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Folk Art/Vernacular Architecture/Cultural Landscapes

Folk Art/Vernacular Architecture/Cultural Landscapes


October 17, 2012

The Decorated Flowerpots of Brooklyn

Joseph Sciorra
Joseph Sciorra
Decorated planter, 1601 81st Street, Dyker Heights, Brooklyn, 2012.

Looking (again) at a little known Italian-American folk art.

February 13, 2013

Visiting Italian-American Ranchers in the West

Joseph Sciorra
Joseph Sciorra
Tomera Ranch, Elko county, Nevada, 2013.

Italian-American folklife.

May 24, 2013

Flatlands Flowerpot Find

Joseph Sciorra
Joseph Sciorra
1293 and 1297 East 52nd Street, off Avenue J, Flatlands, Brooklyn.

More on the continuing saga of the mysterious planters.

June 14, 2013

Variations on a Theme

Joseph Sciorra
Joseph Sciorra
Decorated planter, 1471 East 31st Street, Flatlands, Brooklyn.

Pattern in the Material Folk Culture of Brooklyn’s Decorated Planters

June 20, 2013

Mosaic Flowerpots on Film

Joseph Sciorra
Decorated flowerpots from the 1971 film "The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight."

A 1971 movie reveals the mother lode of Brooklyn planters.

June 23, 2013

Mapping Flowerpots

Joseph Sciorra

Pinpointing a New York City folk art.

February 2, 2013

Representing Cowboy Life, Italian/American Style

Joseph Sciorra
Chris Moran/Nevada Commission on Tourism

The exhibition “Italian Buckaroos: Old World & New World”

February 21, 2011

Craftsmanship Documented

Joseph Sciorra
The Metropolitan Musuem of Art
Mandolins (detail), New York, circa 1900, crafted by Angelo Mannello (1858-1922).

Italian Americans at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

May 5, 2011

Talking Folklore

Joseph Sciorra

Over the next several months, I will be presenting the book Italian Folk in venues throughout the New York metropolitan area.

October 19, 2011

A Ph.D. in Basket Weaving

Joseph Sciorra
Folklorist Joseph Sciorra, Ph.D. (University of Pennsylvania, 1996), holding Italian-American immigrant Vincenzo Ancona’s Sicilian-style basket made in Castellammare del Golfo (Trapani), Sicily in 1985.

Italian-American anti-intellectualism rears its ugly little head again.

February 23, 2010

Ricordando Vincenzo Ancona

Joseph Sciorra
Martha Cooper
Vincenzo Ancona, Castel del Golfo Social Club, Brooklyn, 1987.

Poet, visual artist, raconteur, singer, immigrant laborer, friend.

March 23, 2010

Visiting 15th Century Italy with my 15-Year-Old Son

Joseph Sciorra

Gaming lessons from the Boot.

May 31, 2010

Building Community, the Brooklyn Way

Joseph Sciorra
Joseph Sciorra
KAVES, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, April 14, 2010.

Meet KAVES, band leader, tattoo artist, community activist.

December 22, 2008

An Epic of Mediterranean Culture

Joseph Sciorra
Joe Milone and his Exhibited Shoe Shine Stand, 1942.

Sixty-six years ago, the Museum of Modern Art exhibited a Sicilian-American bootblack’s decorated shoeshine kit, contributing to the museum director’s eventual dismissal.

September 28, 2008

Backyard Figs from Brooklyn

Joseph Sciorra
Joseph Sciorra

In which this blogger says nothing more profound than he really, really likes figs.

December 24, 2007

Gramsci’s Presepio

Joseph Sciorra
Joseph Sciorra
Underground Nativity, 2007.

The domestic presepio, an example of living folklore.

August 28, 2008

Lace in the Crystal City

Joseph Sciorra
Joseph Sciorra
The exhibition “Lace, the Spaces Between,” Corning, New York.

An exhibition presents women’s domestic needlework in Corning, New York.

May 26, 2008

The Garden of Earthly Delights in Fresno

Joseph Sciorra
Joseph Sciorra
Baldassare Forestiere's "Underground Gardens," Fresno, 2008.

A Brief Visit to California’s Subterranean Marvel, Baldassare Forestiere’s “Underground Gardens.”

May 1, 2008

Holy Land USA, a Religious Vision in Ruins

Joseph Sciorra
Joseph Sciorra
Holy Land USA, Waterbury, CT, 2005.

During the 1960s and 1970s, 40,000 people visited Waterbury, CT annually to pray at Holy Land USA, a Catholic theme park created by John Greco. Now it lies in ruins.

March 29, 2008

Gino Vitale, Brooklyn developer and shrine builder.

Joseph Sciorra
Joseph Sciorra
Gino Vitale, with one of his Red Hook shrine buildings in the background, March 24, 2008.

Brooklyn developer Gino Vitale adapts the centuries old edicole sacre (devotional shrines) to his newly constructed buildings.

March 19, 2008

St. Joseph's Altar, Barese Style

Joseph Sciorra
Joseph Sciorra
Antonietta Vitucci's St. Joseph's altar, March 18, 2008.

Celebrating St. Joseph in Brooklyn and some thoughts on lived religion.

March 9, 2015

Andrea Cuomo, Immigrant Pebble Artisan

Joseph Sciorra
A still from "Castle," Governor Andrew Cuomo's 2014 election campaign ad.

My on-going research on the Italian-American art of pebble decoration leads me to the father and grandfather of two New York State governors.

October 23, 2015

Innovation in Tradition: The Columbus Day Giglio Party

Joseph Sciorra
Joseph Sciorra
Dancing the giglio on Lorimer Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, October 12, 2015.

Italian Americans are active agents in the re-imagining and recreation of Italian-American culture.

November 19, 2015

Giovanni Crozzoli, Immigrant Tower Builder

Joseph Sciorra
Joseph Sciorra
Detail of Giovanni Crozzoli's tower with creator's name and birth year.

On encountering the creative work of immigrant mason Giovanni Crozzoli of College Point, Queens.

August 24, 2016

Discovering the Black Madonna Right Before My Very Eyes

Joseph Sciorra
Joseph Sciorra
Phoenix Bar, 447 East 13th Street, Manhattan

Learning something new about the historical devotion to the Madonna Nera del Tindari in Manhattan’s East Village.