PROJECT NEWS 04/04/2022

The Italian Presence in Post-war America, 1949-1972. Architecture, design, fashion

The conference aims at investigating the paths of the construction of national identity and the characteristics of the transfer between Italy and the United States, by observing them from a transactional and transdisciplinary perspective, and with a specific focus on the design disciplines, ranging from architecture to interiors, urban planning, fashion, and industrial design, in their different scales, facets, and fields of application. The conference aims to collect compelling contributions and stimulate a debate to expand knowledge on the consistency and role of Italian in, design, fashion, architecture, and urban planning in the specialized and popular culture that developed in the United States after WWII. The conference aims to outline the implicated phenomena in their complexity as well as to enrich the ongoing collection of the vectors of the transatlantic exchange, the main venues and opportunities, the actors involved, and the role played by some institutions such as the MoMA or the American Academy

Transatlantic Transfers: the Italian presence in post-war America (TT) will shift the research agenda from charting the cultural Americanization of Italy to retrieving context-specific instances of the Italianization of style in the U.S.A., and from a national/international to a transnational/global framing of the history of relations between Italy and the U.S.A.

The Research is designed to trace the emergence, manifestations, and meanings of an Italian style [the so called “made in Italy”] - distinctly “Italian” and “modern” - that originated in Italy and became internationally known in the 1950s and 1960s, but whose visibility has depended on a complex international and intercultural infrastructure for cultural, political, and economic exchange between Italy and the U.S.A.

It is also designed to investigate how specific Italian works of art, literature, film, design, fashion, visual culture, architecture, food and popular culture were introduced to American audiences (through events, exhibitions, book reviews, advertisements, festivals), between 1949 and 1972, and how a recognizable modern style associated to Italian iconographic people (writers, artists, designers, intellectuals and movie stars) was appropriated as a marker of distinction in the identity formation of an upward mobile, cosmopolitan, affluent American middle class.