Art to the MAXXI

Things to Do, What's New — By Erica Firpo on May 27, 2010 at 2:23 pm

On Sunday, May 30th, Rome’s Museum for Art of the XXst century, MAXXI, finally opens its doors after ten years of construction and debate.  Much ado has been said about Rome’s newest and most cutting edge building designed by cracker jack architect Zaha Hadid, whose cement wave will undoubtedly bring floods of visitors to the Rome’s Flaminio neighborhood just to bask in its curvy shadows–  but what about what’s hanging on it’s walls?

The MAXXI’s collection focuses on art of the twenty-first century with acquisitions created approximately around 2000, and slightly before, as their collecting “Year Zero”.  Italian artists, born in the 1960s and 70s, dominate the installation space, showing off home grown contemporary masterpieces from painting and sculpture to video and installation.   MAXXI’s collection could be considered an in-depth lesson in what Italian contemporary artists are doing au courrant, but thankfully, it is not only relegated to Italian art work- far from it.  As the museum of the 21st century,  MAXXI has a strong representation of international artists.  Mario Merz‘s transparent Triplo Igloo (a glass igloo) and Anish Kapoor‘s Widow, a colossal black stretched-out tube are resident favorites with pieces by Michelangelo Pistoletto, Alghiero Boetti, Francesco Vezzoli, Anselm Kiefer, Ed Ruscha, Rosemary Trockel, Tony Oursler, among others.  Paintings, sculpture, photos, video and installations wind in and around Hadid’s three-level gallery space which is ostentatiously relaxing and surprisingly not overwhelming.  In fact, the top-level gallery is more like a 21st century precipice cum meditation room.

For museum hounds, the MAXXI is a 21st century triple threat. The collection is an interaction between art, architecture and activity, easily promoting MAXXI’s objective of “contemporary creativity”.  As Italy’s first museum dedicated to architecture as well as art,  the MAXXI devotes part of its collection to modern and contemporary architecture – showing retrospective temporary exhibitions and debates on current and ongoing themes in architecture.   MAXXI has created one of the first international modern/contemporary architecture archives, along with research laboratory and photo archive.  Howard Roark, eat your heart out.


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