Rediscovering the Archive of Salvatore Meo

Project location: ITALY, Rome
Project start date: July 2010 - Project end date: July 2011
Project number: 2010-28
Beneficiary: Fondazione Salvatore Meo

The Foundation was created after the death in 2004 of artist and pioneer Salvatore Meo, in January 2006: it's aim is to conserve the artworks and archive of Meo's legacy, with the creation of a Studio Museum located next to the Trevi Fountain in Rome in Vicolo dello Scavolino, 61. The Foundation works to preserve and conserve the heritage of Salvatore Meo and continue its commitment to the exchange and interaction between the Italian and American contemporary art, inspired by Meo's work in the 1950's and his role in promoting artists such as Burri, Dorazio, Fontana and others of the "Gruppo Origine" for their first exhibitions in the USA. The Foundation is committed to increasing training and professional artists of Italian-Americans who want to develop their artistic and cultural interests. The Foundation is recognized by the Ministero dei Beni Culturali as a cultural landmark. A major publication on the artist was published by University of the Arts in Philadlephia, curated by Prof. Sid Sachs of the Rosenwald-Wolf gallery, UARTS as well as a retrospective exhibition and a parallel exhibition at the Pavel Zoubok Gallery in New York. Meo's work was featured at the Sculpture Center in New York for a performance piece by Italian artist Cesare Petroiusti in November 2008 entitled "Forgotten Sculptors". Finally, the major Italian artist Claudio Parmiggiani featured Meo together with artists such as Duchamp recognizes and values the contribution that the cultural associations make to achieve its aims.

The Salvatore Meo Foundation, in the person of Dr. Mara Valente (researcher), with the leadership of President Mary Angela Schroth and under the supervision of Professor Carla Subrizi (Professor of Contemporary Art History at the University of Rome 'La Sapienza '), sees an urgent need to continue its aim of rediscovering this artist's pioneer role in contemporary art. Especially important is a reevaluation of that period in Italian and American art history, previously misunderstood.
The Italian-American Meo, a native of Philadelphia, moved to Rome in 1949 on a Tiffany Grant. As stated above, his role in those years proved pivotal, forging an intensive exchange between Italian and American art. Meo was U.S. editor of the arts review by Emilio Villa Arti Visive, linked to the Gruppo Origine artists.
He created their first U.S. exhibit at the Creative Gallery in Philadelphia in 1953: Italian Contemporary Art (Afro, Balla, Burri, Cagli, D'Agostino, De Tomi Fazzini, Dorazio, Marasco, Marchegiani). Cy Twombly and Robert Rauchenberg visited Meo's studio in 1952, which proved a turning point for both artists. Meo, however, remained an outsider due to the extreme "poverty" of his assemblages and his difficult character.
The intent of this project is to revive the art and the person of Salvatore Meo through reorganization and inventory of his archive and vast legacy of works (numbering in the thousands, including works on paper), making them available to both art historians and the general public.

The activity of the project which received a grant from the Nando Peretti Foundation will focus on the following work plans:
• Digitization of archive papers and documents held by the Fondazione Salvatore Meo (correspondence, personal notes, photographs, contracts, brochures exhibitions, essays, press and critical articles).
• The scanned documents will be then sorted by categories and dating in order to have a detailed overview of the available material. Method technique: program Access, Fotoshop, and File Maker (Microsoft)
• Scientific Inventory of artworks works by Meo and other artists in the collection of the Salvatore Meo Foundation: program Access (Microsoft)
• Complete cataloging of artworks including dates, technique, condition report, dimensions, signature and title: program Access (Microsoft)
• Publication in CD Rom of the entire Archive, to be made available.

The organization of inventory of the works and archive is a substantial step toward the rediscovery of the artist Meo, especially in light of the future opening of his studio as a "Studio Museum", the only example in Rome of this period.
The expected results will show are primarily targeted to attract a wider audience of art historians, critics, but also of non-specialized, simple art lovers. Surely, being an artist Meo also known in America will inevitably resonate overseas, amplified by the work of gallery owner in New York that deals with his works, Pavel Zoubock, director Pavel Zoubock Gallery.

think global, act local
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