MAXXI, the National Museum of Art of the 21st Century, is Rome's ode to Contemporary art, and the first Italian museum dedicated to the art of today. The structure itself, designed by Iraqi architect, Zaha Hadid, is a monumental 290,626 sq ft. Lying in Rome's Flaminio Quarter, the space was originally a complex of military offices, but by now it is, in its own right, a work of art.
The museum was conceived as a space for excellence in contemporary creativity. Managed by the Foundation that was established by the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities in 2009, the MAXXI is dedicated to experimentation and innovation in arts and architecture. Naturally, it is arranged accordingly.
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Contemporary artworks numbering at over 300 derive from all corners of the globe, although Italian names do tend to pop up most. The array of media span from painting and installations to video art, sculptures and photography.
MAXXI Art's collection boasts names the likes of Alighiero Boetti, Francesco Clemente, William Kentridge, Mario Merz and Gerhard Richter; meanwhile the period of production ranges from the 1970s to 2000s, but also makes room for emerging artists.
This section makes the MAXXI the first national architecture museum in Italy, with its endowment of 20th- and 21st-Century designs (approximately 50,000), photography (approx. 25,000 images), diverse sculptures and temperas, and numerous models and prototypes, letters and periodicals. Among the Italian architects and designers responsible for these pieces are Carlo Scarpa, Pier Luigi Nervi and Paolo Soleri. Olivo Barbieri, Gabriele Basilico, Letizia Battaglia and Walter Niedermayr, rather, are some of the renowned authors (more than 60) of the extraordinary photo collection.
Of course MAXXI Art and MAXXI Architecture regularly host exhibits, in addition to serving as spaces for artistic experimentation and weekly workshops, conferences, performances, projections and educational labs.
The building is also composed of an auditorium, library, media archives, bookstore, restaurant and temporary exposition rooms. As if that weren't enough, its large outdoor piazza occasionally becomes a stage for opera and other live events.