The latest entry in the "cool art museum category" is the new Maxxi museum of contemporary art in Rome, by Zaha Hadid. It was just opened for an "architectural preview," even though there won't be any art on display for six more months. Which tells you right there what these flashy new museums are about -- they are one off giant sculptures and centers of urban artistic cool, with exhibitions of other art as a sort of afterthought. Can anybody name a work of art that is displayed at Gehry's Guggenheim museum in Bilbao?
This new building strikes me as dreary on the oustide -- Nicholas Ouroussoff called it "surprisingly sedate" in the NY Times -- but the interior views are actually quite striking. Obviously nobody can tell yet if it will be a good place to look at art, but I am favorably impressed. Slide show here.