Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Italian government to appoint commissioner to control Maxxi

Board of directors for contemporary museum blames government cuts for deficit

By Ermanno Rivetti. Web only
Published online: 19 April 2012

The board of directors of the Fondazione Maxxi has expressed outrage at the ministry of culture’s sudden announcement that it was transferring control of the foundation to a commissioner. The ministry says it made the decision because the board was unable to set a satisfactory budget for 2012. The foundation, which runs Maxxi—Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo, Italy’s first national museum for contemporary art which only opened in 2009, was founded by the ministry itself. Antonia Pasqua Recchia, the ministry’s general secretary, is tipped to take on the role of commissioner.

The ministry issued the statement on 13 April following concerns that the Maxxi’s 2011 deficit of €700,000 would only increase in the future. The foundation had ten days to present its counter argument, and it did so immediately, releasing a statement refuting the ministry’s reasons for the decision. According to the foundation’s books, the museum, which runs on €10m a year, received €7m from the government in 2010 while raising a further €3.3m through ticket sales and sponsorship. In 2011, the government slashed its funds by 43% to less than €4m, but the museum managed to generate more than half of its required annual budget, raising €5.6m. Pio Baldi, the foundation’s president, blames the €700,000 deficit on government cuts, but says that the gap had been filled thanks to a €2.4m surplus generated by the museum between 2009 and 2010. He added that the only reason the foundation’s budget for 2012 was rejected was because of further government cuts.

Roberto Grossi, the foundation’s vice president, has threatened to resign, while Stefano Zecchi, the board’s advisor, issued a statement claiming that the government’s decision had “no economic basis” and denounced its lack of communication with the foundation, claiming that several letters regarding future funding cuts were sent and received no reply. He also questioned the proposed commissioner’s ability to run a national museum that is receiving less and less public funding.

Similar museums set up in other countries receive a larger percentage of their budgets from the state. For example, the Kiasma contemporary art museum in Helsinki received 82% of its annual €19m budget from the Finnish government, while the Pompidou Metz received 90% of its annual €10m budget from the French government in 2011, only generating around €1m from its own activities.

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