As a literary genre, the ‘giallo’ first appeared in Italy in the years prior to World War II courtesy of the Mondadori publishing company. What began as simple Italian translations of popular English-language crime and mystery novels were made distinct with gloriously lurid cover artwork on a bright yellow background. When film adaptations followed, the rest of the world began calling them by their Italian name, ‘giallo’ meaning, you guessed it, yellow. Though Mario Bava’s orgasmically colorful 1965 murder-mystery “Blood and Black Lace” wasn’t the first film of the genre, it laid the foundation for the form: a chic setting, gorgeous victims and a black-clad (preferably in leather) killer. Five years later when young filmmaker Dario Argento unleashed his worldwide smash “The Bird with the Crystal Plumage” American audiences got their first taste of yellow blood. While the cultural penetration of Giallo aesthetics might seem subtle to the casual observer, the impact on subsequent artists working in all mediums – including film, music, literature and fine art – is undeniable and appreciation of their contribution continues. In 2016, composer Ennio Morricone, known for scoring countless Giallo films, won an Academy Award for his work on Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight” and a remake of Argento’s 1977 masterpiece “Suspiria” is currently in pre-production.
For the exhibition “My Blood Runs Yellow: A Tribute to Giallos” co-curators Alix Sloan and Drew Fitzpatrick have hand-picked a select group of thirteen extraordinary fine artists – Aaron Smith, Barnaby Whitfield, Eric Finzi, Jaclyn Dooner, Jean-Pierre Roy, Jessicka Addams, John Jacobsmeyer, Jonathan Viner, Kristen Schiele, Marco Mazzoni, Owen Smith, Peter Drake, and Valerie Pobjoy – to present work influenced by the genre.
With a background in film journalism, co-curator Drew Fitzpatrick has written for Video Watchdog, Cinefantastique and Ain’t it Cool News. He brings his unique vision and in-depth knowledge of all things Giallo to the project. Giallo fan Alix Sloan is the owner and director of Sloan Fine Art, one of the founding contemporary galleries of New York City’s Lower East Side arts district and a pioneer of the now popular nomadic gallery format. The curators are grateful to Project Gallery for the use of their space.