Futurism Centenary Celebrated Around the World [20Feb.1909.2009]

Below is a brief selection of some of the events going on around the (Western) world, with emphasis on those in New York – where I will be celebrating the centennial of the publication of the Founding and Manifesto of Futurism in the Parisian newspaper Le Figaro. They are in no particular order, are not exhaustive, and do not generally include exhibit openings.  I am always looking for more information and news so please feel free to share where and how you are celebrating today (pictures too!).


x, Jessica


@ The Museum of Modern Art

Words in Freedom: Futurism at 100
February 13–April 6, 2009
The exhibition is organized by Laura Beiles, Associate Educator, Department of Education.

The “Manifesto of Futurism,” written by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti and published on the front page of the French newspaper Le Figaro on February 20, 1909, proclaimed the burning desire of the author and his fellow Futurists to abandon the past and embrace the future. Tired of Italy’s reliance on its classical heritage and disdainful of the present, these artists called for a new aesthetic language based on industry, war, and the machine. In addition to their prolific output of drawings, photographs, films, performances, and paintings and sculptures (examples of which are on view in the fifth-floor Painting and Sculpture galleries), the Futurists (1909–1944) published countless manifestos, leaflets, and art and poetry periodicals.

On the one hundredth anniversary of the publication of the “Manifesto of Futurism,” this exhibition explores the ways Futurist artists communicated their concerns to the masses through printed matter. In a rich new language liberated from the bounds of tradition, their poetry and rhetoric addressed topics of broad national and cultural importance, including politics, language, entertainment, and the perception and future of Italian art. Although they have been criticized by some for their aesthetic approach and their politics, the Futurists were and continue to be acclaimed for their uncontainable experiments and challenges to convention, which set the stage for the provocative, interdisciplinary nature of many artistic forms to come.

All items on display are original documents in the Special Collections of The Museum of Modern Art Library, except as noted.

11:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. Futurism and the New Manifesto
Concerts, Readings & Performances | Modern Poets
The Agnes Gund Garden Lobby, first floor

Revitalizing Frank O’Hara’s legacy and MoMA’s historical commitment to poetry, this series invites poets and performers to bring the literary tradition to the Museum’s collection. They read historical works and their own work that reflects on modern and contemporary art.

The first Futurist Manifesto, written by the poet and writer F.T. Marinetti and published on the front page of Le Figaro on February 20, 1909, proclaimed a burning desire—fueled by industry, war, and the rise of the machine—to race into the future. Tired of resting on the laurels of their cultural heritage and disdainful of their uneventful present, the Futurists called for a new aesthetic language appropriate for the new modernity. On the one hundredth anniversary of the publication of the Founding and Manifesto of Futurism, poets Charles Bernstein, Thomas Sayers Ellis, Joshua Mehigan, and Alicia Stallings recite historical works, as well as their own contemporary manifestos, in the public space of the Museum’s Garden Lobby. Excerpts from Luca Buvoli’s video Velocity Zero (2007), in which the slow reading of the tenets of the Futurist Manifesto by people with aphasia contrasts with the frenetic speed that characterized Futurism, will also be on view. This program is a collaboration with Poetry magazine, whose forthcoming portfolio of manifestos, with an afterword by Mary Ann Caws, will be released at MoMA on February 20.

11:30 a.m.
Lectures & Gallery Talks | Gallery Talks
The Painting of Modern Life: Italian Futurism, 1909–1918
With Diana Bush

1:30 p.m.
Lectures & Gallery Talks | Gallery Talks
The Productive Object: Futurism, Dada, and Constructivism
With Diana Bush


One Reply to “Futurism Centenary Celebrated Around the World [20Feb.1909.2009]”

  1. Happy Centenary! Have been thinking of you all day — wish I could have gotten over to MoMA to mark the occasion!

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