Monday, January 21, 2019

MoMA Roma

"History is nightmare," says Stephan Daedalus, but in the case of Rome it’s why you go there. The Mausoleum of Augustus lies in back of the Ara Pacis, the famed monument to peace dedicated by the Rome Senate on July 4, 13BC—yes Independence Day! But in front of the Mausoleum is en plein air exhibit. It’s like the open mike at a poetry reading. The diversity and brilliance of the contemporary Roman art world is on display for anyone who wants to see or be seen. “Torno subito,” are the words written next to a cigarette butt, “ “Invito, Il Giorno 17 Gennaio Alle Ore 18 Libreria Del Palazzo delle Esposizioni per Presentare Il Mio Libro ‘Fuori Catalogo’ Per L’Occasione Esporro Anche Alcune Opere Vi Aspetto,” reads another placard lying on the stone parapet, a boxer with gloves is drawn in chalk on the pavement. A rock sitting next  a window is bookended with “in case don’t break the glass” in English and Italian. Stone depictions of Narcissus lie in a plastic tub. A pill bottle is titled “Natura Morte.” Remember Pasolini's Mamma Roma? Despite museums like the Galeria d'Arte Moderna, this impromptu MoMA Roma, sandwiched between two great monuments to the past, is an inadvertent essay on the perennial essence of Rome.

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