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A MAMbo Restrospective

How an innovative concept traded neutrality for a cohesive and socially responsible exhibit


FEB 26, 2023 | ISSUE 11

"Ongoing action, duet version" by Alexandra Pirici - Photo by Ornella de Carlo

Behind the walls of a former municipal bakery, inaugurated in 1917 as a means of increasing the waning bread supply during the First World War in the medieval city of Bologna, lies the Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna (MAMbo), the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Bologna. The space was later expanded and, after several years of closure, was opened again in the 70s as a storage facility. After restoration work on the building began in the mid-90s – overseen by Italian architect Aldo Rossi – MAMbo officially opened its doors to the public in 2007. Today, its industrial history is still visible and plays a prominent role in the museum’s exhibition spaces. In the main hall for temporary exhibitions, Sala delle Ciminiere (The Chimney Room), the bakery’s two chimneys are still visible and are often part of the curatorial narrative. MAMbo has a long history of supporting the arts, especially offering space and a stage for performing arts. The most notable was Marina Abramovič’s Imponderabilia which, during its 1977 premiere in Bologna, was promptly shut down by local authorities. In the 21st century, MAMbo continues to offer its spaces as a means of creating dialogue. That dialogue is especially prevalent in the most...