 1960s and 1970s”

Margaret Scarborough (Columbia University): “Oil and Intellectuals: Pasolini Against Advertising”

Followed by discussion and Q&A

1:30- 3:00PM: Lunch Break

Light lunch will be served


3:00-4:30PM: Panel 3: FUNCTION

Marcella Martin (CIMA Research Fellow): “The Fashion of Advertising: Reference and the Limits of Repetition”

Virginia Spadaccini (University of Chieti, IT): “The Roman Factor: Notes on Fashion Illustration and Advertising 1955-60″

Wanda Strauven (Columbia University): “Between Posters and Screens, Advertising and Building-Wrapping” 

Followed by discussion and Q&A


4:30-5:30pm: Roundtable discussion

Moderator: Angelina Lippert (Poster House)

Discussants: Gwenda-lin Grewal (New School of Social Research), Andrea Trabucco-Campos (Graphic and Type Designer, Creative Director at Gretel), Emiliano Ponzi (Visual Artist and Illustrator)


5:30PM Keynote address

Luca Cottini (Villanova University): “The Birth of National Industry and the Crisis of Advertising. The Italian 1930s Through the Eyes of Marcello Dudovich”

Followed by Q&A


The Italian Posters Study Day at CIMA is made possible with the generous support of Swann Auction Galleries.