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2019 at MAXXI: Exploring Italian Creativity

I. i.. (February 01, 2019)
Great new masters of art, photography, architecture and design, monographic exhibitions. After bravity, a new project for the 50th anniversary of the moon landing 2018, a year of growth: ticket sales up +11%, 917 educational activities for over 23,000 participants, 70 new works added to the collections new opportunities for visitors in 2019: “mini” and “last hour” tickets at €5.00 for a museum that is ever more welcoming, accessible and open to the city and the world

 MAXXI is an ample space for italian creativity recognised throughout the world, with solo shows dedicated to Paola Pivi, Paolo Di Paolo, Maria Lai and Gio Ponti and the focus exhibitions on Formafantasma, Elisabetta Catalano and Enzo Cucchi, in a constant dialogue between art, architecture, photography and design. Attention to the international art scene and collaborations with the masterpieces of the IVAM of Valencia and with the group show Tutto investigating the spiritual dimension of art in the contemporary era. Not to mention the Collection, a great protagonist at MAXXI and around the world with exhibitions in Tunis, Rabat, New Delhi and Mumbai.

A new partnership with La Triennale di Milano,  which  includes the realization of a prize for italian architecture, that will be presented next February 11th at the Triennale.  After the successful exhibition Gravity, Imaging the universe after Einstein, and thank to the encouragement of MIUR (Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research), the joint-venture between MAXXI, ASI (Italian Space Agency) and INFN (National Institute of Nuclear Physics) continues with a new project, a dialogue between art and science on the occasion of  the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.

  On the strength of the results from 2018, which saw the number of visitors attending the exhibitions grow by more than 11%, MAXXI the National Museum of XXI Century Arts is presenting its 2019 programme: 13 new exhibitions, focus shows and special projects that will flank or alternate with the current shows, accompanied by meetings, lectures and seminars exploring the themes introduced.  The results and the programme were illustrated by Giovanna Melandri, President of the Fondazione MAXXI, Hou Hanru, MAXXI’s Artistic Director, Margherita Guccione, Director of MAXXI Architettura, Bartolomeo Pietromarchi, Director of MAXXI Arte and Pietro Barrera, Executive Director of the Fondazione MAXXI.

We are working with renewed energy to guarantee our public a rich cultural offering of the highest quality”, affirms Giovanna Melandri. “MAXXI establishes dialogues between art, architecture, photography and design, not to mention film, literature, comics, science and high-tech. We are proud to be a place where the great vitality of contemporary creativity and the freedom of artists are manifested without frontiers, contributing to the social and educational dimension of the museum.”

  “Be Beautiful, facing the ugly!” is Hou Hanru’s encouragement. “In our troubled and complex times he creative scenes are necessarily more alive and pulsating than ever. One can expect the resurgence of a real dynamism and “explosion” of creative voices.”


   Along with the major new presentation of the Collection (which during the course of 2018 was also enriched with 70 new acquisitions and “toured” to Beirut, Tunis and New Delhi), the early months of 2019 will see the continuation of a number of exhibitions inaugurated late last year: THE STREET. Where the world is made (through to 28 April), the major group show with more than 200 works by 140 artists from all over the world recounting the chaos, the battles, the vitality and the great creative energy of the street; LOW FORM. Imaginaries and Visions in the Age of  Artificial Intelligence with visionary works by 16 artists from the Millennial Generation (through to 24 March), the themes of which will be reprised in a meeting with Alessandro Baricco, on 30 March; PAOLO PELLEGRIN. Un’antologia (through to 10 March), with more than 150 images by the great photographer; the illustrations and the comics of ZEROCALCARE. Digging ditches ∙ Feeding crocodiles (through to 31 March); the focus show and the installations L’Anello mancante by Michele De Lucchi (through to 3 March); Dentro La Strada Novissima, dedicated to and curated by Paolo Portoghesi (through to 28 April); THE INDEPENDENT with the work of the Turin collective Nesxt (through to 17 February) and When Sound Becomes Form dedicated to Italian sonic experimentation from the Sixties on (through to 17 March).

   13 new exhibitions, focus shows and special projects will animate the MAXXI galleries starting with the eighth edition of the MAXXI Alcantara Project: the protagonists this year are the multiple award winning designers of the Formafantasma studio who, with NERVI in the Making, will be creating a useable space inspired by Pier Luigi Nervi whose archive forms part of the MAXXI Architettura collection (curated by Domitilla Dardi, 14 March – 7 April 2019).

   Paola Pivi, class of 1971, winner of the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale in 1999, will be the protagonist of the first monographic exhibition of the season, PAOLA PIVI. World Record: a site specific, immersive and involving project in which historic and more recent works alternate, with sculptures and installations (curated by Hou Hanru and Anne Palopoli, 3 April – 8 September 2019).

   3 April will also see the opening to the public of the focus exhibition dedicated to ELISABETTA CATALANO. Tra immagine e performance, investigating the relationship between her photography and performance, proposing portraits of artists (Joseph Beuys, Fabio Mauri, Vettor Pisani, Cesare Tacchi) in the gestational phase of the performative process (in collaboration with Archivio Catalano, curated by Aldo Enrico Ponis, 3 Aprile – December 2019).

   PAOLO DI PAOLO. Mondo Perduto, in collaboration with Gucci, is the major monographic exhibition dedicated to an extraordinary photographer who published more than 500 images in  the magazine Il Mondo, created by the journalist Mario Pannunzio, poetically portraying the Italy of the Fifties and Sixties. The photos rediscovered after more than 50 years of neglect include portraits of Pier Paolo Pasolini, Tennesse Williams, Anna Magnani, Kim Novak, Sofia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni (curated by Giovanna Calvenzi, 17 April – June 2019).

   AT HOME / A CASA. From the MAXXI Architettura Collection will be investigating the eternal theme of habitation through the works in the collection, from the post-war years to the new modes of inhabiting the planet (curated by Margherita Guccione and Pippo Ciorra,17 April 2019 – March 2020). The exhibition will be accompanied by the focus show TERRE IN MOVIMENTO, which recounts through the eyes of three great photographers – Olivo Barbieri, Paola De Pietri and Petra Noordkamp – the landscape of the Marche region after the earthquake (curated by Pippo Ciorra and Carlo Birrozzi in collaboration with Cristiana Colli, 17 April – August 2019).

   The museum’s international collaborations continue within the ambit of the project Expanding the Horizon: this time the protagonists will be the masterpieces from the IVAM (Institut Valencià d’Art Modern) with the exhibition AL NORTE DE LA TORMENTA. From Robert Rauschenberg to Antoni Tàpies, from Bruce Nauman to Juan Muñoz, (curated by Hou Hanru with Chiara Bertini, 22 May – 8 September 2019). In 2020 a MAXXI Collection focus show will be staged at the IVAM.

   MARIA LAI. Holding the sun by the hand is the major exhibition MAXXI is dedicating to this great artist on the occasion of the centenary of her birth. More than 100 works will be on show, from the early Sixties to her final pieces, including sewn books, sculptures, public works and her famous looms (curated by Bartolomeo Pietromarchi and Luigia Lonardelli, in collaboration with the Archivio Storico Maria Lai, 19 June 2019 – January 2020).

   ENZO CUCCHI, one of the protagonists of the Transavanguardia movement, whose work Porta addormita was added to the collection in 2018, will be featured in a focus show presenting his most recent works (27 September 2019 – January 2020).

   Alighiero Boetti, Elisabetta Di Maggio, Yoko Ono, Remo Salvadori and Sean Scully are just a few of the artists featured in the major group show TUTTO. O della materia spirituale dell’arte, which draws inspiration from last work by Boetti, Tutto, and will reflect on those artistic paths seeking an alternative, absolute dimension. The exhibition will include large-scale immersive and involving works and installations (curated by Bartolomeo Pietromarchi, 11 October 2019 – March 2020).

   GIO PONTI. Amare l’architettura is a major retrospective MAXXI is dedicating to the great architect and designer 40 years after his death, recounting his multi-faceted career (in collaboration with CSAC Parma and Gio Ponti Archives, curated by Maristella Casciato and Fulvio Irace with Margherita Guccione, Salvatore Licitra and Francesca Zanella, 7 November 2019 – April 2020).

   2019 will also see the continuation of two projects THE INDEPENDENT (curated by Giulia Ferracci and Elena Motisi) and ARTAPES (curated by Giulia Ferracci). This year, THE INDEPENDENT, the research project investigating independent platforms that since 2014 has surveyed 108 groups, is presenting the work of Milan’s Colorificio. ARTAPES is instead the programme curated by Giulia Ferracci and devoted to the most interesting recent and historical artist’s films, presented in the permanent video gallery and powered by In Between Art Film.


   In 2018 the Collection was the focus of a major new presentation featuring some of the 70 new acquisitions, together with the thematic focus Lo spazio dell’immagine.

The new architectural acquisitions include: drawings and collages by Superstudio and Yona Friedman, a project by Nanda Vigo and the photographs of Paolo Pellegrin, fruit of a commission regarding L’Aquila. For the art collection: works by Katharina Grosse, Monica Bonvicini, Diego Marcon, H.H. Lim and Tomás Saraceno. Marco Tirelli, Giulio Turcato, Tatiana Trouvè; drawings by Giulio Paolini, Salvatore Arancio, Marinella Senatore, Caline Aoun and Luca Trevisani.


   MAXXI is taking art beyond the galleries of the Museum and through the languages of contemporary art it’s transforming the streets of Rome into places of gathering, sharing and debating, in collaboration with Comune di Roma. On the occasion of the exhibition The Street. Where the world is made, the posters of Alfredo Jaar (Chiaroscuro), scattered around the city, become tools of urban communication; in the underground station of Vittorio Emanuele Liu Qingyuan’s cartoons (The Streets of the Story) relate historical actions from the Sixties onwards in the form of public billboards. In 2019 the project of Alberto Garutti (To those born today) will link the streetlights of Piazza del Popolo with the maternity ward of the Policlinico "Agostino Gemelli", so that they  will light up at every new birth. The collective OHT (Little Fun Palace) will move their small trailer around Municipality V creating new meeting places with screenings, concerts, and talks. The artist Lin Yilin will present  a new performance (The Back) in a historical architecture of the center of Rome. A number of  traffic lights in the Flaminio neighborhood will change their appearance thanks to the intervention by Anna Scalfi (Untitled_GreenWoman on the Traffic Lights).


   MAXXI has responded enthusiastically to MiBAC’s call to realise the MAXXI L’Aquila project, putting its skills at the disposition of the institution. The restoration of Palazzo Ardinghelli is currently nearing completion and during the course of 2018 MAXXI made a concrete contribution by working in particular on the readying of the technological apparatus.

A very close working relationship was immediately established with the local area: with the municipality, the regional authorities, the cultural institutions such as the University of L’Aquila, the Gran Sasso Science Institute, the Academy of Fine Arts, the Abruzzese Symphonic Institution, the Teatro Stabile and many others. Certain aspects of the museum project are already taking form: these include the site specific work on L’Aquila by the photographer Paolo Pellegrin and those conceived specifically for the inauguration of Palazzo Ardinghelli by the Italian artists Elisabetta Benassi, Daniela De Lorenzo, Alberto Garutti, Nunzio and Ettore Spalletti and by the Russian artist Anastasia Potemkina. The project is on the home stretch and it is important that the completion coincides with the tenth anniversary of the earthquake. There is an on-going negotiation with MiBAC to guarantee the indispensable resources and further reinforce the common understanding between all the institutions involved.

Within the ambit of the Matera European Capital of Culture 2019 project, MAXXI will be proposing in the period after the summer and in collaboration with the Museums of Basilicata, a new project by Shirin Neshat, a video installation conceived for the evocative spaces of the Church of the Madonna del Carmine at Palazzo Lanfranchi.


   In 2019, extending a path taken up last year, the collection will be travelling as an ambassador of dialogue between peoples and an instrument of cultural diplomacy. With the exhibition Classic Reloaded. Mediterranea, a body of works has been exhibited at Villa Audi in Beirut and at the Bardo National Museum in Tunis (through to March) and from June 2019 will be hosted at Villa des Arts, Rabat, reviving a shared heritage. Extraordinary Visions Italy is instead touring India, presenting a portrait of Italy through the eyes numerous masters of photography: inaugurated at the Italian Institute of Culture in New Delhi in October 2018 on the occasion of the Technology Summit (through to February), in March 20198 it will be exhibited in Mumbai.  The Italian Institute of Culture of Paris, until March 2019, will host a dialogue between the architecture of Carlo Scarpa and the goldsmith’s art of Giampaolo Babetto.