Marcia Hafif. Roma 1961-1969

Marcia Hafif, Roman windows, 1969. Courtesy Marcia Hafif Studio


From 30 Maggio 2024 to 25 Agosto 2024


Place: MACRO – Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome

Address: Via Nizza 138

Times: Tuesday – Friday: 12 pm – 7 pm / Saturday and Sunday: 10 am – 7 pm Closed on Mondays


  • Azienda Speciale Palaexpo
  • Assessorato alla Cultura di Roma Capitale

Ticket price: Full price: € 6,00 / Reduction and special rates: € 4,00 Free entry on Tuesdays

Telefono per informazioni: +39 06 696271

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MACRO – Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome dedicates a retrospective exhibition to the US painter Marcia Hafif (Pomona, 1929 – Laguna Beach, 2018), telling the story of her relationship with Rome, and its artistic community, through works created during her long stay in the city.
Hafif arrived in Italy in 1961 on a research trip to Florence, eventually settling in Rome where she remained almost continuously until 1969. Thanks to an avowedly naive approach to both the city and its art-historical tradition, Hafif was able to emancipate herself from some of the influences and constraints she had felt in California, pursuing with renewed freedom her abstract—or more accurately «concrete»—pictorial research, a term she used to refer to her own work. She settled in Via del Babuino and hung out at Caffè Rosati, quickly integrating herself into the artistic community and establishing friendships with Pietro Consagra, Tano Festa, Franco Angeli, Francesco Lo Savio, Toti Scialoja, and especially Carla Accardi. In 1964 she opened her first solo exhibition at Gian Tomaso Liverani's Galleria La Salita.
“Daily I visited churches or simply walked in the city taking in images from everywhere” said Hafif, who was fascinated by the colors and shapes of street signs and billboards, as well as by the inlaid marble of churches recalling some of the geometries that had already appeared in her California paintings. She bought enamel and wall paints in hardware stores, appreciating a different Italian sensibility in the formulation of colors for commercial use. However, it was not until 1964, with the commercialization of acrylic paint, that Hafif found an ideal medium that would accompany her production recurrently. All these elements became part of the visual vocabulary of the artist's Roman season.
The exhibition presents works on canvas and vinyl, made between 1964 and 1968 and characterized by a style that Hafif described as «Pop-Minimal», in which geometric patterns gradually give way to the hill shapes, among the most representative features of the artist's Roman period. Four series of black-and-white photographs—including Roman Shopkeeper (1968), Italian Party (1968) and Roman Windows (1969) exhibited for the first time—complete the exhibition, offering a novel look at Hafif's photographic research, which began in Rome with the help of her friend Tony Vaccaro.
Marcia Woods was born in 1929 in Pomona, California. After graduating from Pomona College in 1951 and marrying Herbert Hafif she planned a year-long trip to Florence in 1961. However, Hafif settled in Rome, where she remained for almost eight years. Returning to California in 1969 and leaving painting for a time to experiment with film, photography, and sound installation, she completed an MFA degree at the University of California at Irvine. In 1971, Hafif moved to New York and gradually returned to painting. In the 1980s and 1990s she continued painting, establishing relationships with galleries in Europe, first in Munich, then Dusseldorf, and eventually Vienna, London, Paris, and elsewhere. Hafif’s work has been exhibited in numerous international institutions, including: MoMA PS1, New York (1990), Haus für Konstruktive und Konkrete Kunst, Zurich (1995), FRAC Bourgogne, Dijon (2000), MAMCO Genève, Geneva (2001), Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach (2015), Kunsthaus Baselland, Basel (2017), Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, St. Gallen (2017), Lenbachhaus, Munich (2018), Pomona College Museum, Claremont (2018), and MAMCO Genève, Geneva (2019). Hafif passed away in Laguna Beach, California in 2018.
The exhibition is promoted by Azienda Speciale Palaexpo and Assessorato alla Cultura di Roma Capitale.

Opening 30 May, from 6 pm to 9 pm