Tucked along Flint Street in Reno’s cultural core is a beautiful mansion exhibiting a signature Colonial style: The home at 442 Flint Street was designed by Frederick J. Delongchamps, one of Nevada’s most famous architects, and is commonly known by longtime locals as the Hardy House.
But since 2008, it has operated as arte italia, a destination for the celebration of Italian visual and culinary arts.
Ask many locals, and they’ll likely associate arte italia with extraordinary Italian cuisine. On a regular basis, arte italia invites esteemed visiting chefs from Italy to cook for visitors in the mansion’s commercial state-of-the-art kitchen. Due to limited space and popular demand, arte italia has had to initiate a lottery system for those seeking admission. In an effort to be inclusive, the possibility of video streaming is being pursued.
But what may be lesser known about the destination: The free art exhibits that grace the second floor of the mansion.
“When we locate exemplary exhibits, we open our doors and invite Northern Nevada to savor Italian culture,” explains Kristen Avansino, president of the non-profit organization.
Now on display: an internationally acclaimed photographic exhibit called “NeoRealismo: The New Image in Italy, 1932–1960.”
“I read about Enrica Viganò’s 10-year photograph project in the Wall Street Journal and traveled to New York to see NeoRealismo when it was on display,” Avansino says. “I was so moved by the images. I immediately knew that this photographic jewel should tour to the West.”
This is the most comprehensive curated collection of journalistic images capturing the faces of Italy during a unique period of time, 1932 – 1960.
“NeoRealismo” toured Europe to great acclaim and then made its U.S. debut at New York University’s Grey Art Gallery. Exclusively sponsored by the E. L. Wiegand Foundation, “NeoRealismo” has exhibited at the Museo Italo Americano in San Francisco — and now at arte italia in Reno.
“Neorealism was a phenomenon that touched all different fields of culture including literature, painting and photography,” explained journalist, art critic and exhibit curator Enrica Viganò in a recent interview. “Photography was very important in that period, and the exchange between cinema makers and photographers was productive and useful. Photography was something we still had to discover, and that’s why my research started, trying to discover what was going on in that period.”
The exhibit is on display through Dec. 29 exclusively at acclaimed photographic exhibit italia.
“The Truckee Meadows was founded by pioneer Italian families,” Avansino says. “Their names are emblazoned on Nevada street signs as our way of paying tribute to their journey. But this exhibit truly celebrates their cultural roots and the realities their predecessors faced.”
It took curator Viganò a decade to amass the 110 prints — primarily vintage photographs — captured by more than 50 Italian photographers; many are paired with the original magazines, photobooks, and newspapers in which they circulated. These are curated from private collections.
This exhibit will speak to everyone – families, students, art lovers, and historians alike.
NeoRealismo: The New Image in Italy, 1932 – 1960
- September 27 – December 29, 2019
- Gallery Hours: Friday through Sunday, 12 to 5 PM
- Admission: Free of charge
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