Roman Museum Legacies: Dialogue with Andrea Viliani, Director of the Museo delle Civiltà

KNIR Dialogues with Directors
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Museums in Rome are among the oldest and most famous in the world, prized for their outstanding collections, collecting histories, and architecture. Together, they present a full range of western European museum history in one of the most consequential of historic cities. Roman museums begin with 15th century papal gifts of ancient bronze statues to the Capitoline Hill and progress to world-class Baroque-era private collections, the labyrinthine Vatican museums, national museums of world civilizations, modernism, and antiquities and an “archistar” institution for contemporary art, bringing the Eternal City’s cultural life up to the present moment.

The 21st century is a particularly engaging moment to study the history of museums. Due to pressing concerns of new ways to make old art accessible, global art, decolonization and the social and political responsibilities of culture, museums are undergoing great periods of self-reflection. This KNIR dialogue series proposes a set of public lectures and conversations with current museum directors in Rome that are particularly engaged in institutional introspection. In this way, audiences can learn more about the legacies that Roman museums choose to reflect on today and the challenges and solutions for reinterpreting the past in the present and for the future.

The Dialogue will be moderated by our Museum Fellow, Dr. Laurie Kalb Cosmo.


About Andrea Viliani, Director of the Museo delle Civiltà di Roma
Andrea Viliani is a critic, curator and art historian. Since 2022, he has been Director of the Museo delle Civiltà di Roma/Museum of Civilizations of Rome, an institution that brings together national collections of prehistory, paleontology, litho-mineralogy, African, American, Asian and Oceanian arts and cultures, early medieval art and archaeology, Italian popular arts and traditions, and Italian colonial history, which are currently being studied and re-catalogued. Since 2020, Viliani has also been co-curator of Pompeii Commitment-Materie archaeologiche, the first project of the Pompeii Archeological Park dedicated to contemporary art. In 2020/2021, he was Director and Curator of CRRI-Castello di Rivoli Research Center, where he began his research in 2000. Viliani has held the roles of curator at MAMbo-Museum of Modern Art in Bologna (2005-2009), director of Civic Foundation Gallery-Center for Research on Contemporaneity of Trento (2010-2012) and director of Donnaregina Foundation for Contemporary Arts/MADRE Naples (2013-2019). In 2006, he was among the 60 Players of the Biennale de Lyon and one of six Core Group members of dOCUMENTA 13 (2010-2012), co-curating the project in Kabul and Bamiyan, Afghanistan. In 2005, Viliani received the Lorenzo Bonaldi Prize for Art-EnterPrize, promoted by the GAMeC-Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art of Bergamo. Viliani is the author of scientific publications and regularly contributes to numerous magazines.


The second Dialogue of this series, with Francesco Stocchi, Artistic Director of MAXXI, will be on 18 September 2024.