MADRE – Museo d’Arte contemporanea DonnaREgina

Why it is being nominated (according to Museums & the Web):

  • The deepest contemporary arts database on line.
  • An amazing virtual tour of entire museum and single exhibitions.

I visited this museum a few years back and loved it, so, when I saw it on the list, I immediately chose it for this evaluation. After a not so brief distraction from the virtual tour, I clicked on the “Authors and Works” section under “The Digital Museum” heading, a heading I was happy/surprised to see. Presumably, the list and accompanying photos are all the artists in their permanent collection; however, this was unclear. The information on each artist varied significantly and not all of it was available in both English and Italian. Searching through several of the artists though, I learned that it is more or less a list of contemporary artists, only some of whom have been exhibited at MADRE. Also inconsistent was the information available for listed works of each artist. However, when there was a large amount available, it was well presented. When a piece had been exhibited at MADRE, the user could easily link to other pieces from the same exhibit, giving a good idea (though not a visual) of what the exhibition would have consisted of.
After having browsed the artists, I decided to perform a few searches to ascertain its functionality. My search for “performance art” returned a blank screen. I did not even receive a no results found sort of statement. This was especially surprising due to the inclusion of Yoko Ono and Joseph Beuys, among others, on the “Authors and Works” page. After performing two more searches–for Fluxus, which appeared in Yoko Ono’s bio, and for Joseph Beuys–both of which returned the same blank screen, I decided the site search function must not be working currently.
Understanding that any issues I found with MADRE’s site could be related to my evaluating its English version, I switched to the Italian to peruse and perform more searches. I only wish my Italian were better. The site did seem more complete in its original iteration. This potential translation glitch notwithstanding, the overall look of the site is very appealing. I felt the interactivity was strong and very approachable. However, I also understand that I am extremely biased toward contemporary art and any scholarly as well as visually appealing presentation of it.