The Department of Italian at UCLA and the Italian Cultural Institute of Los Angeles will host Burri Prometheia, a symposium to examine the heritage and history surrounding “Grande Nero Cretto,” (Large Black Crack), the largest work sculptor Alberto Burri (1915-1995) ever created outside of Italy. The symposium, which will include film screenings, a musical performance and a multimedial installation, will mark the 40th anniversary of its gifting to UCLA and its placement in the Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden.
Located in front of Melnitz Theater on the far north side of the sculpture garden, Burri's work is a wall that measures 49 feet by 16 feet. It's composed of 700 pieces of fired ceramic that was transported from the artist’s home town, Cittá do Castello and assembled at the sculpture garden. It represents an uncanny fusion of the visual arts and architecture at the heart of the campus. In 1977, Burri chose to give it to UCLA to commemorate the inauguration of his American traveling exhibition at the university.
Last year, in the most extensive retrospective ever dedicated to a single artist, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum reaffirmed the critical role that Burri played in the arts of the second half of the 20th century — a radical forerunner of New Dada, Nouveau Réalisme, Postminimalism and Arte Povera.
The symposium, set for Jan 9 and 10 at Royce Hall and the Italian Cultural Institute in Los Angeles, will also include a musical performance by John Densmore of The Doors, with readings of Villa by Thomas Harrison, professor and chair of the UCLA Department of Italian, and poet Paul Vangelisti. The event will be held in the sculpture garden.