Press Office Exhibition


Citywide Collaboration Offers West Coast Preview of Performa 09 Commissions

Released: July 24, 2009 · Download (130 KB PDF)

From October 14 to 18, 2009, the legacy of Futurism—one of the seminal and most controversial avant-garde art movements of the twentieth century—will be celebrated in San Francisco in a citywide project entitled Metal + Machine + Manifesto = Futurism’s First 100 Years. This year marks the hundredth anniversary of Futurism’s founding document, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti’s “Manifesto of Futurism” (1909), which boldly denounced nineteenth-century nostalgia for the past and instead embraced the noise, technology, and rapid change of modern life. This series of performances, lectures, and events will examine Futurism’s relationship to innovative artistic forms, radical and regressive politics, and performance work today.

The project also marks the West Coast preview of Performa 09, curator RoseLee Goldberg’s acclaimed New York City biennial of visual art performance. In an unprecedented collaboration between Performa and a consortium of Bay Area cultural institutions (spearheaded by SFMOMA as part of its Live Art series), Metal + Machine + Manifesto will premiere two projects commissioned by Performa, offering the first chance to see them outside of New York.

“We’ve been talking with Performa about a cross-country collaboration between our institutions for some time,” says Frank Smigiel, associate curator of public programs at SFMOMA. “We’re incredibly pleased that San Francisco will be the first city to preview new work commissioned by Performa for its 2009 biennial. It’s exactly this kind of innovative partnership among cultural organizations that seems pivotal for the success of each institution, and also for the benefit of the communities we serve.”

Program highlights include a rare screening of the only surviving futurist film; a rowdy futurist banquet inspired by Marinetti’s Futurist Cookbook (1932); decidedly unscholarly talks and a panel discussion among Futurism scholars; a concert of music written for futurist composer Luigi Russolo’s bizarre instruments called intonarumori (noise intoners); a special lecture by literary critic Marjorie Perloff, author of the seminal text The Futurist Moment; an open-house printing and performance of an early futurist poem by Aldo Palazzeschi; and an exhibition of artworks by Italian futurist designer Fortunato Depero.

Metal + Machine + Manifesto = Futurism’s First 100 Years is coorganized by Performa and SFMOMA with the Italian Cultural Institute. The project is copresented with Brava! for Women in the Arts, The San Francisco Center for the Book, UC Berkeley Department of Italian Studies, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

CALENDAR OF EVENTS (in chronological order)

Ticket information and details for all events will be available at sfmoma.org/futurism starting August 7, 2009.


Fortunato Depero 50
Wednesday, October 14, 6:30 p.m.
Italian Cultural Institute, 425 Washington Street, San Francisco

Curated by art critic Maurizio Scudiero, this exhibition celebrates the work of Fortunato Depero (1892–1960), the Italian futurist designer perhaps best known for his iconic 1932 Campari Soda bottle (still in production today). Demonstrating Depero’s wide-ranging themes, styles, and techniques, the presentation showcases his work in drawing, painting, advertising, and product design. Also on display is a model of the first combustion engine, an object of particular inspiration for the first generation of futurist artists like Depero. This exhibition is organized in collaboration with Studio 53 Arte and Istituto d’Arte F. Depero, Rovereto, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the Depero Museum in the artist’s hometown of Rovereto, Italy.

Free and open to the public. Space is limited; for reservations, call 415.788.7142, ext. 18.

“Let me have my fun”: Aldo Palazzeschi on the Press
Kathleen Burch, cofounder, The San Francisco Center for the Book; John McBride, editor, Invisible City; Paul Vangelisti, translator and poet
Thursday and Friday, October 15 and 16, 2–5 p.m. (drop-in hours)
The San Francisco Center for the Book, 300 De Haro Street, San Francisco

As part of this open-house printing, the public may help create and take home a free poster of Aldo Palazzeschi’s poem “Let me have my fun” (1910), an early futurist text first published in the U.S. by editor John McBride and poet Paul Vangelisti in a 1972 issue of their magazine Invisible City. Recognizing the tremendous impact of Futurism on the graphic art of the twentieth century, the event also celebrates the simultaneous centenary of the Vandercook Proofing Press, a machine that has been crucial to the development of contemporary book arts. During Vangelisti’s performance, the clack of the press complements his bilingual recitation of the text in Italian and in English.

Free and open to the public. Details available at sfcb.org


Marjorie Perloff on the Futurist Moment
Marjorie Perloff, literary critic
Thursday, October 15, 7 p.m.
Phyllis Wattis Theater, SFMOMA, 151 Third Street, San Francisco

Founded in 1995 through the generosity of Phyllis Wattis, this SFMOMA lecture series brings innovative thinkers to the Bay Area. Known for her seminal text The Futurist Moment: Avant-Garde, Avant-Guerre, and the Language of Rupture, Marjorie Perloff works across modernist and contemporary poetics to explore innovative form and its reception. In this talk she considers futurist aesthetics and their legacies in contemporary art, performance, and poetics.

$10 general; $7 members of partner institutions, students, and seniors. Tickets available at SFMOMA or at sfmoma.org/futurism.

Music for 16 Futurist Noise Intoners

Original scores by Luigi Russolo and Paolo Buzzi; new compositions by an all-star cast of experimental composers; ensemble players from Magik*Magik Orchestra
Friday, October 16, 8 p.m.
Novellus Theater, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 700 Howard Street, San Francisco

Futurist sound artist Luigi Russolo constructed special hand-cranked instruments to realize an expanded field of orchestral sound. Called intonarumori (noise intoners), these instruments could produce noises—explosions, howls, buzzes, hisses—not usually employed in Western music. Luciano Chessa, a Bay Area–based composer and Russolo scholar, has overseen the recreation of sixteen intonarumori and has curated this concert of original and newly commissioned scores.

Commissioned by Performa. Coproduced with the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) and SFMOMA. Presented by SFMOMA with the Italian Cultural Institute and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

$30-$15 general; $25-$10 members of partner institutions, students, and seniors. Tickets available at ybca.org/tickets or 415.978.2787.


Poetry + Painting + Politics x Professors =Futurism Past
Luigi Ballerini, UCLA; Claudio Fogu, UC Santa Barbara; Laura Wittman, Stanford University; Benjamin Martin, San Francisco State University; Jennifer Bethke, independent scholar; and Barbara Spackman, UC Berkeley
Saturday, October 17, 1 p.m.
Phyllis Wattis Theater, SFMOMA, 151 Third Street, San Francisco

Futurism’s 1909 “Founding Manifesto” called for the destruction of museums and libraries. The 1910 manifesto “Against Professors” deplored the “professorial passion for the past.” The Futurists gleefully tarred professors as “pedantic passéist pachyderms.” So how does one address the irony of organizing a symposium about an anti-symposium movement? In these anything-but-lumbering talks and a panel discussion, Futurism scholars assess the movement’s contributions to the modernist avant-garde, its controversial political affiliations and relations to fascism and anarchism, and its violent reshaping of bodies and subjectivities.

Free and open to the public; seating available on a first-come, first-served basis.


OPENfuture: Spinning Marinetti’s Wheels
OPENrestaurant, artist group; Luciano Chessa, composer
Saturday, October 17, 8 p.m.
Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Atrium, SFMOMA, 151 Third Street, San Francisco

Feeding on Futurism’s appetite for destruction, OPENrestaurant revisits F. T. Marinetti’s provocative Futurist Cookbook from 1932—which combined polemics with actual recipes designed to transform society—and realigns the movement’s arguably fascist palate with a more sustainable approach to life. Look for cyclists delivering a locally sourced “wild beast” and a women-only kitchen carving edible sculptures against a backdrop of stadium seating, emergency sirens, and spinning walls. Guests attending this clamorous banquet can expect to exalt in sounds, smells, and constant motion, and delight in, among other things, beef ice-cream cones, avocado cocktails, and flying panforte.

$65 general; $50 members of partner institutions, students, and seniors. Tickets available at SFMOMA or at sfmoma.org/futurism.


Action! Futurism Projected + Performed
Sunday, October 18, 4 and 7:30 p.m.
Brava! for Women in the Arts, 2781 24th Street, San Francisco

In their manifesto “The Futurist Cinema” (1916), Marinetti and his cohorts sought an integration of art forms through the following equation: “painting + sculpture + plastic dynamism + words-in-freedom + composed noise + architecture = synthetic theater.” Brava brings futurist short plays and rarely viewed films together on stage to investigate this ideal of synthetic theater. The program includes Anton Giulio Bragaglia’s Thais (1916)—the only surviving futurist film—as well as Futurist Life Redux (2009), a remake of a lost film with contributions by Lynn Hershman Leeson, George Kuchar, and many others.

Commissioned by Performa with SFMOMA. Presented by SFMOMA and Brava! for Women in the Arts.

Each program: $10 general; $7 members of partner institutions, students, and seniors; both programs: $15 general, $12 members of partner institutions, students, and seniors. Tickets are available at brava.org or 415.647.2822.


*          *          *

Metal + Machine + Manifesto = Futurism’s First 100 Years is coorganized by Performa and SFMOMA with the Italian Cultural Institute. The project is copresented with Brava! for Women in the Arts, The San Francisco Center for the Book, UC Berkeley Department of Italian Studies, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

Metal + Machine + Manifesto is part of SFMOMA’s Live Art series, which has transformed the nature of the museum’s public programming. Embracing the event-driven and performance-based aspect of much contemporary art, the series encompasses a broad spectrum of programming. From intimate collaborations to provocative spectacles, Live Art supports direct interactions among artists, artworks, and communities and activates the museum’s spaces in new ways. Previous events in the series include Today Is Not a Dress Rehearsal by Mika Tajima/New Humans; William Kentridge’s The Return of Ulysses; Fritz Haeg’s Animal Estates; Eve Sussman’s The Rape of the Sabine Women; and Weimar New York: A Golden Gate Affair.

Support for Live Art at SFMOMA is provided by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Thursday Nights at SFMOMA are sponsored by Banana Republic. Virgin America is the official airline of Thursday Nights at SFMOMA.

Jill Lynch 415.357.4172 jilynch@sfmoma.org
Clara Hatcher Baruth 415.357.4177 chatcher@sfmoma.org
Press Office