Rome’s Art Conundrum


Rome is caught up in an art conundrum. Wealthy art collectors support a contemporary art scene; politicians clutch at the crumbling classics.

Rome’s architecture crumbling? Yes. A recent New York Times article “As Rome Modernizes, Its Past Quietly Crumbles” brings up some dire realities. Funding for restoring antiquities is not keeping pace with the wind, rain, and time’s lashings. And so politicians are faced with a challenge:  do you throw money at the old, at the expense of the new? Just rely on private benefactors to bootstrap and bankroll the contemporary scene?

Apparently, in Italy, you do. Italy provides less support to its young artists than do museums in Holland, France, or Britain. The Museum of Modern Art in the U.S., the Tate in Britain, and the Pompidou in France have emerged as central institutions that spur spin-off museums and private foundations. There’s fewer of these institutions in Italy. In Italy, the private galleries must pick up the slack.


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