New Masters

MAXXI Opens in Rome

Rome is never traditionally thought of as a place to see modern art. But now Italians certainly hope visitors to the Eternal City will want to see more than columns and Michaelangelos: The first national museum dedicated solely to contemporary art has opened in Rome. The MAXXI—a play on the phrase “museum of art” and the Roman numerals for the 21st century—is a stark white building, but the walls curve and jut over a piazza below, a far cry from the rest of the architecture of the city. Italian bureaucracy bogged down the $150 million Zaha Hadid-designed museum for nearly a dozen years before it could finally be unveiled.