Ciao MAXXI! Contemporary Art Museum Opens in Italy

National Museum of the XXI Century Arts, MAXXI, contemporary art

ROME, ITALY — The vision most of us see when we think of a museum in Italy is a Renaissance or Baroque-style palace or cathedral, a Medici-commissioned structure, with classical columns, frescoes on the ceiling and gilding as far as the eye can see. The National Museum of the XXI Century Arts (or MAXXI for short) opening Saturday in Rome hopes to change that perception.

The MAXXI, a $223 million museum built in a residential area of the city, was created to promote 21st century art and architecture. The museum's collection includes works by contemporary artists like Ed Ruscha, Anish Kapoor, William Kentridge, Gerard Richter and Andy Warhol. The building is located on a 312,000 square foot campus which includes an auditorium, library, media library, study rooms, laboratories, a bookshop, cafe and spaces for live events and commercial activities.

"The walls of the MAXXI create major streams and minor streams," explained Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid, who designed the modern museum. "The major streams are the galleries and the minor streams are the connections and the bridges." Hadid was the first woman to win the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize (2004) and her other designs include the Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art in Cincinnati, Ohio (1998) and the BMW Central Building in Leipzig, Germany (2005). "I see MAXXI as an immersive urban environment for the exchange of ideas, feeding the cultural vitality of the city," she said.

This weekend, the MAXXI will open for just two-days, providing an "architectural preview" before the grand opening scheduled for February 2010.
Read More - Italy Opens a New Contemporary Arts Museum | AP
[Photo: MAXXI exterior, via MAXXI Flickr page]


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