MAXXI or meeting contemporary Rome

A short walk from the Ara Pacis to Piazza del Popolo, followed by a quick bus ride saw us at another relatively new addition to Rome: MAXXI (Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Secolo), the National Museum of 21st Century Art (and architecture).

The building (opened in 2010) is as much a work of art as its contents, and was designed by Anglo-Iraqi architect Zada Hadid. Over four levels, its flowing concrete houses a cool and calming interior whose massive spaces host an ever-growing permanent collection of sculpture, photography and more.

That writing on the façade, ‘More than Meets the Eye’ was itself part of Maurizio Nannucci’s ‘Where to start from’ exhibition, one of five underway during our visit in early September.  No photos allowed in the exhibition galleries, but this video from MAXXI gives an impression of the vivid neon imagery and word play of this Italian contemporary conceptual artist. Do have a look,  as the video is also a great chance to peek ar that great internal space! 


Meanwhile, the poignant ‘Good Luck’ by, Italian artist Lara Favoretto (an exhibition now finished), saw golden cenotaphs representing the lives of people who had disappeared, with something personal to them located nearby, or buried in soil. The visitor even becomes part of the artwork when they realise that they have to walk over one such area of soil to get to the next part of the museum:


A great link to the Milan Expo was ‘FOOD: Dal Cucchaio dal Mondo’ (from the spoon to the world), with exhibits as varied as a chocolate 3D printer, tiffin boxes from the dabbawala of India (particularly relevant as I had recently seen a documentary on this in the UK), photography showing the last meals of prisoners on death row (aptly named ‘No seconds’),  and models showing how modern architectural design can more seamlessly integrate daily living with  food production.

Thought provoking all round.


Here are a few more views from round the building.


As a space the building seems to be used by everything from yoga to art workshops and more, and it would be great to explore more. I’m sure I will on a future visit!

And, as an added bonus, nearby there’s a beautiful replica of an ancient Roman basilica in the form of an early 20th Century church (Santa Croce de Via Flaminia).

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