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American Frontier: photographs by Emanuele Piccardo



American Frontier: photographs by Emanuele Piccardo

American Frontier is a journey through the old frontier from Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty to Yellowstone. Architecture historian Luca Guido writes: “When Frederick Jackson Turner published his opus on American history in 1893, he saw in the frontier – a sparsely inhabited area in direct contact with the wilderness – the essence of a new worldview”. Today the frontier no longer exists, or rather, it persists in fragments where the wilderness can still be found: Yellowstone or the dirt path to the Spiral Jetty, for instance. But the frontier is also being turned into a museum. In Cody, Wyoming, the partially reconstructed Old Trail Village disregards modernity to take us back to the time of the legendary William Cody (Buffalo Bill). In other symbolic locations, such as Shoshone Falls in Idaho, the construction of holiday homes has combined with water scarcity (to the point where we have to ask: where are these ‘Falls’?) to effect radical changes to the landscape photographed by Timothy O’Sullivan in 1874. Piccardo grapples with the frontier theme establishing through his Hasselblad camera a relationship with pioneer photographers, elaborating a new iconography for the landscape, emphasising how the frontier has been changed by humans or, in some cases, remained uninhabited as before. American Frontier is part of a larger ongoing research project conducted with architecture historian Luca Guido: Living the Frontier, an exploration of the frontier’s emptiness as locus of artistic and architectural experimentation, from Frank Lloyd Wright to Michael Heizer, from Drop City to James Turrell’s Roden Crater. Emanuele Piccardo (Genova, 1972) Architect, photographer, filmmaker and architecture critic Emanuele Piccardo is also the director of the webzine He has been studying Italian Radical Architecture since 2005. In 2015 he was awarded an Autry Scholar Fellowship. In 2013, with Amit Wolf, he won a Graham Foundation grant for the project Beyond Environment (exhibition and book) on the relationship between art and architecture in Italy and America in the Sixties and Seventies. In particular he compares the research of the artist Gianni Pettena with those of Robert Smithson, Allan Kaprow, and Gordon Matta-Clark. Among his documentary films is Lettera22, concerning the industrialist Adriano Olivetti; the film won the XXIX International Asolo Art Film Festival and was included in the Official Selection at the Rotterdam Architecture Film Festival. His photographs are in the collections of the MAXXI in Rome and the National Library of France in Paris. He has given lectures and conference talks at Princeton, the Pratt Institute, SCI-Arc, the Milan Polytechnic (Politecnico di Milano), and IUAV. Register here for the opening reception (Tuesday, 21 April, 6:30 PM).


Date: Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Entrance : Free