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Venice: Collections, Architecture, and Cinema

Venice: Collections, Architecture, and Cinema

June 20 - July 11, 2016

(Registration Deadline: February 1, 2016)

Collections in Venice and Environs examines traditional and innovative contemporary curatorial practices through both collecting and non-collecting institutions in Venice. Students and faculty will conduct a series of case studies with multiple site visits to the Galleria dell'Accademia, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, the two sites of the François Pinault Foundation (Punto della Dogana and Palazzo Grassi), Prada Foundation, Museo Correr, Mario Fortuny Museum, Ca' D'oro, Arzanà (historical boat preservation society), Biblioteca Marciana, Ca' Pesaro, Museo di Palazzo Mocenigo, Fondaco dei Turchi/Museum of Natural History, Museo d'Arte Erotica, Querini-Stampali Library and Museum, and Ca' Rezzonico. They will also visit several installations of the 2016 Venice Biennale of Architecture. In exploring the unique histories of specific collections, such as the Peggy Guggenheim and the Fortuny, we will consider their impact on not only the history of display but also the history of art writ large. The course includes art-historical and critical readings as well as lectures/discussions that occur both in the classroom and during field trips.

Italian Cinema in Venice, Then and Now surveys the history of Italian cinema in Venice with particular attention to films set in and about Venice as well as important film and video projects produced for events hosted in the city. We will begin by considering the transformation of the Venice Biennale under fascism to include cinema in 1932, and trace the history of the role of Venice in the ever-expanding contemporary festival circuit. In so doing, we will review a number of key moments in Italian cinema from the invention of the medium to the present, including such genres as "white telephone" and historical dramas produced under fascism, neorealism, the new Italian Comedy, and more. We will screen and analyze films and excerpts by historical figures such as Giovanni Pastrone, Carmine Gallone, Luchino Visconti, Roberto Rossellini, Vittorio De Sica, Federico Fellini, Bernardo Bertolucci, Ettore Scola, Pier Paolo Pasoloni, Gianni Amelio, Mario Martino, Nanni Moretti, Paolo Sorrentino, and the Taviani brothers. In addition to a survey of Italian film, this course will also consider a selection of contemporary screen-based works produced about and for Venice, such as Ming Wong's recent (2010) take on Visconti's Death in Venice. Course readings will include interviews with filmmakers, film theory, and secondary literature. Aside from preparing for class discussions, assignments include screenings, two short film analyses, two film reviews, an in-class presentation, and a longer research project. Students interested in studio credit may substitute a short film or video project related to themes covered in the class and using the city as a laboratory for investigation.

NOTE: Students can opt for taking this program for 3 credits in Art History or (for an additional $1,590) 6 total credits in Art History OR 3 credits in Art History + 3 credits in Film and Video.


Jennie Hirsh has taught modern and contemporary art history at MICA since 2007 and also currently directs the MA in Critical Studies. She is co-editor of Contemporary Art and Classical Myth (2011) and has published numerous essays on Italian art, architecture, and cinema.

Monica Amor holds a Ph.D. from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She has written for Art Margins, Artforum, Art Nexus, Grey Room, October, Third Text, and Trans. Her book Theories of the Non-object: Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela 1944-1969 is forthcoming from the University of California Press.

Nadia Hironaka received her MFA from The Art Institute of Chicago and her BFA from The University of the Arts.  She chairs the Film and Video department at MICA. In 2015, she won a Guggenheim Fellowship for exceptional creative ability in the arts.

Program Fees

  • $6,500 (does not include international airfare) includes 3 credits in Art History. $7,790-8,290 (plus international airfare) includes 6 credits in Art History OR 3 credits in Art History + 3 credits in Film and Video.
  • Graduate credit is available to qualified students for $85 per credit above the base fee (contact program coordinator below).


Contact program director Jennie Hirsh at

Open to undergraduate and graduate students in all majors--18 years or older with a valid passport--who have completed at least one year of college. For all programs, credits can be applied to Studio Elective. For more information, or to inquire about scholarships, contact the School for Professional and Continuing Studies at or 410-225-2219.