Next stop on the contemporary art museum list is MACRO – Museo d’Arte Contemporanea di Roma. Similar to MAXXI, the first appearance of MACRO is a facade much like the the facades on the rest of the street. MACRO was built over the site of the old brewing factories of Peroni. Although it has the normal facade like MAXXI, unlike MAXXI, MACRO is currently working on a new entrance which will show off its contemporary architecture by French architect, Odile Decq, and invite visitors into the museum in the way a contemporary museum should. They are also working on a huge roof sculpture garden which I will have to visit when it is completed in five or so years. The collection of the museums is again like MAXXI, all Italian based artists from the 1960’s and on. The collection is mostly on loan or temporary with some permanent works. Walking into MACRO there is a staircase leading up to see the works, and you must enter a separate room to see any exhibit. I like the set up of this because it forces the visitor to read the text about the specific exhibition before entering the room.
We started off the visit with an exhibition by Aaron Young called “Slippery When Wet”. He is a young artist who is experimental with his use of video art in different urban cities. Making our way through MACRO, we looked at Arte Povera artists such as Mario Ceroli and Pino Pascali. One room that stood out to me the most was an exhibition dedicated to the construction and process of works for various famous artists. The room was called “A Roma La Nostra Era Avanguardia”. Various photographs of the processes of works were mounted on the walls of this exhibition space, but the best part were three huge sections of drawers filled with letters, newspaper articles, and instructions from artists. Handwritten and typed letters from Christo and Andy Warhol were addressed to their assistants with requests for hotels in Rome and instructions on materials needed for works. Seeing these personal, and for the most part unseen, documents was a great way to understand the process that artists went through to get shows put together. Every time I opened a new drawer, there they were, these letters from Dominicis, Warhol, Pollock, Christo, etc. right in front of me to read and experience. I eventually had to pull myself away from the room and say goodbye. There was also an exhibition titled “My Dark Places” by Portuguese (yay!) artist, Joao Louro. This was a solo exhibition that looked into the critical interpretation of reality, as the press release puts it, “a world in which nothing is at it seems, a universe where the short-circuit of vision and language creates original expressive pathways”.
I look forward to visiting MACRO in the future when the new addition, entrance, and roof garden are finished. What I can look forward to this week is a class lecture by artist Francesco Simeti, and tomorrow, a visit to the MACRO Future and Fotografia Festival Internazionale di Roma.