Italian Futurism

18 April 2014 / , ,

Aesthetically, Italian Futurism is a dynamic modernist movement with strong scenes of the rising modern life of the early 1900s, depicting machines, speed, and war in provocative ways. When reading their manifestos, however, I can’t help but notice that the Futurist were manic, violent, sexist, and fascist revolutionaries who where, at times, hypocritical in their vulgar beliefs. Founded in 1909 by Filippo Marinetti, Futurism was a movement of many mediums, beginning with literature and expanding to painting, sculpture, sound, photography, and architecture, translating their beliefs vivaciously into each medium. As much as I disagree with their founding manifesto of violence and destruction of the “old world” (they literally wanted to demolish museums and libraries), I can’t help but admire their colorful and rhythmic works. For example, Boccioni’s Unique Forms of Continuity in Space and The City Rises, Marinetti’s typographic Zang Tumb Tuuum, all explore a new visual language that’s fresh and inventive. So I ask myself, is is possible to love the work but hate the men who created it? I say yes. Learn more about the Futurists and see Italian Futurism, 1909–1944: Reconstructing the Universe at the Guggenheim now through September 1st.

Osvaldo Peruzzi, Aeropittura, ca. 1934.
Tato (Guglielmo Sansoni), Flying over the Coliseum in a Spiral, 1930.
Tullio Crali, Sea Air Rail Terminal: Marine Center with Mooring Basin, 1930.
Giacomo Balla, Paths of Movement + Dynamic Sequences, 1913.
Umberto Boccioni, The City Rises, 1910–11.
Carlo Carrà, Funeral of the Anarchist Galli, 1910–11.
Luigi Russolo, Solidity of Fog, 1912.
Benedetta (Benedetta Cappa Marinetti), Speeding Motorboat, 1923–24.
Ivo Pannaggi, Speeding Train, 1922.
Ugo Pozzo, Cosmopolis, 1925.
Mario Bellusi, Modern Traffic in Ancient Rome, 1930.
Francesco Cangiullo, Large Crowd in the Piazza del Popolo, 1914.
Francesco Cangiullo, Piedigrotta. Book (Milan: Edizioni futuriste di Poesia, 1916)
F. T. Marinetti, Air Raid (n. 67), 1915–16.
F. T. Marinetti, Zang Tumb Tuuum: Adrianople October 1912.
Fortunato Depero, Skyscrapers and Tunnels, 1930.