After Half A Century Of Delays, A Contemporary Art Museum Opens In Milan

MILAN (AP) — The Brera Modern will be inaugurated in the fall 52 years and 39 Italian governments after it was first envisioned, officials announced Monday.

The new museum just a few doors from Milan’s Brera Painting Gallery will house more than 100 contemporary art works that belong to Brera’s collection that have mostly been relegated to storage.

The project has been plagued by numerous delays, most recently the discovery of asbestos and problems with the conditioning system.

The new museum is set to officially open on Dec. 7, when the eyes of the European cultural elite are already on Milan for the annual gala premiere of La Scala’s opera season.

The honor falls to the new Brera director, Angelo Crespi, who took over in February as part of moves by the far-right-led government to put Italians at the head of key cultural institutions. His predecessory, British Canadian historian James Bradburne who had pushed to finish the Modern, had completed two four-year terms and was ineligible to continue.

The Brera, established in 1809, contains masterpieces by Canova, Caravaggio, Raphael and Hayez. The new museum in the nearby Palazzo Citterio has already drawn 30,000 visitors over three weeks for a temporary exhibition. Concerts are planned in the outdoor garden this summer.

The Brera, with the addition of the Modern, is expected to reach 500,000 visitors this year, up from 466,709 last year and in continual increase from pre-pandemic highs of around 410,000.

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