At the sound of the term “contemporary art” Rome is probably one of the last things that come to mind. Yes, of course there is plenty of art to be found in Rome, but artists like Caravaggio or Michelangelo don’t exactly stand for futuristic video installations or performance art. Up until recently the contemporary art scene in Rome was said to be either dead or none-existent. But during the last couple of years efforts have been made to make room for contemporary art in Rome.
If you stayed in Rome apartments after May 2010 you were lucky enough to have the opportunity to visit Italy’s first national museum for contemporary art and architecture, the MAXXI (Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Secolo). The building itself is a masterpiece of modern day architecture designed by award-winning architect Zaha Hadid, however it took a long time until this project was actually realized.
Along with the little longer existing Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma or short MACRO located in the classic Roman neighborhood of Salari these two institutions are the best addresses to look for modern art. The MAXXI and the MACRO are still in the process of establishing their own permanent collections. The problem is that much of the public money goes to the renovation of historical monuments and artwork.
For emerging contemporary artists it should be encouraging to know that internationally renowned artist Cy Twombly lived in Rome up until he passed away last year. And the city of Rome has played a central role in his life and his work. Though he moved to Italy in the 1950s and he established himself as an internationally well-known painter it took until 2008 for him to get an exhibition in Rome when a fellow American opened a modern art gallery.
It seems it takes a while for the Romans to warm up to modern art. But with the opening of the MAXXI slowly but surely more contemporary artists dare to make the move looking for apartments in Rome to settle in the Eternal City. Though Rome might seem hesitant to open itself up to modern art we are talking about a modern metropolis, so it is only a matter of time until the contemporary art scene in Rome will become more active.