Italian Futurism, Degenerate Art, and a Nice Pair of Sandals

Published June 17, 2014 by Sandee



Italian Futurism! How appropriately displayed at the Guggenheim — modernistic, glorified violence, war, speed, technology! Zoom! And the dismissal of women with the exception of Marinetti’s wife, and a couple of others.

As someone who appreciates words, I wondered what that “Words-in-Freedom” film there was about. It said on the wall that these words helped disseminate their manifesto projectile style. No adjectives — just verbs – exclamations! The film uses imagery with audio rendering rhythmic Italian exclamations: Sento e nom vedo – vampe vampe vampe! Zang! Alla, faccia, vostra, sputi, pernacchi!

From the top tier of the Guggenheim, I looked all the way down to the first floor, and imagined diving into the futuristic abyss, head first into the fountain — the ultimate performance art piece – “Conosuoooooooooooooooooono!!!”

Instead, I went to the Neue Galerie next to see “degenerate art,” but the damn place is closed on Tuesdays. So I bought shoes – I wonder what kinds of jobs these nationalistic/fascist-minded people expected people to do in their society. Maybe there’d just be race car drivers, rapists, and scientists? I mean, what? It was a really good exhibit though.

23 comments on “Italian Futurism, Degenerate Art, and a Nice Pair of Sandals

    • I love that part — the whole time in the museum I’m hearing it — so I imagined hearing it as I swan dived from the 6th floor down to the bottom — just like the image of one of the figures in a futurism painting!

  • I was never a fan of the futurists.

    I saw a huge Degenerate Art exhibit at LACMA in the early 90s, which is where I discovered artists like Dix and Grosz, both of whom I admire. Awesome stuff if you can get in to see it.

    • You know after while all that stuff started to look the same — but I did like it — about their philosophy — another story — hahaha! — I get it though.

      I’m glad you recommend it, Mary. Next week Monday, I’ll get to the Neue to see it hopefully. It was so damned hot here, I didn’t need to be out that long anyways.

  • It was an interesting exhibition. I was up in LI for the weekend and we spent a day in the city. I insisted on seeing the Guggeheim, as I had never been. That being said, I think I have had my life’s allotment of Italian Futurism 😛

    • I must say it really is good to see in person. I really enjoyed it. I never read so much at an exhibit before. I think I read every thing they had about Italian Futurism there is — printed on the walls of every level. It was really interesting to learn about it.

    • “What kind of a degenerate…” — my exact words! But my shoes, naw, yeah — hey I wonder — shoes for that period probably have pipes with fire coming out that propel you forward!

  • Hi Sandee. Thanks for the trip to the museum… I didn’t understand your Italian at all but it was great to be immersed in your experience. I’m trying hard not to be prejudiced against Italians, you know because I also have a quarter Italian in me… which was emphasized growing up but never really qualified in any way…It was only ever the olive color in my skin that comes out when I get sun exposure I can relate to, right? Well that and Di Vinci. I humor myself about that relationship…because I’m like a down to earth snob if that’s possible. So… this particular speed and technology exhibit you shared made me think of the fascist dictator Mussolini as related to Hitler who was on Meth… and then I thought of the womanizing Sopranos series which I guess I’m the only person in America who hated that series… and then I thought of former womanizing prime minister Berlusconi who corrupted the government in his country essentially… and… yikes! There I am taking an imaginary nose dive after you, through the center of a giant Coffee Filter! I can’t wait for your next art museum excursion! I’m glad you got shoes. That always makes my day better!

  • Hey, I’ve had a little bit of Italian “in me” as well — haw haw! But seriously folks, yeah, the exhibit was really educational and you did get to see the relationship of these Italian futurists to the fascists in Germany. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, I must say, and topping it all off with shoes — perfecto!

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