The myth of Italian culture in Hollywood on display in Florence

From May 24, 2018 to March 10, 2019, the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum in Florence will host the exhibition “Italy in Hollywood,” which, through the autobiographical memoirs of Salvatore Ferragamo, investigates the phenomenon of migration and the influence exerted by Italian myth and culture in California in the early 20th century.
The exhibition, in fact, will cover the period, from 1915 to 1927, when Ferragamo lived in Santa Barbara, California. During this period the designer collaborated with the most famous directors of the time, such as David Wark Griffith and Cecil B. DeMille. These were also the years of the opening of the HollywoodBoot Shop, the store on Hollywood Boulevard frequented by stars such as Mary Pickford, Pola Negri, Charlie Chaplin, Joan Crawford, Lillian Gish and Rodolfo Valentino.
Thanks to the set design by Maurizio Balò, the path winds through the rooms focusing on the world of art, craftsmanship and entertainment, privileged areas of interest in Ferragamo’s creativity, all developed like the plot of a film.
The exhibition will catapult visitors onto a movie set in the years when Italian silent films supplied Hollywood with potential stars such as Lido Manetti, Tina Modotti, Frank Puglia, and Lina Cavalieri, the latter featured in the exhibition through forty of the three hundred famous portraits Pietro Fornasetti made of her on ceramic plates. Other young Italians, such as Rodolfo Valentino, impose themselves with their personal charm, giving rise to modern stardom.
The theme of silent films is also explored with a contemporary eye, thanks to the project Two young Italians in Hollywood, with Manfredi Gioacchini and Yuri Ancarani, two young artists working in Los Angeles, called upon to create a photographic series and a video installation. The exhibition also aims to clarify the contradictory evaluation of Italian Americans by the Wasp-White Anglo-Saxon Protestant culture, torn between the positive consideration of the tricolor tradition and the negative criticism of some aspects that characterized the stereotype of the Italian, such as instinctiveness, passionality or sentimentalism.
The tour concludes with a faithful reconstruction of the store that Salvatore Ferragamo opened in 1923 in Hollywwod.
The exhibition is curated by Giuliana Muscio and exhibition space director Stefania Ricci.

The myth of Italian culture in Hollywood on display in Florence
The myth of Italian culture in Hollywood on display in Florence

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