Major changes for Rome's MACRO

MACRO Nizza launches Asilo project and MACRO Testaccio to become known as “Mattatoio”.

Giorgio De Finis, the "director-squatter" of Rome's Museo dell’Altro e dell’Altrove di Metropoliz (MAAM) street art museum, has been appointed artistic director of a new project at the city's MACRO contemporary art museum on Via Nizza. De Finis will be in charge of an experimental project called Asilo (meaning refuge or sanctuary), designed to give the latest “restart” to the museum which has been without a director since Federica Pirani's contract expired on 30 June 2016. 

The nomination of De Finis by his schoolfriend Luca Bergamo, the city's deputy mayor and culture councillor, was announced at a hastily-convened press conference at the Campidoglio on 21 December. Bergamo clarified that De Finis will not be the new director of MACRO – a role which would normally require a public tender process – but only of the new project. The Asilo project, which will give contemporary artists space to work, perform and interact with the public, begins at MACRO Nizza following the conclusion of the upcoming Pink Floyd exhibition, whose choice of venue has already raised eyebrows in Rome's art world. 

For the duration of Asilo, from October 2018 until the end of 2019, MACRO Nizza will not host any temporary exhibitions and will be open free to the public, thanks to an investment of €400,000 from the city. Over the course of these 15 months, Asilo will offer a daily programme of art events involving Italian and international contemporary artists. 

Questions have been raised in the media about the suitability of De Finis for his new role; until now his only relevant experience has been curating MAAM in the outskirts of Rome. Since 2012 this former cured meat factory on Via Prenestina acts as an informal street art museum in addition to being home to some 200 squatters, many of them migrants.

As part of the new shake-up of the MACRO network, MACRO Testaccio will assume the name "Mattatoio" in reference to the building's former role as a slaughterhouse. The newly-christened Mattatoio will not be involved in the Asilo project, instead it is destined to play a greater “performative” role in the city's art programming.

In addition, from 1 January, both MACRO museums will come under the management of Azienda Speciale Palaexpo, a city-controlled body which manages Rome's Palazzo delle Esposizioni and Casa del Jazz.