Category: Picturing Women: Constructions of Gender in the Acton Collection and Contemporary Society

Artist Patricia Cronin at Villa La Pietra

Born in 1963 in Beverly, Massachusetts, Patricia Cronin was educated in several art schools, including Brooklyn College of The City University of New York for her M.F.A and Rhode Island College for her B.F.A. From solo exhibitions in various countries (including The Lab Gallery in Dublin, Ireland and La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy), to publications such as The Zenobia Scandal: A Meditation on Male Jealousy (2013), her work is internationally renowned and is becoming increasingly popular. She has received numerous fellowships and awards, including the New York Foundation for the Arts (Deutsche Bank Fellow) Artist Fellowship in 2007, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art Rome Prize in Visual Art between 2006-2007. Read more

Women’s March: Recap with Photo Gallery

On March 8, Italy celebrated International Women’s Day alongside many other countries. I was shocked to see how much emphasis was placed on this day, from the exchange of the yellow mimosas (a flower that has become “an emblem of Women’s Day”), to the discounted aperitivos, to women’s free admission into museums. The most memorable for me was the Women’s March which took place in and around the center of Florence. Here I witnessed people from all backgrounds and walks of life come together for the collective motivation to celebrate women’s achievements, and continue the fight for equality. Within the sea of people, you could see highlights of pink (a color that signifies femininity but has now become a symbol of the Women’s Movement, especially with the pink “pussy hats”), and bright flags that represented people’s identities — nationally, sexually, or socially. Young girls stood at the forefront of the march, fearlessly chanting and holding up the sign “NOT ONE LESS,” and I couldn’t help but feel comforted that these girls are our future. The boys and men behind these girls understood what it meant to support them. Their subsequent positions did not mean subservience to the females, but solidarity with the females. In the middle of the march, a group of predominantly male performers put the march to a halt to perform with their unconventional drums. I looked around at the entertained spectators and noticed the expression of the participants’ faces. They were uplifted and liberated as they danced and marched together. This march reminded me of the power that comes from solidarity, unity, and love.


“The rapist is not sick. He is a healthy child of patriarchy” “My body my choice”
Demonstrators waving color smoke grenades.
“Patriarchy and capital, criminal alliance”
Woman blowing bubbles in a pink wig.
A crew of drummers breaks out into a 5 minute performance in the middle of the march.
Woman dancing to the beat of the drums.
Lady prepares to release a hot air balloon.

International Women’s Day

Yesterday was International Women’s Day


“The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.” – Gloria Steinem, Feminist, Journalist and Social and Political Activist

        Every year, on March 8th, International Women’s Day is celebrated worldwide. But What Exactly is it?

International Women’s Day is a global day honoring the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. The celebration has evolved over the course of a century and is now marked by an annual strike, entitled ‘A Day Without Women’, in which women are encouraged to take a day off work, avoid shopping, and to wear red in order to demonstrate the vital role women play in both the domestic and global economy.poing_feministe_0
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Getting to Know Gail Segal!

Who is Gail Segal?

Gail Segal is an American poet and filmmaker, and a film professor at NYU Tisch.

Where is she from?

Segal grew up in the Deep South, and after earning her B.A. in Politics and her M.F.A. in Film, she moved to New York City to pursue filmmaking.

What are some of her recent projects?

In 2015, she published Dramatic Effects: with a movie camera, a book of essays about film.

In 2014, she released Filigrane, a narrative short about three French siblings exploring the United Arab Emirates in hopes of connecting to their late father who was a researcher in the area.

In 2013, she released Meanwhile, in Turkey; a documentary short about the agency of Turkish women in a time of political and social unease, and had her work published in Paradigm, a poetry anthology by Italian poet and translator Alfredo de Palchi. Read more

Preview: “Rebel Girls” and the Role of Working Women in the Fight for Gender Equality

Tonight, Mary Anne Trasciatti of Hofstra University will be giving a talk on working women and their role in the fight for equality in the United States. picThis talk comes exactly one month after women’s marches across the United States attracted an estimated 4 million protesters from Maine to Hawaii and even more overseas, according to Jeremy Pressman of University of Connecticut and Erica Chenoweth of University of Denver. The march was not only a symbolic protest against Donald Trump, but also a show of solidarity and unification among the many marginalized groups of the United States, from the Black Lives Matter movement to the LGBTQ community and even the Dakota Access Pipeline protesters. However, that is not to understate one of the core missions of the march, which was equal pay for women. On its website, the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) stated its mission: “We will not rest until women have parity and equity at all levels of leadership in society. We work peacefully while recognizing there is no true peace without justice and equity for all. Read more

A study of Nicole Miller, The Conductor

Photo by Timothy Schenck, courtesy of High Line Art The Conductor, Nicole Miller
From The Conductor, Nicole Miller

Nicole Miller, a Tucson, Arizona-born female artist released a seven-minute silent video in 2009 entitled The Conductor, a video documenting “individuals making a decision about how to represent themselves.” This piece was her very first solo exhibition, at LAXART.

Nicole Miller was born in 1982. Belonging to the ‘Millennial generation’, she grew up during the ‘digital explosion’, and maybe this can help us understand her decision to use an electronic art form for her project.

Simply by seeing images extracted from her video, you can get a sense of the preconceptions and bias people may have of the man portrayed. The man is seen jerking his head, seemingly undergoing body spasms and manic-like episodes, from states of extreme joy to extreme anger and/or pain. And the first impression the video usually makes is that of a mentally ill man undergoing a manic attack. Read more

Students Are Invited to Respond Creatively to Villa La Pietra’s Acton Collection as part of this Spring’s ‘Picturing Women’ project

As part of the Picturing Women: Constructions of Gender in the Acton Collection and Contemporary Society series, NYU Florence students are invited to respond creatively to the representations of women in the art of Villa La Pietra’s Acton Collection and to participate in an end of semester Exhibition in the Villa’s Collection alongside professional artists.

'Cleopatra', Florence, Orazio Fidani, oil on canvas, mid. 17th c. Camera blu, Villa La Pietra
‘Cleopatra’, Florence, Orazio Fidani, oil on canvas, mid. 17th c. Camera blu, Villa La Pietra

Project Requirements:

  1. Attend one or more ‘Picturing Women’ Artist Workshops held throughout the semester
  2. Take advantage of ‘Open Collection Opportunities’ for students and spend private time viewing the art in the Acton Collection
  3. Respond creatively to the representations of women in the Acton Collection with your own creative work in a medium of your choosing.

‘Open Collection’ Dates and Times:

February 9, 15 and 20, from 10am-5pm

No reservation required.

Deadline for the Submission of Student Projects: April 24, 2017

Exhibition Opening: May 2, 2017

For further information contact Cristina Fantacci at or 055 5007 210

Learn more about the series on the Villa La Pietra website here.

Previous Project:

See how NYU Florence students responded creatively to the art in the Acton Collection in the Fall 2015 project Food: Signs, Symbols, Significations (and Sex?) Reading Art in the Villa La Pietra Collection here.

NYU Florence Student Nicole Chan, 'Persephone', Fall 2015.
NYU Florence Student Nicole Chan, ‘Persephone’, Fall 2015.

The pomegranate is a significant symbol across cultures. The fruit has hundreds of seeds within its hull, causing many to associate it values of fertility and womanhood. In the Greek myth Hades and Persephone, eating the fruit prompts Persephone’s marriage to the lord of the underworld and seals her subsequent fate. This image Persephone is inspired by ideas of emerging adulthood and the irreversibility of time. The disfigured doll represents changes in body as one leaves childhood . The model mirrors the doll’s position, and the two almost embrace each other. They are two halves of a whole, each encapsulating a different part of life like a butterfly in the midst of metamorphosis.

– Nicole Chan

‘Punk Poet’ Eileen Myles launches ‘Picturing Women: Constructions of Gender in the Acton Collection and Contemporary Society’ next week with her poetry talk ‘Born to Describe’

Eileen Myles photo (1)
Photo by: Peggy O’Brian

“Social media is very fragmentary, so I think that we write a line of poetry or a tweet very similarly. Those of us who love poetry can find social media to be really easy and really attractive and an interesting way to lean into a poem over time. You can kind of leak a line, and then another, and then they can all come together or just give you the pleasure of writing lines publicly. It’s exposing a lot of people – both poets and those who aren’t – to a kind of ‘knowing fragmentation’ and that’s pretty cool.”

-Eileen Myles, Profile: Eileen Myles, Wonderland., August 4, 2016 link

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