MADRE Museum in Naples is ready for new terms: Andrea Viliani has just been nominated the new curator, and challenges and hopes await him…
The Museo d’Arte contemporanea DonnaREgina (M.A.D.RE) stands in the historical heart of Naples, close to the cathedral and the Treasure of St. Januarius, near the Museo Archeologico Nazionale and the Accademia di Belle Arti (Galleria d’Arte Moderna) with the ancient district of San Lorenzo.
The Museum owes its name to the building that houses it, the Palazzo Donnaregina, which stands next to the Monastery of S. Maria Donnaregina, founded by the Swabian dynasty (13th century) and then rebuilt and enlarged in 1325 by Queen Mary of Hungary, wife of Charles II of Anjou. Of the ancient monastic complex all that remains today are two churches: the church of S. Maria Donnaregina on Piazza Donnaregina, built in the baroque period, and the earlier church of S. Maria Donnaregina Vecchia, in Quattrocento Gothic, today open to the public during exhibitions and special events organised by the Museum.
In an ancient city like Naples, MADRE took up an important challenge in 2005, which was “to foster the development of the public patrimony by creating a network of centres of excellence to promote contemporary art”. Thanks to the funds of the European Community MADRE bought the Palazzo Donnaregina and made it one of the few contemporary art spaces in the South of Italy that can be compared with other museums internationally.
In mid-December a commission was unanimously elected -Andrea Viliani, as the new Director of MADRE.
The ex-Director of the Galleria Civica-Centro di ricerca sulla contemporaneità in Trento (2009-2012), ex-curator of MAMbo-Museo d’Arte Moderna in Bologna (2005-2009), ex assistant curator of Castello di Rivoli-Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rivoli-Torino (2000-2005) and co-curator of Documenta Kassel last year, Andrea, 39 year old, from Piedmont, will face many challenges like the one of implementing the collection with a new addition, the Fondazione Morra Greco, already nicknamed the “PS1” (MoMA spin-off in Queens, NYC) of MADRE. He has always been keen in all of his projects maintain and enhance the characteristics of the art’s territory while innovating with new initiatives.
His programme for MADRE, presented only a few days ago, includes the re-creation of a permanent collection in order to give a stronger identity to the Museum (and to Naples), the enhancement of services for the public (not only as a user but as a contributor to the Museum), the interaction between the territory and the culture, the future internationalization of the Museum (by advertising the best artists abroad), and the focus on the reputation of the Museum that needs to become a landmark for the whole city and, eventually, the whole country.
With much to share with the rest of the world, we really hope this is a first step to make people aware that contemporary art is possible for the South of Italy, too. Good luck, Mr. Viliani.