I owe much of what is included in these pages to the encounters and
conversations with scholars and artists operating at the intersections
of theory, culture, politics, and aesthetics.
In this regard I extend my first note of gratitude to Marco Orlandi,
whose restoration of the Liberty Edicola (newsstand) in Casalmag-
giore, Italy, as well as his reflections on the ethical, political, and aes-
thetic dimensions of cultural preservation proved invaluable to my
own considerations. Not to be overlooked are the people of Casal-
maggiore themselves and, most notably, mayor Luciano Toscani,
Carlo Gardani, and the gracious sta√ of the Biblioteca Civica A. E.
Mortara—especially Sandra Furini and Vittorio Rizzi—for their re-
search expertise and their permission to reproduce some of the archi-
val material in these pages. I would also like to thank Luigi Briselli
for his technical know-how in providing reproductions of archival
photographs. Last but not least, I thank the friends at the Fuori
Porta (Cappella, CR) who cultivate a unique space of convivium and
As always, my writing and ideas are indebted to the critical inter-
ventions of friends who share my passion regarding the relationship
between aesthetics and politics. First among these is Bill Connolly,
whose generosity and intellectual creativity are a persistent source of
challenge, learning, and encouragement. I learn more than I can
process from the writings of Jacques Rancière, and to him I am
grateful for the time he regularly takes out of his busy schedule to
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