Roma | New York 1948-1964
The Murray and Isabella Rayburn Foundation
Before | After
(Silvana Editoriale, 2019)
The two-volume set Roma / New York 1948-1964 and Before/ Murray and Isabella Rayburn Foundation /After is a comprehensive account of the artistic and cultural exchanges between Rome and New York in the years 1948-2018 of the Murray and Isabella Rayburn Foundation.
Authored by Germano Celant, Roma / New York 1948-1964 first appeared in 1993 to accompany the exhibition of the same title curated by Celant at the Murray and Isabella Rayburn Foundation in New York. It focuses on the Italian-American relationship in the field of modern and contemporary art in the period after the Second World War tracing artistic exchanges between the leading artists of the time, from Afro to Willem de Kooning, Alberto Burri to Robert Rauschenberg and Toti Scialoja to Cy Twombly. Based on mutual discovery, the artistic dialogue between Rome and New York had a profound impact on a whole generation of American and Italian artists.
The second volume, Before/ Murray and Isabella Rayburn Foundation /After, edited by Celant, was published this year by Silvana Editoriale in Milan and traces the history of the Murray and Isabella Rayburn Foundation, established in New York in 1982 to promote Italian art in the United States. Beginning with an interview with the president of the Foundation - Isabella Rayburn, Celant discusses the role of the foundation, its mission and history as well as the extraordinary life and career of Isabella Rayburn and her dedication to the promotion of Italian art in New York. The conversation, led by Celant, goes back to Rayburn’s beginnings in Rome and her involvement with the art scene of the late 60s at the gallery and the publishing house Editalia, renowned for its magazine QUI arte contemporanea, that supported artists of the post-Informel Art generation such as Alberto Burri, Leoncillo and Afro. The dialogue follows Rayburn to New York where she enters the art world befriending gallerists such as Leo Castelli, Barbara Gladstone, Annina Nosei, Ileana Sonnabend and Angela Westwater and where, in 1982, she marries Murray Rayburn– the founder of the Murray and Isabella Rayburn Foundation.
The current two-volume set was first released in May of this year and will be widely available by the Spring of 2020. It creates a key historical record of the artistic dialogue between Italy and the United States and provides an important point of reference for studies of the relationship between Italian and American Art, promising to renew inquiries into this fascinating exchange.