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Italian government to take over MAXXI Museum / Rome

Italian museums of contemporary art are experiencing a state of emergency. The Italian Culture Ministry last Friday began procedures to replace the board of directors of the foundation that manages MAXXI, Italy’s national museum of contemporary art, with a government-appointed administrator. Although the foundation has claimed they are doing well, with 450,000 visitors in 2011 alone, the reasons are apparently financial. MAXXI’s annual budget in 2011 was about $12 million, of which the state contributed about $5 million. With budget cuts to institutions, the government will only be able to contribute 2.6 million dollars. MAXXI does claim however that they are more financially independent than other museums in Europe. By way of comparison, last year the Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona (MACBA) operated on an annual budget of $15.6 million, of which 75 percent is guaranteed by its founding members; and the PompidouCenter outpost in Metz relies on founding members for 90 percent of its operating needs of $13 million. Funding for MAXXI will need to be found elsewhere, such as through private sponsors but it seems there are few economic incentives for this kind of benefaction in Italy. Mario Resca, the Culture Ministry official who oversees state museums said: “Italy needs to imitate the situations of other countries and offer better tax incentives.”