The Museo Arte Gallarate or MAGA is a museum of modern and contemporary art in Gallarate, in the province of Varese in Lombardy in northern Italy. It was founded in 1966 as the Civica Galleria d’Arte Moderna di Gallarate to house works purchased from, and donated by, artists participating in the Premio Gallarate, a national art competition. It was renamed in 2010 and moved to a new building. The museum holds over 5000 works and the collection includes paintings, drawings, sculptures, graphic design works, photographs, and installations by artists including Carlo Carrà, Loris Cecchini, Gianni Colombo, Mario Bardi, Lucio Fontana, Ennio Morlotti, Bruno Munari and Studio Azzurro. Contemporary art works are housed in the Palazzo Leone Da Perego, in Legnano, some 15 km to the south-east of Gallarate.
The Civica Galleria d’Arte Moderna di Gallarate was founded in 1966 to house works acquired – either by donation or by purchase – from the first eight editions of the Premio Gallarate (in full, the Premio Nazionale Arti Visive Città di Gallarate), which had been founded sixteen years earlier, in 1950.:52 The GAM became a nationally recognized museum at the beginning of the 1980s.
In December 2009 the City of Gallarate established the Foundation of the Civica Galleria d’Arte Moderna di Gallarate to administer the Civica Galleria d’Arte Moderna (Municipal Gallery of Modern Art) of Gallarate, on the basis of an agreement signed by the Culture Minister and the Mayor of Gallarate. The founding partners were the Ministry of Heritage and Culture and the City of Gallarate, with the Lombardy Region and the Province of Varese as institutional partners. The mission of the Foundation is to manage the activities of the museum: the conservation and enhancement of the works in the collection, organization of exhibitions and cultural events and creative activities and training for schools and adult audiences. Following this institutional development, the Museum, historically known as the Galleria Civica d’ArteModerna di Gallarate, on March 19, 2010, acquired the name of the MAGA Museo Arte Gallarate and inaugurates the new museum in Via De Magri, specially designed to showcase its collections and cultural activities.
On March 19, 2010, the grand opening of the current Museo MAGA began with an exhibition dedicated to Amedeo Modigliani. The newly relocated museum was given the name Museo MAGA upon moving to its newly constructed premises. The modern makeover was completed to create a relationship with younger visitors and a more contemporary approach to the appreciation of the arts. In November 2015, the Museo MAGA expanded into Palazzo Leone da Perego in the center of Legnano, Lombardy, Italy.
In more than sixtyyears since its foundation, the MA*GA has organized the everydaymuseum activities and twenty-five editions of the Gallarate Awards,paying particular attention to a variety of artistic languages from aperspective which gives prominence to the study of the mostsignificant contemporary expressions. Among the themes of the mostrecent editions we would like to mention: TerzoPaesaggio. Fotografia Italiana Oggi (2009), LongPlay (2012) and Urban Mining/Rigenerazioni Urbane(2016).
The main building
The museum provides a space on the first floor for educational and artistic workshops. The museum is used as a study area by teenagers and adults. It offers wi-fi and a bar.
Palazzo Leone Da Perego
This structure was built in the second half of the thirteenth century by an Archiepiscopal Court. Two important buildings were built on the ruins of the castle of Cotta by the Archbishops of Milan: The Palace of Leone da Perego and The Palace of Ottone Visconti. The Archbishop’s residences surrounded both buildings. In 2016, little remains of the original building due to radical restorations since 1898.
The Museum was born in 1966, following the acquisitions of the National Visual Arts Prize City of Gallarate established in 1949 and still active today, it preserves more than 5,500 works including paintings, sculptures, installations, artist books, photographs, design objects and works. the graphics that offer visitors a rich and varied view of the main artistic guidelines from the mid- twentieth century to the present day, with openings on international contemporary research.
The exhibition follows a chronological and thematic criterion around three fundamental nuclei: art in Italy between the 1920s and 1950s, the variations of informal painting and spatialist research, and the developments of art from the 1970s to the days ours, frequently renewing itself through the exhibition of rotating works that deepen the themes of temporary exhibitions.
Among the artists in the collection are Carlo Ramous, Carlo Carrà, Cesare Berlingeri, Mario Sironi, Mario Bardi, Renato Guttuso, Ernesto Treccani, Emilio Vedova, Ennio Morlotti, Giuseppe Santomaso, Afro Basaldella, Ferdinando Chevrier, Atanasio Soldati, Enrico Prampolini, Bruno Munari, Fausto Melotti, Lucio Fontana, Dadamaino, Gianni Colombo, Piero Gilardi, Studio Azzurro, Enrica Borghi, Adrian Paci, Ottonella Mocellin and Nicola Pellegrini, Chiara Dynys, Bianco-Valente and Alice Cattaneo, to which are added the new acquisitions including Massimo Bartolini, Marcello Simonetta, Alessandra Spranzi, Moira Ricci, Antonio Del Donno who testify to the dynamism of an ever growing collection.
The MAGA Museum Collection
The collections of the Maga Museum house the following noteworthy works of art:
Atanasio Soldati, Self Portrait (Self-portrait), 1930
Mario Sironi, Alpino and Nave (Alpine and Ship), 1939
Gianni Monnet, Construction, 1946
Ennio Morlotti, La pace (Peace), 1949
Emilio Vedova, Bump (The bump), 1949
Silvio Consadori, Composition (Composition), 1950
Bruno Munari, Project for negative-positive (1950)
Mario Radice, pentagonal composition (Pentagonal composition), 1950
Angelo Del Bon, Fiori (Flowers), 1950
Raffaele De Grada, San Gimignano (St Gimignano), 1951
Atanasio Soldati, Ambiguity (1951)
Dorfles, ambiguous images (Ambiguous figures), 1951
Afro Basaldella, A De Falla, 1952
Nino Di Salvatore, live spatial structure (Spatial structure in tension), 1952
Augusto Garau, Composition, Composition, 1952
Aldo Carpi, On the Beach (On the beach), 1953
Carlo Carrà, Firenze (Florence), 1953
Bruno Cassinari woman in purple (Woman in purple), 1953
Gino Meloni, The rooster (The Rooster), 1954
Ernesto Treccani, The accusation (The prosecution), 1955
Ennio Morlotti, Paesaggio (Landscape), 1955
Cesare Peverelli, Naissance, 1958
Emilio Scanavino, Immediately before (Immediately before), 1960
Dadamaino, Volume to offset modules, 1960
Lucio Fontana, Concetto Spaziale (Spatial Concept), 1960
Giuseppe Guerreschi, invaded City (Invaded city), 1960
David Boriani, magnetic surface (Magnetic surface), 1961
In the specialist library, in addition to the most up-to-date volumes on contemporary research, the archives of the MAC, Madì, Mail art and the National Visual Arts City of Gallarate Prize can be consulted.
Exhibition and cultural activities
A rich program of temporary exhibitions dedicated to the various areas of artistic research is part of the project to promote contemporary art. The museum has always developed and studied two directions: the historical-critical reinterpretation of the twentieth century through exhibition projects that highlight authors and important paths for the most recent past and support for the most current research, which continue the objective of continuous updating of the museum heritage. The first case includes the anthological exhibitions dedicated to Amedeo Modigliani and Alberto Giacomettiaccompanied by catalogs with critical and scientific writings on artists.
In recent years, moreover, MAGA has opened up more and more to current trends, also focusing on international art and close contemporaneity, within this direction the exhibition dedicated to Marcelì Antunez Roca, to Carsten Nicolai, the collective When the Impossible Happens and Long Play, 2011 edition of the National Visual Arts Prize in Gallarate which from the 1950s to today contributes to the museum’s exhibition activity and the increase in the permanent collection on a multi-annual basis. Next to the exhibition calendar and connected with this, that of events; in fact, MAGA pays particular attention to the care of events aimed at the interaction between visual arts, music, theater and dance, in the belief that the contamination between languages is a very rich place for research, meeting and exchange and art intended as experience direct.
Examples were the artistic project Jesus by Nico Vascellari (2011), the festivalPerformances with Ryoji Ikeda (2011) and Foreign Languages with Christian Fennesz and Thomas Köner (2009), and the events that are organized on the occasion of the day of the contemporary AMACI.
On February 14, 2013, a fire developed while repairs were being made to the roof of the structure and to avoid damage to the works on display, these were temporarily moved to the museum’s warehouses.
On April 19, 2015 the museum reopens all spaces on the occasion of the exhibition MISSONI, L’ARTE IL COLORE, an event dedicated to the history of the fashion house and the dialogue between the work of Ottavio Missoni and the Italian art scene of the 20th century.
In December 2017 he inaugurates the first exhibition in Europe Italy dedicated to the pictorial work of the American writer Jack Kerouac.
The Maga Educational Department was founded in 1998 with the aim of mainly welcoming the public of schools and bringing them closer to art in an essential and delicate moment in the formation of the individual, when he begins to nourish his critical gaze on things. With the awareness that the encounter with the work is an opportunity for discovery in all ages, the department over the years has expanded its users in many other directions, specifying its proposals for different age groups and audiences. Thus, in addition to educational workshops with schools of all levels, the department organizes introductory courses in contemporary art, specialist conferences and thematic debates, studying and planning new proposals year after year, theoretical and practical courses, workshops dedicated to the artists in training, university internships, alternating school-work projects that aim to bring young people closer to the world of professions in the artistic field, cultural trips, events and special projects, welcoming over 10,000 visitors every year. Common to all the most varied proposals is the starting point of the training activities: the relationship with the work and the sense drifts it generates even in our most ordinary daily life.
European Photograph Festival
MAGA hosted the European Photograph Festival in Pallazo Leone da Perego of Legnano, from 5 March to 10 April 2016. This exhibition was organized by Claudio Argentiero, and exhibited art pieces both from national and international photographers, including: Michael Akerman, Raffaele Montepaone, Giovanni Sesia, Giovanni Mereghetti and Cecile Decorniquet. This exhibition developed Palazzo Leone da Perego as a regional focal point for artistic photography.
CAM (Concrete Art Movement)
This project is dedicated to “The harmony of the form, Angelo Bozzola and the Concrete Art Movement (1948-1958)”. The exhibition is dedicated to the CAM because the MAGA museum has the historic archive and the important collection that belongs to the Foundation of Angelo Bozzola of Galliate. In the Palazzo Leone da Perego there are more than 75 art works by the artist Angelo Bozzola, and additional works by Bruno Munari, Gianni Monnet, Gillo Dorfles, Atanasio Soldati, and Augusto Garau.