Under the looming threat of the museum’s closure by the Italian Ministry of Culture, Fondazione MAXXI’s president, Pio Baldi, has announced his resignation. He helped open the institution only two years ago. Baldi, who has worked for the Ministry for 30 years, will be replaced by a government appointee still to be announced.
MAXXI’s troubles came to light last month, when the museum’s proposed $13-million budget was rejected by the government. Following a 43% cut in federal funding, the museum’s 2011 budget saw a deficit of over a million dollars, a figure that is projected by the ministry to grow to $14 million over the next three years.
Museum officials countered these claims, citing a budget surplus from 2009 and 2010 that more than made up for the shortfall, which they blamed entirely on the government cuts. “The 2011 budget is without holes,” said Baldi during an April press conference. “It’s wrong of them to confuse the deficit with the needs of the future.” Unmoved, the Ministry of Culture has moved to institute a special administration at the museum, nominating its general secretary, Antonia Pasqua Recchia, as the commissioner.
Baldi says in a statement, “I would like to wish MAXXI and its new leader the greatest possible success and above all I would wish the same for all those colleagues who over the last few years have worked with me with passion and spirit of sacrifice to realise and create this wonderful Italian adventure projected towards the future.”
Despite the institution’s current struggles, the museum’s press office assures A.i.A. that “MAXXI is not facing closure. The Museum will continue its activity during the compulsory administration.”