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Ricci’s "Operation Columbus" Ricci, 45, is now striking out


Ricci’s "Operation Columbus"
Ricci, 45, is now striking out on perhaps his boldest venture yet. He plans to market an English - language edition of his elegant monthly art magazine, FMR, in the United States. Once again the skeptics are murmuring that the successful Ricci has headed for a big fall. And once again Ricci intends to prove them wrong.
Ricci is so confident that he has christened his quest "Operation Columbus" and has set his sights on discovering an American readership of 300,000. That goal may not be too far -fetched. The Italian edition of FMR -- the initials, of course, stand for Franco Maria Ricci -- is only 18 months old. But it is already the second largest art magazine in the world, with a circulation of 65,000 and a profit margin of US’ 500, 000. The American edition will be patterned after the Italian version, with each 160 -page issue carrying only 40 pages of ads and no more than five articles. But the contents will often differ. The English - language edition will include more American works, Ricci says, to help Americans get over "an inferiority complex about their art. " He also hopes that the magazine wilt become a vehicle for a two - way cultural exchange -- what he likes to think of as a marriage of brains, culture and taste from both sides of the Atlantic.
To realize this vision, Ricci is mounting one of the most lavish, enterprising -- and expensive -- promotional campaigns in magazine - publishing history. Between November and January, eight jumbo jets will fly 8 million copies of a sample 16 - page edition of FMR across the Atlantic. From a warehouse in Michigan, 6.5 million copies will be mailed to American subscribers of various cultural, art and business magazines. Some of the remaining copies will circulate as a special Sunday supplement in the New York Times. The cost of launching Operation Columbus is a staggering US’ 5 million, but Ricci is hoping that 60% of the price tag will be financed by Italian corporations. "To land in America Columbus had to use Spanish sponsors," reads one sentence in his promotional pamphlet. "We would like Italians. "
Like Columbus, Ricci cannot know what his reception will be on foreign shores. In Italy he gambled -- and won -- on a simple concept: it is more important to show art than to write about it. Hence, one issue of FMR might feature 32 full- color pages of 17th -century tapestries, followed by 14 pages of outrageous eyeglasses. He is gambling that the concept is exportable. "I don’t expect that more than 30% of my readers ... will actually read FMR," he says. "The magazine is such a visual delight that they don’t have to. " Still, he is lining up an impressive stable of writers and professors for the American edition, including Noam Chomsky, Anthony Burgess, Eric Jong and Norman Mailer. In addition, he seems to be pursuing his own eclectic vision without giving a moment’s thought to such established competitors as Connoisseur and Horizon. "The Americans can do almost everything better than we can," says Ricci, "But we (the Italians) have a 2,000 year edge on them in art. \
Ricci intends his American edition of FMR to carry more American art works in order to ______.

A.boost Americans’ confidence in their art
B.follow the pattern set by his Italian edition
C.help Italians understand American art better
D.expand the readership of his magazine


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