Former Italian culture minister named MAXXI president

Giovanna Melandri at helm of national contemporary art museum

Former Italian culture minister named MAXXI president

(ANSA) - Rome, October 18 - Former culture minister Giovanna Melandri was named president of Italy's national contemporary art museum MAXXI on Wednesday, five months after it was taken over by the government over a budget shortfall. Melandri, who served in the center-left governments of ex-premiers Massimo D'Alema and Giuliano Amato, was appointed by the culture ministry, which has been directly overseeing museum operations since April to correct an alleged 11-million-euro deficit in the 2012-2014 budget plan. An approved budget for 2012 is to be presented October 23. MAXXI, designed by Anglo-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid, opened its doors in 2010 and clocked up 450,000 visits in 2011. However self-funding from ticket sales, international prestige and private sponsorship deals failed to prevent the budget shortfall, which was allegedly exacerbated by cuts in cultural heritage spending. Friday also marked the opening of an exhibition on the work of French rationalist architect Le Corbusier while in December there will be a display of giant sculptures by Jeff Koons. The cultural program for 2013 includes an exhibition of photographs by Luigi Ghirri, a homage to the late artist Alighiero Boetti, famous for his wall hangings, and a solo show by Brescian artist Francesco Vezzoli.

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