Modern art at Rome: MAXXI & MACRO
It’s nice to have stayed long enough in Rome altogether to be able to take some time off from checking out the most important historical landmarks, and focusing for more contemporary offerings of the city for a while. It’s crazy how many big & important exhibitions there are in Rome at the same time, rivaling the cultural metropoles like Paris and New York easily. Helsinki would be considered lucky to be able to host just one of those exhibitions per year. Right now there would have been displays of American modernism from Guggenheim collections, Miro, Dali, Russian avant-garde, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Steve McCurry - just to mention the biggest names.
We checked the two new museums for modern & contemporary art in Rome: MAXXI and MACRO. Both are interesting not only for the exhibitions but also for their architecture. MAXXI is at least architecturally better known of the two, being designed by the superstar Zaha Hadid. On the outside it doesn’t look too special, but the insides are very interesting and also highly functional - there’s a good flow inside the building leading from one exhibition hall to another. Content-wise there’s an interesting mixture of architecture, installations, paintings, video works and photos in display at MAXXI. Also there are preparations on the way for the setting up the installation from recycled clothes by the Finnish artist Kaarina Kaikkonen, whose exhibition we miss by just two days.
MACRO is quite a bit more confusing as an exhibition space than Zaha Hadid’s building, but at least as interesting visually with bold shapes and colors. We actually came here for Steve McCurry’s photo exhibition, only to learn that it was at the other MARCO location (yes, apparently there are two…). But the works in display were worth the walk anyway: interesting samplings from the permanent collection and massive video/installation works in one of the largest exhibition halls I’ve ever seen.
All and all glad to see that the contemporary culture in Rome is alive and well to say the least, on top of the couple of millennia of history….