Silent Revolutions: Italian Drawings from the Twentieth Century

Nov 14, 2020 – Apr 11, 2021
Menil Drawing Institute

Silent Revolutions: Italian Drawings from the Twentieth Century, is the first large-scale survey of twentieth-century Italian drawings mounted in the United States. The exhibition, presenting works largely selected from the Collezione Ramo in Milan, features 70 drawings by Umberto Boccioni, Alighiero Boetti, Giorgio de Chirico, Lucio Fontana, Jannis Kounellis, Maria Lai, Carol Rama, and others. The works on view are augmented with several drawings from the Menil’s own collection.

For most of the twentieth century, Italy generated a continuous series of revolutionary artistic movements that significantly influenced international artists. From Futurism to Spatialism to Arte Povera, and beyond, artistic production in Italy was characterized by a high level of innovation. Nowhere was this creative spirit more manifest than in the realm of drawing, which gave Italian artists free rein to experiment with a wide range of materials and techniques and allowed them to create new artistic concepts and styles. Artists produced autonomous works in their own right, as well as studies exploring ideas to be potentially realized in other mediums. Through drawing, artists tackled themes as varied as history and myth, language, subjectivity, the body, the modern city, space, and abstraction.

Introductory video for Silent Revolutions.
In Dialogue: On Italian Drawings from the Twentieth Century

Co-organized by Edouard Kopp, John R. Eckel, Jr. Foundation Chief Curator, Menil Drawing Institute, and Irina Zucca Alessandrelli, Curator, Collezione Ramo.

Major funding for this exhibition is provided by BB&T and SunTrust, Now Truist. Additional support comes from Carol and David Neuberger; John R. Eckel, Jr. Foundation; The Embassy of Italy and the Consulate General of Italy in Houston; Barbara and Michael Gamson; Caroline Huber: Janie C. Lee; Susan and Francois de Menil; Franci Neely; Susanne and William E. Pritchard III; Leslie and Shannon Sasser; James William Stewart, Jr.; Nina and Michael Zilkha; and the City of Houston through the Houston Arts Alliance.

A publication about Collezione Ramo, Italian Drawings of the 20th Century by Irina Zucca Alessandrelli, will be available in the Menil Collection Bookstore for purchase.