MILAN — These are tough times for museums and theaters, impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and as a consequence, social distancing, but Bulgari continues to show its support of young talents in the arts through the collaboration with the MAXXI Museum of 21st Century Arts in Rome.

Site-specific works by the three finalists of the second MAXXI Bulgari prize —  Giulia Cenci, Tomaso De Luca and Renato Leotta — were presented on Oct. 27 and will be on display at the museum from Oct. 28 to March 7.

The finalists, said Jean-Christophe Babin, chief executive officer of Bulgari, “offer us a reading of the world we live in through their very personal language and the use of highly innovative expressive techniques. Their works invite us to reflect on universal themes such as change, creative regeneration, an alternative conception of space and time.”

Cenci offers a warning about the future of humanity through her zoomorphic sculptures; an ode to freedom and diversity is conveyed by De Luca’s video installation, and Leotta’s work reflects the suspended time of the Sacred Area of Largo Argentina, an open-air square excavation in Rome dating back to the Republican age, between the 3rd century BC and the 4th century AD.

“Our work alongside MAXXI is a way to offer the museum and Rome the most precious gifts: the audacity and free spirit of the protagonists of tomorrow’s art,” said Babin.

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Three editions of the prize, to be given to a young artist who is Italian or has worked in Italy in the past two years, aged 45 at the most, have been planned so far on a biennial basis. The first was launched in 2018, followed by the current edition, and one expected in 2022. The prize aims to support the museum’s efforts to spotlight young contemporary artists.

The three finalists were chosen by an international jury composed of Hou Hanru, artistic director at MAXXI; Bartolomeo Pietromarchi, director of MAXXI Arte; Manuel Borja-Villel, director of the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid;  Emma Lavigne, president of the Palais de Tokyo, and Victoria Noorthoorn, director of the Buenos Aires Museum of Modern Art.

In March, by the end of the exhibition, the same international jury will choose the winner, whose work will become part of the MAXXI Collection.

The MAXXI Bulgari Prize is “one of the most important events to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the museum, and is part of the broader project dedicated to contemporary Italian creativity,” said Giovanna Melandri, president of Fondazione MAXXI.

Melandri touted the Rome-based jewelry house as “a company that has always been committed to research and experimentation and our strategic partner since 2018, to young artists, because supporting young talent means investing in the creativity of our time and our future, which is a mission shared by MAXXI and Bulgari. The intense, evocative works of the three finalists reflect on time and the anxieties of today’s society and explore the future.”

Designed by Zaha Hadid and dedicated to contemporary art and architecture, the MAXXI houses permanent works by Anish Kapoor and Sol LeWitt, and displays more than 300 pieces by artists and photographers such as Michelangelo Pistoletto, Alighiero Boetti, Lucio Fontana, Andy Warhol, Gino De Dominicis, Anselm Kiefer and Francesco Vezzoli.

Art and design are a focus for Bulgari, which in September, as reported, said it was growing its social initiatives within the United States, extending its Arte di Bulgari program with Save the Children to reach students in California.

Arte di Bulgari, a program established in partnership with Save the Children in 2019, aims to offer art enrichment to students in under-served communities. The initiative began in Houston and now aims to reach an additional 500 students, ages five to 11, across San Bernardino County, Calif.

Students will receive art supply kits and enroll in virtual classes related to painting, drawing and sculpture.

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