Press Release: Vanitas: Photographs by Anna Vivante on View at Graduate Center

From September 24 to October 27, the CUNY Graduate Center will present Anna Vivante: Vanitas in the Exhibition Hallway.  Featuring 46 black and white photographs, Vanitas is an ongoing series of images which juxtapose human and animal skulls with living organisms and objects, whose intriguing formal affinities invite prolonged contemplation.  Located on the first floor of the Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue at 34th Street, the exhibition can be viewed Monday through Saturday, 12-6 pm.

As an archaeologist, trained at the University of Rome, Vivante initially acquired her photographic skills in conjunction with her practical experiences as Supervisor of Excavations in Turkey and Syria.  She quickly developed an intense interest in the medium, which she has pursued over the past fifteen years.  Not surprisingly, she was and still is attracted to ancient sculpture.  Drawn to the challenges posed by black and white photography, Vivante often eschews conventional representations of such well-known subjects as The Laocoön or Belvedere Torso, preferring to focus on details which imbue them with an almost abstract character. Since 2004, she has concentrated on the Vanitas.  The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue with an essay by Françoise Heilbrun.

The Graduate Center is the doctorate-granting institution of the City University of New York (CUNY). An internationally recognized center for advanced studies and a national model for public doctoral education, the school offers more than thirty doctoral programs, as well as a number of master’s programs. Many of its faculty members are among the world’s leading scholars in their respective fields, and its alumni hold major positions in industry and government, as well as in academia. The Graduate Center is also home to twenty-nine interdisciplinary research centers and institutes focused on areas of compelling social, civic, cultural, and scientific concerns.  Located in a landmark Fifth Avenue building, the Graduate Center has become a vital part of New York City’s intellectual and cultural life with its extensive array of public lectures, exhibitions, concerts, and theatrical events.  Further information on the Graduate Center and its programs can be found at

Submitted on: SEP 1, 2007

Category: Press Room