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Contemporary Art in Emilia-Romagna

by /// September 6, 2023
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes



“If you want to understand the world in which you live, learn to know the art that it produces”
(Giorgio Grasso, art critic)

The term “contemporary art” refers to the set of artistic trends that arose in the period after the Second World War, a mosaic of different movements, with unpredictable drifts, often difficult to be interpreted.

An art in continuous transformation, that deals with common, ordinary themes, through an enormous freedom of expression and use of different means, as never before in the history of art.

If you are passionate about contemporary art, Emilia-Romagna has a lot to offer.

CSAC Study Center and Communication Archive (Parma)

Parma (PR), Abbazia di Valserena
Parma (PR), Abbey of Valserena | Credit: Starmaro, via ShutterStorck

Where: Via Viazza di Paradigna, 1 – Parma (PR)

The Study Center and Communication Archive (CSAC) is a research center of the University of Parma, located in the Abbey of Valserena (known as the Charterhouse of Parma of Stendhal).

The center is aimed at creating a collection of fine art, photography, architectural drawings, design, fashion and graphics from the 1900s and beyond. The CSAC hosts temporary exhibitions and a large archive, which can be consulted by appointment.

Fondazione Magnani Rocca (Mamiano di Traversetolo - PR)

Traversetolo )PR) Fondazione Magnani Rocca
Traversetolo (PR) Fondazione Magnani Rocca | Credit: D-Visions, via ShutterStock (for editorial use only)

Where: Via Fondazione Magnani Rocca, 4 – Mamiano (PR)

The Magnani-Rocca Foundation is located in the Villa dei Capolavori of Mamiano di Traversetolo, in the province of Parma.

Here is hosted the collection created by the musicologist and art critic Luigi Magnani, which gathers masterpieces of ancient, modern and contemporary art.

This last section, of considerable interest, includes works by Italian, European and American artists among the most representatives of the twentieth century (Monet, Renoir, Cézanne, de Pisis, Guttuso, Carrà, de Chirico, Manzù, Burri and Leoncillo), as well as a large number of paintings by Giorgio Morandi.

Alongside the permanent collection, exhibitions and retrospectives dedicated to 20th century art are frequently organized.

Maramotti Collection (Reggio Emilia)

Collezione Maramotti (Reggio Emilia)
Maramotti Collection (Reggio Emilia) | Credit: Claudia Marini, via

Where: Via Fratelli Cervi, 66 – Reggio Emilia (RE)

The Maramotti Collection offers a real journey into the contemporary Italian and International art, thanks to the works collected over the years by Achille Maramotti, father of the famous fashion house Max Mara and great art lover.

The museum is located just outside the historic center of Reggio Emilia, in the former Max Mara factory converted into exhibition space.

The ground floor hosts the temporary exhibitions, while on the two upper floors there’s the permanent collection, which has about 200 of more than 500 works owned by the Maramotti family. The guided tour is totally free, by telephone or online booking.

Fondazione Fotografia (Modena)

Fondazione Fotografia (Modena)
Modena (MO), Fondazione Modena Arti Visive, at ex Manifattura Tabacchi

Where: Via della Manifattura dei Tabacchi, 83 – Modena

Fondazione Fotografia Modena is an exhibition and training center entirely dedicated to contemporary photography and images. Its primary objective is to deep the fundamental role that images assume within the current culture.

Launched in 2007 as a cultural project of the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Modena, from September 2017 its exhibition activity is hosted in the premises of MATA, raised in the former Manifattura Tabacchi of Modena.

In addition to the many temporary exhibitions, Fondazione Fotografia collects a precious heritage of images divided into 3 collections (Italian collection, international collection, historical archives), which can also be consulted via online archive.

Bertozzi & Casoni Museum (Sassuolo, MO)

Sassuolo (MO), Cavallerizza Ducale Sassuolo, Museo Bertozzi & Casoni
Sassuolo (MO), Cavallerizza Ducale Sassuolo, Museo Bertozzi & Casoni

Where: Via Racchetta, 4 – Sassuolo (MO)

The Bertozzi & Casoni Museum is the first permanent exhibition of contemporary art dedicated to ceramics, housed in the hall on the ground floor of the Cavallerizza Ducale di Sassuolo, a recently recovered space located a few steps from the majestic Ducal Palace.

On display the works created by two internationally renowned artists, Giampaolo Bertozzi and Stefano Dal Monte Casoni, who see ceramics as a possibility for a painted sculpture and, between compositional surrealism and formal hyperrealism, investigate the waste of contemporary society.

MAMbo (Bologna)

Mambo (Bologna)
MAMbo (Bologna) | Credit:

Where: Via Don Giovanni Minzoni, 14 – Bologna (BO)

The MAMbo – Museum of Modern Art of Bologna traces the history of Italian art from the Second World War until today and is located in the heart of the Manifattura delle Arti, the cultural district of the city.

The history of the Museum is inextricably linked to the Gallery of Modern Art of Bologna, institution to which MAMbo owes its origins and on which its continuous cultural research is based on.

In addition to the remarkable permanent collection, which currently consists of nine thematic areas, the Museum proposes temporary exhibitions of unmissable importance.

MAST (Bologna)

MAST (BO) | Credit: Bologna Welcome

Where: Via Speranza, 42 – Bologna (BO)

The MAST (also acronym of Manifattura di Arti, Sperimentazione e Tecnologia) is an exhibition space built on an abandoned industrial area right next to the historic Bologna’s factory GD, a few kilometers from the historic center.

The aim of this spectacular cultural center is to highlight the evolutionary processes that affected the world of work and the concept of entrepreneurship with the coming of the new technologies, through a path full of devices and multimedia tools.

The space consists of an interactive area of experimentation and play, and an area that hosts periodic exhibitions of industrial photography, including the Biennial of Photography on Industry and Work FotoIndustria.

Carlo Zauli Museum (Faenza)

Faenza (RA), Museo Carlo Zauli
Faenza (RA), Museo Carlo Zauli

Where: Via della Croce, 6 – Bologna (BO)

The Carlo Zauli Museum in Faenza is a cultural center that since 2002 has explored and spread contemporary art in all its languages, with particular attention to ceramics, the main material of Faenza’s tradition.

The museum is located in the historic center of this little city of Romagna, inside the spaces owned by the master Carlo Zauli, one of the most representative sculptors of the 20th Century.

In its spaces it houses two permanent collections: one is dedicated to Carlo Zauli, the other one is composed of the works of contemporary artists.

The Carlo Zauli Archive, an integral part of the Museum, can be also consulted online.

If you know other contemporary museums in Emilia-Romagna, please leave your comment (thanks!).


Elisa Mazzini

Social Media Manager for @inEmiliaRomagna and full-time mom.

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