News

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 2018 are quickly filling up.

 

Pizza
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
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
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.

 

Orto
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 Diego Mencaroni (diego@civitella.org) to request dates. 

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

Christopher Stark awarded 2017 Guggenheim Fellowship

Congratulations to Christopher Stark (Fellow, 2012) on winning a 2017 Guggenheim Fellowship!

 

On April 6, 2017, the Board of Trustees of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation approved the awarding of 173 Guggenheim Fellowships to a diverse group of scholars, artists, and scientists. Appointed on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise, the successful candidates were chosen from a group of almost 3,000 applicants in the Foundation’s ninety-third competition.

Du Yun wins 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Music

Angel’s Bone by Du Yun (Fellow, 2015) has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music. The annually awarded $10,000 prize is for a distinguished musical composition by an American that has had its first performance or recording in the United States during the previous year. Angel’s Bone, which features a libretto by Royce Vavrek, received its premiere on January 6, 2016, at the Prototype Festival, 3LD Arts and Technology Center, New York City. The Pulitzer jury described it as “a bold operatic work that integrates vocal and instrumental elements and a wide range of styles into a harrowing allegory for human trafficking in the modern world.”

 

Dawn Clements: "Tables and pills and things"
Pierogi Gallery, New York

Pierogi Gallery presents an exhibition of recent works on paper by Dawn Clements (Fellow, 2013). On view will be a large watercolor work that she made while in residence at Civitella.

 

April 1 – May 7, 2017
Opening Reception: Sunday, April 2. 6-8pm

 

Read more below.

Clements captures alternately quotidian and filmic scenes of fragmented tableaus and narratives, perspectival disruptions, and the passage of time by painting her immediate surroundings and architectural interiors from films. Objects around her become landscapes to traverse: In “Three Tables In Rome” (248 inches long) a series of three contiguous tabletops are covered with objects ranging from plants, fruits, empty pill blister packs, to a computer screen opening up onto a scene from a black and white film. Clements embraces the physicality of paper. Her process of gluing, folding, and cutting ultimately distresses the paper, giving the works a sculptural quality. This, along with her use of scale, endows each drawing with a heft and depth of feeling that is remarkable.

Winner of the 2017 Walt Whitman Award
Jenny Xie

We are happy to share that Jenny Xie is the winner of the 2017 Academy of American Poets' Walt Whitman Award, the nation’s most valuable first-book prize for a poet. Xie’s manuscript, Eye Level, will be published by Graywolf Press in April 2018, and she will receive a six-week residency at Civitella Ranieri as well as $5,000.

Doug Argue: recent works
Waterhouse & Dodd

Doug Argue's (Director's Guest, 2016) exhibition of recent works will be on view at Waterhouse & Dodd through April 29, 2017. 

 

Argue's recent work continues to explore the relationship between space and form, orchestrating biomorphic forms and geometric shapes in complex layers. His work reflects his vision of shifting realities and offers the viewer different interpretations.

Shimon Attie: Lost in Space (After Huck)
Saint Louis Art Museum

Shimon Attie's (Fellow, 2010) solo exhibit Lost in Space (After Huck) will be on view at the Saint Louis Art Museum from April 1 through June 25.

 

Artist Shimon Attie creates site-specific, multimedia works that shine a light on what has been lost, buried, or forgotten. His installations incorporate a range of new media techniques, including projections, photography, and video, to expose the layers of history that construct our world.

Samantha Schweblin: Fever Dream

Samanta Schweblin's (Fellow, 2011) Fever Dream received a glowing review in The New York Times. Below is an excerpt: 

"To call Schweblin’s novella eerie and hallucinatory is only to gesture at its compact power; the fantastical here simply dilates a reality we begin to accept as terrifying and true. A woman named Amanda lies on a hospital gurney, recounting her story to David, a boy who pushes her to relive the events that have brought her there, wrapped in the rough sheets of her deathbed, able to talk but unable to move."

"She describes traveling with her young daughter to a vacation rental outside the capital and meeting David’s mother, who immediately insinuates that something so monstrous has happened to David that she no longer considers him her son. 'The first time they put him in my arms, I was so anxious. I was convinced he was missing a finger,' she says, remembering when she had a new mother’s ordinary fears. 'What I wouldn’t give now for David to simply be missing a finger.'

 

The tale that follows is a swift descent into phantasmagoria, as the dialogue between Amanda and David — translated into lucid English by McDowell — turns into a cleareyed reminiscence of horror and a struggle for narrative control. “How different are you now from the David of six years ago?” Amanda asks. “What did you do that was so terrible your own mother no longer accepts you as hers?” Damaged children, a degraded earth, souls that move between bodies but never find rest: Schweblin’s book is suffused with haunting images and big questions, and in Amanda she places a mother’s all-consuming love and fear for her child. Amanda remembers how she would constantly measure the “rescue distance” that separated her from her daughter. As the distance tightens, as Amanda feels that her daughter is closer than ever, she will learn the grim and fateful lesson that maternal instincts count for little in an insidiously poisoned world."

Jackie Saccoccio exhibition

11R Gallery presents a major exhibition of recent works by American artist Jackie Saccoccio (Fellow, 2017), on view March 30 – April 30, 2017 at the gallery’s 195 Chrystie Street location. Titled Sharp Objects & Apocalypse Confetti, the show comprises two distinct groups of new work: large-scale abstract paintings on linen and a new series of “drawings” made with ink on Yupo polyethylene.

Reception: Thursday, March 30, 6 - 8 PM

Civitellians at the Venice Biennale

We are proud to share that Civitellians Michele Ciacciofera (Fellow, 2016), Mingwei Lee (Fellow, 2018), Taus Makhacheva (Fellow, 2016), Sopheap Pich (Fellow, 2013), and Liliana Porter (Fellow, 1999) will show work at the 2017 Venice Biennale central show, “Viva Arte Viva.” It opens on May 13, 2017.

 

Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler (CRF 2016) and Carol Bove will show their work in the exhibition «Women of Venice» at the Pavilion of Switzerland. 

Carolyn Forché wins Windham-Campbell prize

Congratulations to Civitellian Carolyn Forché (Fellow, 2012) on winning a Windham-Campbell prize in poetry!


The Windham-Campbell prizes are global English-language awards that call attention to literary achievement and provide writers with the opportunity to focus on their work independent of financial concerns. Prizewinners receive an unrestricted grant of $165,000.

Shahpour Pouyan: We owe this considerable land to the horizon line
Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris

Galerie Nathalie Obadia is very pleased to present We owe this considerable land to the horizon line, the first solo exhibition in France of the work of Shahpour Pouyan.


 

It opens on March 9, 2017 and will be on view until May 6, 2017. 

 

Shahpour Pouyan was born in Isfahan in 1979, a year marked by the Islamic Revolution in Iran, and grew up in Tehran in the midst of the Iran-Iraq War. He currently lives and works between New York and Tehran.

Shahpour Pouyan’s practice reflects on the workings of political power, domination and possession through the language of cultural material and forms. Through his drawings, installations and sculptures, he tackles a bifurcated experience of life in Iran and in the U.S., creating a large and significant body of work that draws on a wide range of influences, from traditions of Persian art and Iranian culture to the work of visionary architects such as Etienne Louis Boullée or Claude Nicolas Ledoux.

 

March 9 - May 6, 2017

Galerie Nathalie Obadia

18, rue du Bourg-Tibourg - 75004 - Paris

Celeste Maia artist book video

Presentation of an artist book by Celeste Maia (Fellow, 2010) on the turbulent and dangerous 14th Century love story between Ines de Castro and Pedro of Portugal.

 

Kit White: The Nature of This Place
Freedman Art, New York

We are happy to share that Kit White, a current Board Director and past Director's Guest (2013) of Civitella Ranieri, has an exhibition, The Nature of This Place, that will be on view at Freedman Art from March 21 to August 31, 2017. Opening reception on March 21 from 5:30pm-7:30pm.

Petah Coyne at Marlborough Gallery

The Directors of Marlborough Gallery are pleased to announce the opening of 'No Boundaries,' a group exhibition featuring sculptures by thirteen women: Petah Coyne (Fellow, 2005), Magdalena Abakanowicz, Alice Aycock, Lynda Benglis, Deborah Butterfield, Lesley Dill, Louise Nevelson, Michele Oka Doner, Beverly Pepper, Judy Pfaff, Davina Semo, Kiki Smith, and Ursula von Rydingsvard.


The exhibition will open on Wednesday, March 8th and will remain on view through April 1st.

Bill Jacobson: figure, ground
Julie Saul Gallery, New York

Julie Saul Gallery is pleased to announce figure, ground, its ninth solo exhibition with New York based artist Bill Jacobson (Fellow, 2013).

 

It will be on view from March 16 through May 13, 2017.

figure, ground is linked conceptually to Jacobson’s previous Place (Series). After exploring images in which rectangular forms were placed in a variety of spaces, this new work depicts his interest in the undulating lines inherent in the human body. The figures in these photographs look away from the camera towards a natural landscape that becomes increasingly out of focus as it recedes. Working with an analog 8 x 10 camera, they are depicted in extraordinarily sharp detail, especially in contrast with the softness of the background.

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.

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.”

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.

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. civitella.org"

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 www.civitella.org 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.