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.