December 9, 2022
10:00 AM – 06:30 PM
Keynote speaker: Prof. Pierpaolo Antonello, Cambridge University
The exhibition Bruno Munari: The Child Within, curated by Steven Guarnaccia and on view in New York at the Center for Italian Modern Art (CIMA) from October 6, 2022 to January 14, 2023, focuses on Munari’s illustrated children’s books. These books expressed, in an accessible form, Munari’s wide-ranging ideas about the possibilities that art offered to communicate visually. Together with artworks, design objects, photographs and toys, the exhibition provides countless perspectives through which to examine Munari’s approach to art, design, and pedagogy.
With this Bruno Munari Study Day, CIMA’s Research Fellows join prominent scholars from diverse fields—including History of Art and Architecture, Italian Studies, History of Design, Education, Children’s Literature—to investigate the themes at the center of the exhibition within and outside of established critical frameworks.
The conference will take place in person at the Center for Italian Modern Art. Besides the keynote address and two scholarly panels, a group of designers and design historians will also gather for a special roundtable session dedicated to a direct analysis of some of the books and objects in the exhibition, a “return to primary sources” that will provide a firsthand opportunity to inspect the innovations at play in Munari’s work.
10AM: Conference registration and viewing of the exhibition Bruno Munari: The Child Within, curated by Steven Guarnaccia.
11AM: Panel 1 – Bruno Munari and the Visual Arts
Maria Antonella Pelizzari (Hunter College and CUNY Graduate Center), “CONFABULATIONS: Munari’s Photographic Alphabet”
David Reinfurt (Princeton University), “… meet the Tetracono”
Luca Zaffarano (curator and independent scholar), “Travelling with Bruno Munari”
Giulia Zompa (CIMA Research Fellow), “The American Munari between Art, Publishing, and Design”
Followed by discussion
12:30-1:30PM: Lunch Break
1:30PM: Panel 2 – In Munari’s Words: Education, Design and Publishing
Margaret Scarborough (CIMA Resarch Fellow), “The Cages of Bruno Munari: Fantasies of Freedom and Constraint”
Nicola Lucchi (Center for Italian Modern Art), “Bruno Munari, or the Art of the Side Gig”
Paloma Diaz-Dickson (illustrator, Maryland Institute College of Art), “Redefining Children’s Books One Page at a Time: The Work of Bruno Munari and Květa Pacovská”
Followed by discussion
3PM: Panel 3: Roundtable discussion on Munari’s select books and games
Moderator: Kimberlie Birks (independent scholar, design writer)
Discussants: Nicola Cipani (New York University), Paloma Diaz-Dickson (illustrator, Maryland Institute College of Art), Isabel Roxas (storyteller and graphic artist)
5:30PM Keynote address
Pierpaolo Antonello (Cambridge University), “Open Works: Bruno Munari’s Interactive Design in an Analog World”
Public programming at CIMA is made possible with the generous support of Tiro a Segno Foundation