Lucius K. Wilmerding (that’s his name, for reals), President of New York City’s Union Club from 1920 to 1923. (Photo by C-M.)
The American Academy in Rome announced the winners of the 2008 Rome Prize at the Union Club (no denim, no sneakers) last week and C-Monster was there! I was so eager to attend the ceremony, in fact, that I fell flat on my face on Park Avenue just prior to my arrival, irrevocably screwing up my favorite pair of pink, polka-dotted tights and skinning at least two square inches off my left knee. Being the devout reporter I am, I sat through the ceremony nonetheless, which included an interesting lecture about contemporary archaeological practice by Brian Rose. The geek in me was absolutely riveted.
The big part of the evening, however, was the presentation of the nearly three dozen prize winners, along with a cursory description of each of their projects – all delivered in a lilting Italian accent. Bellissimo! Rome Prize fellows, just so you know, get to go hang out in Rome, where they can live, think, research, ponder and write – all on the Academy’s dime. Naturally, most of the winners are working on projects related to Italy-centric topics, with the Tiber River popping up as an especially popular subject. But there were a number of projects that jumped out at us:
- Cathy Lang Ho is going to be working on a paper about how new media outlets are challenging print publications in the world of architecture.
- Matthew Monteith, a Brooklyn photographer, will be undertaking a project in which he photographs people interacting with art in Rome.
- And covering a subject we’re particularly fascinated with here at C-Monster.net: Rosa Lowinger, an L.A. conservator, will be doing a report on the history of art vandalism. Hell yeah!
After the announcements were made, and a somewhat viscous scab of equal parts dried blood and Park Avenue asphalt had formed on my knee, we all retired to the Union Club’s atrium (under the steady gaze of Lucius K. Wilmerding) to air kiss and sip white wine and dip into a platter of crudité…
…with Ranch dressing.
Now, after all the we-love-Italy buildup during the ceremony, the food came as a bit of a disappointment – to say the least. I would have figured that this being the American Academy in Rome, they’d lay out a little mozzarella di bufala or some prosciutto di parma. Instead, we got celery sticks and Hidden Valley. C’mon guys, couldn’t you find someone to whip up a tray of Totino’s pizza rolls? Someone needs to have a sit-down with the folks in catering. As far as these things go, however, the ceremony wasn’t a bad time. Grazie mille for the vino. And next year, please have the Band-Aids waiting when I arrive.
Posted by C-Monster.