Matt Genovese is a twenty-four year old artist born and raised in the suburbs of Northern New Jersey. He has received his Photography Technology, Associate in Applied Science Degree at County College of Morris, New Jersey. His work was recently featured in the “SVA Mentors” exhibition at the School of Visual Arts Gallery in Chelsea, New York. He currently resides in New York City where he is studying towards a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Photography and Video at the School of Visual Arts.
Capo Dei Capi
Growing up with the last name “Genovese”, during a time where the Italian mob was romanticized, formed my perception of what it is to be an Italian-American. This project looks at the family dynamic, specifically the hierarchy of power within the family structure. Growing up in an Italian-American family we had it all; the loud family, the grandma who did all the cooking, the cousins Tony and Paulie, and the wooden spoon that was used for more than just cooking. During all of the family parties, the men congregated in the living room while the women were in the kitchen. The men were dressed in suits and masculinity was oozing everywhere. Being in this sort of in-between space allowed me to observe the polarizing roles of gender within my family.
Masculinity is passed down from previous generations in my family, and I am also interested in the way pride in being Italian is inherited from the generations before me. Violence is embedded in Italian masculinity. With knowing the weight of my last name, and the history of the families like this in this region has had an impact on my everyday life. In making the work, I am focusing on creating a fictional narrative representing an organized crime. “Capo Dei Capi” is an ongoing look at masculinity, violence, family dynamic, and inherited pride in Italian-American culture.
To view more of Matt Genovese’s work please visit his website.