The ancient city of Rome, a place that has continuously impressed its inhabitants, visitors, and distant admirersfor centuries with its mastery of antiquity now presents us devotees, with something veramente nuova, truly new. With the inspired help of London-based architect, Zaha Hadid the decaying military barracks of Flaminio, in northern Rome, have been whipped into modern, artistic and architectural shape.
More than a decade and over $200 million in the making, the MAXXI museum of modern art was finally revealed to the public in a free, three-day event at the end of May. The opening attracted boatloads of eager onlookers— and unsurprisingly so. In a city starved of modernity, 50,000 citizens (as well as foreign guests) bombarded the new gallery’s web site in the feverish hope of commandeering at least one of the free passes for opening event in the first few hours that they were offered.
The entrance to the MAXXI gallery of modern art is both angular and organic. It resembles a cross between M.C. Escher’s Relativity and black-and-white, psychedelic piano keys with the black notes of thekeyboard acting as undulating staircases. Once past the grand entrance, Hadid lures her spectators with mysterious corners that beckon visitors onward to the next, and the next remarkable nook or cranny of the gallery.
While the building itself is enough to suffice even the mostenthusiastic modern art lover’s insatiable pallet, Hadid’s modern contribution to Rome houses 300 permanent modern works of art and in a dynamic atmosphere. The building, entirely unique in form and interior, still manages to exhibit display spaces that act as blank canvasses, allowing for each individual work occupying the space its own moment to shine.
Though it is no longer possible to visit the MAXXI National Museum of XXI Century Arts for free, it is still an affordable stop on anyone’s itinerary. The admission fee is 11€ ($13). It is located on Via Guido Reni, 4 A, Rome. If traveling via public transportation, take Metro A to Flaminio and the Tram 2 to the Apollodoro stop. Open Tuesday to Sunday, 11a.m. to 7 p.m., and until 10p.m. on Thursday. You can reserve tickets at http://www.fondazionemaxxi.it/.
Rome’s new MAXXI gallery is history in the making and you don’t want to miss it!
— Shakira Mongul