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New Life for Depero Futurista, The Bolted Book

The Center for Italian Modern Art launches a Kickstarter campaign to publish a facsimile edition

by Heather Ewing
depero futurista bolted book

Fortunato Depero's Bolted Book: Depero Futurista (Dinamo-Azari, Milan, Italy, 1927), artist's book bound with bolts, 32 x 24.2 cm. © 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SIAE Rome. Photo by Jason Burch

CIMA brings new life to the 1927 book, Depero Futurista, known familiarly as The Bolted Book, because of its unique binding: two industrial aluminum bolts. Created by the Italian Futurist artist as a portfolio, the book is a landmark of graphic design and avant-garde esthetics.

The Center for Italian Modern Art is excited to launch its fourth season, devoted to Giorgio de Chirico and Giulio Paolini, opening in mid-October. Our new Fall Fellows have arrived and settled in; Maria Bremer, a PhD candidate from the Frei Universitaet in Berlin, and Giovanni Casini, a PhD candidate from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, England, will soon be contributing their impressions of New York for this column.

In the meantime, we are working on a special project to bring new life to the 1927 book, Depero Futurista, a landmark of graphic design and avant-garde bookmaking, created by the Italian Futurist Fortunato Depero (1892-1960).

When CIMA’s inaugural exhibition on Fortunato Depero opened to the public in February 2014, we devoted one room to Depero Futurista, showcasing each page. The book is known familiarly as The Bolted Book, because of its unique binding: two industrial aluminum bolts. Depero Futurista celebrates its 90th birthday next year, but this book remains remarkably fresh, modern, and relevant today. Filled with typographic experimentation, it also serves as a portfolio showcase of Depero’s career and includes his exhortation to fellow artists to embrace self-promotion and the modern art of advertising.

depero futurista bolted book

View of Depero Futurista at the Center for Italian Modern Art, 2014. Photo by Walter Smalling Jr.

CIMA is pleased to be partnering with Designers & Books and the MART, Museum of modern and contemporary art of Trento and Rovereto, Italy (which houses Depero’s archives), to bring this book and Depero’s life and work to a wider audience. We have prepared a new website, to showcase this extraordinary book, with all 240 pages featured in detail, and a special section devoted to annotating some of the features of the pages and translating various passages, as well as providing background information about Depero’s work.

depero futurista bolted book

Page from Depero Futurista (Dinamo-Azari, Milan, Italy, 1927). © 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / Photo: courtesy, SIAE Rome

depero futurista bolted book

Page from Depero Futurista (Dinamo-Azari, Milan, Italy, 1927). © 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: courtesy, SIAE Rome.

This new Depero Futurista will be published with the help of a Kickstarter campaign that will go live on Tuesday, October 18. This new facsimile edition, which will faithfully mimic the variety of different papers used in the original, will be the first time that an exact copy of the book has ever been issued. It will be accompanied by a reader’s guide, which will feature essays by leading scholars, unpublished materials from the Depero archive at The Mart museum in Italy, and select translations of some pages from the book.

Join us on November 3 for a chance to see an original copy of this stunning and rare book. CIMA is hosting a public program exploring the history of Depero Futurista, featuring former CIMA Fellow Raffaele Bedarida and CIMA Founder-President Laura Mattioli, whose father Gianni Mattioli was one of Depero’s principal patron and a crucial aide in the creation and distribution of the original book.

Watch CIMA 2013-14 Fellow Raffaele Bedarida discuss The Bolted Book:


The author: Heather Ewing is the Executive Director at the Center for Italian Modern Art.

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