Carlos Garaicoa: Urban Epiphanies
AZ Azkuna Zentroa, Bilbao

Azkuna Zentroa presents Urban Epiphanies, the first individual exhibition in Bilbao by Cuban artist Carlos Garaicoa (Fellow, 1997) from February 16 to May 14, 2017.


The exhibition brings together three installations which are, in effect, a tour around the urban space: Fin de silencio (End of silence), a place of rest and reflection created from a collection of rugs which poetically reproduce the Havana shop signs of the 1950s; Alcantarillas (Drains), a reproduction of Bilbao's ground space, where the spectator enters a zone in which rebellion and protest rise from the ground itself, causing the city to speak from its core; and finally, Partitura (Score), produced by Azkuna Zentroa, a music composition which rewrites a new score based on the different sounds of the city's wandering musicians, forming a portrait of the contemporary city. 

Numerous journeys through two cities, Madrid and Bilbao, have served as material for this work, based on the result of the personal friendly relation between the author and urban musicians. This work has borrowed the sound of wind, string and percussion instrument players, singers and composers among others to give back a thousand fold those "sonorous" moments of the city, that musical voice of a trade which scrapes a living in the towns while at the same time shaping its daily landscape.


In the exhibition space we come upon a group shaped like a symphonic orchestra. Each music stand contains a Tablet where a musician appears performing. In the middle, presiding the Orchestra, we find the dais corresponding to its Conductor, where we are delighted with all these musicians interpreting together the score composed by Esteban Puebla. However, this choral work never loses sight of its proposal as a sonorous archive, while at the same time it endeavours to propose a new visual space for this archive.

Composers Now February Festival

The seventh annual February Festival of our affiliate, Composers Now, begins on February 1 with a 7:30pm event at Cary Hall, DiMenna Center (450 West 37 Street, New York, NY). See more information here


Two composers, each selected by Composers Now, will receive a Civitella Ranieri Fellowship consisting of a six-week residency at the center in addition to travel, room, and board. The first residency took place in 2016 and the following will take place this season.


Composers Now Creative Residencies are awarded through a careful nomination process open to organizations that have participated in the annual festival, and a jury process by a rotating panel of our distinguished advisors and mentors.

Winter at Civitella

Those of us who live in Umbria love the winter season. Visibility is enhanced by the cold and the smell of wood smoke from farmhouse chimneys is in the air. Hiking and walking become a daily routine. The quiet and the solitude make an ideal environment to get work done.

As of 2017, you as Civitellians can partake of that still, lovely season as well. We are happy to announce that six of our residencies will be available to you for the months of January, February, March and April. All apartments have heat and cooking facilities and all have Wi-Fi. Minimum stays of one week are encouraged, but priority will be given to longer stays. Meals are not offered in this time period.

Our staff will be on hand to assist you. Paola in the office has the keys to the Civitella car, which we will make available to you at a mileage fee. If you envision consistent or daily use of the car, we strongly suggest renting a vehicle of your own. Paola can help with photocopying or mail, appointments or questions. Diego, too, is full time at the Castle as of February 1 to assist with any technical issues. Dana is back and forth from New York in this period, but both Patrizia Caini, the head of housekeeping and Maurizio, the custodian and gardener are full time.

If desired, occasional meals can be catered by Patrizia for a small fee as requested. The Castle gym (rowing machine, treadmill, stationary bicycle, weights) will be open as well as the communal Open Studio equipped with great lighting and work areas, hand tools, electric tools, some art and construction supplies. The Castle Library collection, now at 10,000 volumes including the Mark Strand library, although cold, will be available to you 24 hours a day.

Below are our available spaces and the rate per night*. Email to reserve your rooms now, as spaces for 2017 are quickly filling up.


This is the most beloved of all the composers’ spaces at Civitella. A free-standing house just outside the Civitella gates, Pizza was has a master bedroom that sleeps two, a full kitchen and bathroom, and a beautiful studio with glass doors that open to the private grounds and gardens. Our Steinway grand piano is in this studio space and available for your use. 
50 euro per night. Double occupancy rate, 60 euro. 

Arco is not unlike a gondolier’s house in Venice. One enters on the ground floor and walks up a flight of stairs to the main floor with its small kitchen and work area. A comfortable armchair looks out to the best view of the castle of any of our apartments. Another flight of stairs brings you upstairs to the bedroom and bathroom. This is ideal for a writer. 
35 euro per night. Double occupancy rate, 45 euro.


Granaio is housed within the castle walls. A flight of stairs brings you up to a long spacious loft space with a full kitchen, living room/sitting area, bedroom and bathroom with tub and shower. This is where grain was stored in the early days of the Castle, but now for years it has become a favorite studio for composers and writers. An upright piano is included here. 
40 euro per night. Double occupancy rate, 50 euro.


Castrabecco Su
This is the upstairs floor of the farmhouse known as ‘Castrabecco.’ It is ideal for two or three people and includes a large master bedroom with its own bathroom, a studiolo, another smaller bedroom with a private bathroom, living room with working fireplace, and full kitchen. The views from this apartment are spectacular. 
50 euro per night per person.


This is our newest refurbished mini apartment. On the ground floor of Castrabecco, this is a one room studio ideal for a writer. One enters through glass doors to a double bedded bedroom that shares space with a small kitchen (two burners only), kitchen table, comfortable reading chair. Full bathroom with tub, nice desk area for working. 
30 euro per night. Double occupancy rate, 40 euro. 

Please contact Kate Davis ( to request dates. 

*Prices quoted are for 2017, and may increase in 2018. 

James Casebere: Emotional Architecture
Sean Kelly New York

Sean Kelly is delighted to announce Emotional Architecture, a major one-person exhibition by James Casebere (Fellow, 2014). This will be Casebere’s first solo presentation of new work in New York since 2010 and his first in the gallery’s new space. The opening reception will take place on Thursday, January 26 from 6-8 pm, and the artist will be present. It will be on view until March 11, 2017.


In Emotional Architecture, Casebere will present an entirely new body of work inspired by world-renowned Mexican architect Luis Barragán. The title of the exhibition references the name given to the style of modernist architecture conceived by Barragán and the artist Mathias Goéritz, who, frustrated by the cold functionalism of Modernism, embraced space, color and light to create buildings that engendered warmth, meditation, and reflection.

In this new body of work, Casebere returns to his career-long interrogation of interior architectural spaces to explore Barragán’s sumptuous use of color, dramatic light and simple haptic, planar surfaces. These new works evoke the serene austerity that inhabited Casebere’s early series of work examining societal power structures through the interrogation of prisons cells. However, the sense of isolation and enforced confinement that defined those works has been replaced with an atmosphere of joy and beauty that characterizes Barragán’s unique oeuvre.

Wafaa Bilal named named one of 'Foreign Policy's' 100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2016
For ensuring that the sword isn’t mightier than the pen

More than a decade after fleeing Iraq with his family and making a home in the United States, Wafaa Bilal followed accounts of American troops invading his homeland. Havoc had been unleashed there. One story in particular—looters had set ablaze 70,000 books inside Baghdad’s College of Fine Arts—stuck with him. It was yet another example of what the artist describes as the “cyclical history of violence against cultural institutions, and libraries in particular, during times of war and conflict.” In January at Ontario’s Art Gallery of Windsor, Bilal debuted a 72-foot bookshelf stocked with 1,000 blank, white books. The exhibit was a living one. With the help of Kickstarter donors, he replaced the fake books with real ones, which he eventually shipped back to Baghdad. 

Shimon Attie named the 2016-17 Freund Teaching Fellow

Shimon Attie (CRF 2010) was named the 2016-17 Freund Teaching Fellow by the Saint Louis Art Museum and Washington University’s Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts. 


Over the past two decades, Attie earned an international reputation for exploring themes of place, memory and communal trauma, as well as the potential for regeneration. This fall, the Saint Louis Art Museum and Washington University’s Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts welcomes Attie to St. Louis as their 2016-17 Henry L. and Natalie E. Freund Teaching Fellow.

“The politics of place, collective memory, and post-conflict narratives are a central focus in Shimon’s work,” said Patricia Olynyk, the Florence and Frank Bush Professor and director of the Sam Fox School’s Graduate School of Art. “His works are complex and deeply psychological, and underscore that — though history tends to repeat itself — it is not only possible but imperative to imagine new futures."

“Past projects — in Berlin, Copenhagen and other international locations — have addressed historical human rights problems, which in turn draw attention to present-day violations,” Olynyk added. “I anticipate that Shimon will connect the unique history, sociology and political conditions of our own region to a broader set of global movements and concerns.”

William Kentridge: Conversations in letters and lines
The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh

This exhibition brings together the work of two of South Africa’s foremost visual artists, William Kentridge (CRF 1996) and Vivienne Koorland. Kentridge and Koorland come from the same generation of South African artists. Born in the 1950s, they first met as university students in the mid-1970s and have been talking about art ever since. This exhibition foregrounds a friendship of forty years and a dialogue which has been mutually enriching as the practice of each has informed that of the other.


It will be on view until February 19, 2017.

The Fruitmarket Gallery
45 Market Street
Edinburgh EH1 1DF
United Kingdom 

Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler at the 2017 Venice Biennale
Pavilion of Switzerland

Curator Philipp Kaiser has invited artists Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler (CRF 2016) and Carol Bove to show their work in the exhibition «Women of Venice» at the Pavilion of Switzerland at the 57th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. With the project Kaiser aims to explore Alberto Giacometti’s absence in the history of the Swiss Pavilion. During his lifetime, Giacometti declined all requests for him to exhibit his work there.

The exhibition «Women of Venice» refers to the little known absence of Alberto Giacometti at the Biennale di Venezia. Set in the Pavilion of Switzerland, which was built in 1952 by Alberto’s brother, the renowned architect Bruno Giacometti, it will feature new work by Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler and Carol Bove created specifically for the Biennale di Venezia in reference to the legacy and universe of Alberto Giacometti. Philipp Kaiser, nominated as curator of the Swiss Pavilion by the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, outlines his concept as follows: «The exhibition ‘Women of Venice’ aims to reflect on the history of the Pavilion and Switzerland’s contributions to the Biennale di Venezia from a contemporary perspective, and to initiate new work, specific to this context.» With the exhibition, Kaiser intends to explore concepts of national identity as well as issues of cultural policy.


Over the past years, the artist duo Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler have used a documentary approach to delve into the archaeology of film. At the Biennale di Venezia, they will present their film installation «Flora», based on discoveries made in the course of their research on the largely unknown American artist Flora Mayo who studied in Paris in the 1920s, at the same time as Giacometti, and who was his lover. By weaving together fictional and documentary material, Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler both reconstruct and re-imagine Flora Mayo’s life and work, also giving voice to her previously unknown son. Giacometti’s and Mayo’s relationship and their ensuing portrait busts reflect the creative energy generated by their collaborative artistic activity and also shed light on Alberto Giacometti’s early life.

Emily Jacir: Europa
Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin

IMMA presents the first survey exhibition of acclaimed artist Emily Jacir's (CRF 2009) work in Ireland. Europa (the Italian and Arabic word for “Europe”) presents sculpture, film, drawings, large-scale installations and photography that focus on her work in Europe, in particular Italy and the Mediterranean. Renowned for work that is as poetic as it is political and biographical, Jacir investigates silenced historical narratives, translation, movement, resistance, transformation and exchange. 


It will be on view from November 25, 2016 through February 26, 2017.

Sun Xun: Tales of Our Time

Tales of Our Time opens at the Guggenheim Museum, New York, on November 4 and will be on view until March 10, 2017.


The artists in this exhibition challenge the conventional understanding of place. By portraying often-overlooked cultural and historical narratives, Sun Xun (CRF 2013), Chia-En Jao, Kan Xuan, Sun Yuan & Peng Yu, Tsang Kin-Wah, Yangjiang Group, and Zhou Tao explore concepts of geography and nation-state. Their artworks address specific locations, such as their hometowns, remote borderlands, or a group of uninhabited islands, as well as abstract ideas, such as territory, boundaries, or even utopia. China, too, is presented here, not only as a country but also as a notion that is open for questioning and reinvention.

The exhibition’s title riffs on Gushi xin bian (Old Tales Retold, 1936), the name of a book by modern Chinese literary giant Lu Xun in which he recasts ancient legends to critique society, reimagine history, and illuminate problems of his era. The artists in Tales of Our Time similarly call attention to the dynamic relationship between storytelling and history writing. Official histories are, in their eyes, full of fabrications, and storytelling provides a means to reconstruct the past and demystify the present. While some of the artists engage storytelling by creating characters and plots, others imbue their forms with narrative content by adapting metaphor and allegory. All of them, however, dispute the line between fiction and fact in order to make and unmake boundaries—those dividing communities, regions, nations, and continents, as well as those separating past and present, reality and dreams, and rationality and absurdity.

Abraham Cruzvillegas: Approximating Vibrant Retroflex Self-Constriction
Carré d’Art–Musée d’art contemporain

Abraham Cruzvillegas' (CRF 2007) exhibit, Approximating Vibrant Retroflex Self-Constriction, will be on view at the Carré d’Art–Musée d’art contemporain in Nîmes, France until February 19, 2017.


Abraham Cruzvillegas’s approach calls up history and self-construction within the economic, social and political contexts. He uses various production and reception strategies to create meaning. He breathes fresh life into objects in new contexts so as to alter the way we interpret them.

Civitella Ranieri in The New York Times

Civitella Ranieri and chef Romana Ciubini are featured in The New York Times in "Umbria, Italy’s Best-Kept Culinary Secret, Is Budding" by Julia Moskin. Read the article here.


You may purchase The Civitella Cookbook: Recipes from our Castle Kitchen for a $25 donation on our donate page.

Mark Strand Booklet
Anywhere Could be Somewhere: Remembering Mark Strand

2016 Intern, Elinor Kirchwey, created the booklet Anywhere Could be Somewhere: Remembering Mark Strand from compiled memories, anecdotes, and stories about our much-loved friend and poet, Mark Strand. It is available for a donation of $15, which includes shipping. You can purchase a booklet on our Donate page here.

James Matheson Recording
Violin Concerto - String Quartet - Times Alone

James Matheson's (CRF 2013) largest recording to date is available to order here. The project includes his Violin Concerto, String Quartet and song cycle Times Alone. The performers are astonishing - Baird Dodge, Esa-Pekka Salonen, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Color Field, Laura Strickling, Thomas Sauer - and the recording quality is breathtaking.

"All of Matheson’s music has a bold, cinematic flair. His writing for solo violin is highly idiomatic and virtuosic; the orchestral contribution is extravagantly colorful. Matheson employs an advanced tonal syntax and confidently cites other styles as he makes his argument.

Matheson doesn’t merely “set” the texts — he seems to take ownership of them like a singer-songwriter. The concerto recording scales the solo instrument correctly and the orchestral sonority is luminous. Times Alone captures the impressive dynamic power of soprano Laura Strickling and massive, dimensional piano sound."

— Andrew Quint, The Absolute Sound

Lynn Emanuel wins Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize

Lynn Emanuel (CRF 2014) won the Lenore Marshall Poetry Price for her book of poetry, The Nerve of It: Poems New and Selected. 


Established in 1975, this $25,000 award recognizes the most outstanding book of poetry published in the United States in the previous calendar year. The prize includes distribution of the winning book to hundreds of Academy of American Poets members.

About The Nerve of It: Poems New and Selected, Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize judges Amy Gerstler, Reginald Gibbons, and Kimiko Hahn wrote: “Every poem in Lynn Emanuel’s The Nerve of It brims with unfailing invention and virtuoso wordcraft. This volume of new and selected poems is a beautifully integrated whole, the arc of a life: heady, bold, vivid, sexy, intensely envisioned, metaphorically brilliant. The Nerve of It is a witty and courageous body of work.

PEN Awardee Announced

Sameer Pandya, author of The Blind Writer: Stories and a Novella, has been selected as the 2017 PEN/Civitella Fellow.


Through an affiliation with PEN America, PEN is able to send a Fellow to take part in a six-week residency at the Civitella Ranieri Center on a biennial basis. Each residency brings together accomplished artists, writers, and composers to refresh and inspire their work through uninterrupted studio time, and international dialogue that transcends boundaries.

Amelia Cuni and Werner Durand: Diasporagas LP
Edition Telemark

Amelia Cuni (CRF 2013) and Werner Durand's (CRF 2013) LP, Diasporagas, is now available through Edition Telemark


Abubakar Adam Ibrahim wins The Nigeria Prize for Literature, 2016

Congratulations to Abubakar Adam Ibrahim (CRF 2015) on winning the Nigeria Prize for Literature. Ibrahim, a Nigerian journalist and writer, won the $100,000 prize for his novel, Season of Crimson Blossoms.


Season of Crimson Blossoms is a novel set in conservative northern Nigeria. It focuses on unusual love affairs between characters, as well as ambiguities in religion and politics. Published by Cassava Republic Press, Season of Crimson Blossoms is Ibrahim’s debut novel. Ibrahim has won the BBC African Performance Prize and the Amatu Braide Prize for Prose. He is a Gabriel Garcia Marquez Fellow (2013) and a Civitella Ranieri Fellow (2015).




Blouin Artinfo: 10 Cool Art Retreats Across the Globe

Blouin Artinfo names the Civitella Ranieri Foundation one of 10 Cool Art Retreats Across the Globe


The article reads, "#10: Civitella Ranieri | Umbria, Italy - Set in a stunning 15th century castle outside the small city of Umbertide and founded by the late adventurer and mountaineer Ursula Corning, the Civitella Ranieri in rural Umbria opens its doors to both emerging and established creatives—artists, writers and composers—for four self-directed six-week residency sessions every year."

Read the full article here: Blouin Artinfo.

Civitellians Featured in 'The Artist Project'
The Artist Project at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The following eight Civitellians are featured in The Met's The Artist Project (videos are linked). The Artist Project is an online series in which The Met gives artists an opportunity to respond to its encyclopedic collection.


Xu Bing (CRF 1999)

Petah Coyne (CRF 2005)

Deborah Kass (DG 2009)

Nalini Malani (CRF 2003)

Kerry James Marshall (CRF 1998)

Sopheap Pich (CRF 2013)

Liliana Porter (CRF 1999)

Martha Rosler (CRF 2009)

James Siena (DG 2010)

From March 2015 to June 2016, The Met will invite 120 artists—local, national, and global—to choose individual works of art or galleries that spark their imaginations. In this online series, artists reflect on what art is, what inspires them from across 5,000 years of art, and in so doing, they reveal the power of a museum and The Met. Their unique and passionate ways of seeing and experiencing art encourage all museum visitors to look in a personal way.

Over the course of six seasons, The Artist Project will share the perspectives of one hundred and twenty artists with the public, telling us what they see when they look at The Met.

Six Civitellians Awarded Guggenheim Fellowships

We are proud to share that six Civitellians were awarded 2016 Guggenheim Fellowships! Congratulations to Rick Barot (CRF 2011), Robert Boyd (CRF 2010), Jericho Brown (CRF 2015), Edmund Campion (CRF 2004), Andrew Norman (DG 2011), and Michelle Segre (CRF 2016).

On April 5, 2016, the Board of Trustees of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation approved the awarding of 175 Guggenheim Fellowships (including three joint Fellowships) to a diverse group of 178 scholars, artists, and scientists. Appointed on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise, the successful candidates were chosen from a group of nearly 3,000 applicants in the Foundation’s ninety-second competition.

Mark Strand Library Gift to Civitella
Foundation will receive the late poet's books

The poetry world was recently hard hit by the death of Mark Strand in November, 2014.  Mark, who had been a frequent visitor to Umbria and to Civitella Ranieri Foundation, had been planning a return visit in the summer of 2015.  His lifelong friend, Yale painter Bill Bailey, lives just minutes from the Castle, and during the summers when Mark was not visiting Civitella, he was visiting Bill.


It was at Civitella that Mark wrote most of his last book, Almost Invisible, a collection of prose pieces.  He usually wrote sitting in the sun at the picnic table in what is called the Fellows' Garden.

Over the past several years, Mark had moved from Chicago to New York, and then from New York to Madrid, and back to New York.  With each move he pared down his library.  “There's only about 400 books that really mean anything to me anymore," he said.  "I just want to get down to 400 books.” Civitella was the lucky recipients of his cast-offs.


His initial gifts of books to Civitella numbered 1200 volumes, primarily poetry in English, but many books of poetry in Spanish and Italian.  There were numerous volumes of literary criticism, philosophy, the Classics, and books on theory. 


Many of the books were sent to him from hopeful writers with handwritten notes still inside them reading something like, "Dear Mark, Great to meet you last night and thank you for your interest in my work.  Here as promised is my latest book...." 

The last time Mark was a Director's Guest at Civitella, in 2011, he was reading the new translation of Don Quixote.  “I don't want it to end,” he said, “I am reading it so slowly because I don't want to finish it.”


Shortly before his death, writer Jean McGarry was a Fellow in residence at Civitella.  She had been a friend of Mark's during his Baltimore Johns Hopkins days, and she wrote often to him to tell him about her experience in Umbria.  It was she who convinced Strand to give the balance of his library to the Foundation, to keep the collection together, to which he agreed.  He wrote to her, “I love giving books to Civitella. They are needed. I just keep thinning out my library.”


While she was still in residence at Civitella, Jean helped Executive Director Dana Prescott prioritize his books for cataloguing.


Jean wrote to Mark, “What an experience today, going through the boxes of books you sent to Civitella.  I always knew you were a reader, and you never recommended to me anything that didn't become a part of my brain and soul, but still, I was staggered by what I saw.  Dana and I made a short list of things that need to be catalogued and shelved NOW.  We will return and make a second, third, and fourth selection, but every one of these books is a treasure.  I hope you plan to promise the rest of your library to this magical place, where you are the genius loci.  They will be​ read and treasured (and studied) with the utmost reverence.  (I hate to use that word, but yesterday, we went to San Sepolchro, and I am suffused with the spirit of your beloved Piero.)”


With Mark Strand's will just out of probate, his daughter, Jessica, has told the Foundation that Civitella stands to inherit the balance of this great personal library.  Another 3500 books will arrive shortly and the Foundation will begin the work of cataloguing each volume, and making the books accessible to its Fellows and Director's Guests.  Eventually the collection will be posted on line and also made public to visiting scholars.

Donations to support the installation and cataloguing of the collection at the Castle are welcomed.  Please visit for details about giving to the foundation or to contact us with questions.  Civitella Ranieri Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)3 operating foundation based in New York.  All US contributions are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.