ACROSS THE GREAT ATLANTIC: ART OF THE ITALIAN DIASPORA IN THE AMERICAS OF THE 20TH CENTURY Begins This Week At Art Museum of the Americas

Exhibition explores the impact of Italian art in the Americas throughout the 20th century.

By: Feb. 20, 2024
ACROSS THE GREAT ATLANTIC: ART OF THE ITALIAN DIASPORA IN THE AMERICAS OF THE 20TH CENTURY Begins This Week At Art Museum of the Americas
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The OAS AMA | Art Museum of the Americas, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Cultural Center, the Permanent Observer Mission of Italy to the Organization of American States, and the Italian Cultural Institute of Washington announce Across the Great Atlantic: Art of the Italian Diaspora in the Americas of the 20th Century.

This exhibition features outstanding works by artists of Italian descent in the Americas, from the AMA and IDB permanent collections, and is part of a series organized by the AMA that examines the impact of migratory patterns to the Americas on art of the region.

“It is a great pleasure for the Permanent Observer Mission of Italy to the OAS and the Italian Cultural Institute of Washington to have been able to select works that bear witness to the deep impact of Italian emigration on contemporary art in the Americas from the collections of the AMA and the IDB. It is yet another testament to the extraordinary historical, cultural, and sociological legacy of our emigration to the region, which is the bedrock of the special relationship that unites Italy and the American Continent”, says the Italian Ambassador to the OAS Simone Turchetta.

“We are pleased to be part of this exhibition that highlights 32 works from the IDB Art Collection, from 9 countries in the region, about the positive impact of such a current matter as migration on the culture of the Americas. At the IDB, we believe in the transformative power of art. Showing our collection outside of our offices allows us to reach new audiences and democratize access to the collection”, says Trinidad Zaldívar, Chief of the Creativity and Culture Unit at the IDB.

About the Exhibit

Across the Great Atlantic analyzes Italian migration to the Americas from the mid-19th century through the 1940s and its influence on American art. Exploring the dynamic intersection of Italian heritage and American artistic expression, this exhibition showcases the profound impact that American artists of Italian descent had on the development of unique artistic identities, and takes viewers on a journey through the different aesthetics that characterized the region, from cubism and surrealism to abstract expressionism and conceptual art. During the 19th century, a pattern of migration to the Americas took shape from several European countries, most prominently from Italy, resulting in significant cultural exchanges as early as the 1900s.

Artists of Italian descent played a critical role in shaping the visual arts in the Americas and injecting societies with a new idea of modernity, which would contribute to Latin America's artistic boom in the 1950s and 1960s. Rather than concentrating on works addressing migration, this exhibition focuses on the result of multi-generational assimilation processes and the constant dialogues between Italy and the Americas as a whole. The diversity of cultures and their amalgamation across the western hemisphere is evident through the selected works, that are drawn from areas including abstraction, geometry, figure, places, and spaces, and dating back to 1937 and into the 21st century. 

“Tracing migratory paths and the resulting artistic trends through the region is central to our work as a museum and my focus as a curator, and it is a privilege to work alongside the Permanent Observer Mission of Italy to the OAS, the Italian Cultural Institute of Washington and the IDB to highlight these themes through the strengths of our respective collections,” says Adriana Ospina, director of the Art Museum of the Americas.

Across the Great Atlantic celebrates the nuanced narratives woven by these talented individuals, offering a tapestry that transcends borders and encapsulates the essence of a truly global artistic heritage with Italian roots. Explore the transformative effect that these artists had—and continue to have—in the rich and complex identity of the visual arts in the region.



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