Art & Culture (le cose belle)

MACRO – A Break from Antiquity

When you’ve been in Rome for a while the marble columns across the street, or the Virgin and child on the corner altar, might not cause the same sense of appreciation as they once did. If you are like me, your “art buds” might be craving something else (kind of like a chorizo taco after months of pasta).

Feeling the call of something that was created in at least the last century, I decided to take advantage of culture week in an atypical way. Instead of heading to the Colosseum, I set off for another structure titled to express largess – MACRO, Rome’s Museum of Contemporary Art.

The main MACRO building (a reconstructed old Peroni brewery) boasts four floors, a large exhibition space, roof deck and café, and outdoor areas meant to serve as public spaces. The collection itself explores trend-setting Italian artwork post WWII including pieces from the Nuova Scuola Romana. MACRO also showcases emerging Italian and International talent making the exhibitions exciting and relevant.

Each of the salas is wonderfully curated to provide the right space for the works that they house, but there is much to be discovered in the “in-between” space as well. For example, there are phosphorescent light sculptures in the elevator shafts, a (hopefully) sound glass floor between the two sides of the museum, and pieces are scattered where you least expect them. One of my favorite pieces, Untitled by the ZimmerFrei collective, has been strategically placed on a wall between the gallery and MACRO’s offices. If you walk too fast you might miss it altogether so pay attention. On a white wall, next to a flight of stairs, there is a quarter-sized copper…dot. Upon closer examination it is revealed to be a peep-hole (which I only understood after I watched someone else look through it). When you put your eye to the hole you see a whole world of artifacts compressed into a tiny room and a miniature poster exclaiming, “Tomorrow is the question.”

My other picks from the current exhibitions include While Nothing Happens by Ernesto Neto, featuring what can only be described as a hanging mushroom cap. Great lycra netting spores filled with a variety of ground spices invite visitors to literally smell the installation. Memories of college came flooding back and needless to say I WISH I had seen this piece then.

I also loved The Crisis Is (NOT) Over by Dan Perjovschi, which turns an entire wall of the downstairs MACRO gallery into the artist’s sketchpad including paradoxical drawings, epigrams, and other pictorial and written musings. His work focuses on politics, culture, the global economy and our zany contemporary world in general which to me was well summarized in two lines written boldly on the wall (I was grateful that most of the writing was in English!):

“I will google you

I will gigabite you”

Visit the MACRO

Where: Via Nizza 138 (Corner of Via Cagliari) there is also an outpost in Testaccio

When: Open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. everyday except Monday

How much: 11 Euro

–Irina Gusin

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