Exhibitions Museums Italy

Rome’s Maxxi to be stripped 'naked' and rebooted

Hou Hanru unveils new artistic direction, which will embrace Iran, China and high Italian fashion

Maxxi laid bare

The artistic director of Rome’s Maxxi, Hou Hanru, will “restart” its exhibition programme in October by stripping the Zaha Hadid-designed museum “naked” for six weeks, he announced today (31 March). Speaking at a press conference in London, Hou described how the exhibition “Open Museum, Open City”, will feature “immaterial” pieces including sound installations, performances, film screenings and concerts, as well as a series of talks on socio-political issues that are inspired by Speakers’ Corner in London’s Hyde Park. “Our team will have to work six times harder” because all exhibitions at the museum will have to close and open simultaneously to accommodate the October show, Hou said.

Maxxi is also launching an international strand of exhibitions and research projects. The first, “United History: Sequences of the Modern in Iran from 1960 until the Present”, will be co-organised with the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and Catherine David, the deputy director of the Centre Pompidou in Paris, among others. Due to open in Paris in May, it travels to Rome in December and will feature Iranian Modern and contemporary art as well as film. Hou also plans to focus on Istanbul and Beirut at Maxxi in the future; he said he wanted to “create a much more integral interaction” between the Italian museum and contemporary artists of the Middle East.

In December, Maxxi is due to present a solo show of the Chinese artist Huang Yong Ping, which will include a site-specific project. The exhibition travels to the Red Brick Art Museum in Beijing in 2015 and the Power Station of Art in Shanghai in 2016.

Fashion is also on the agenda, with an exhibition called “Bellissima” about Italian fashion between 1945 and 1968, planned for December. Giovanna Melandri, the president of the Fondazione Maxxi who is a former minister of culture, said it will be a “twin exhibition”, complementing “The Glamour of Italian Fashion: 1945-2014”, which opens at the Victoria and Albert Museum this week (5 April-27 July).


The museum's new artistic director Hou Hanru. Photo: © Musacchio & Ianniello
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