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Monster Bucharest palace plays host to new contemporary art museum

UPI News Service, 12/29/2004 

Romania's new National Museum of Contemporary Art opened this week in the vast Palace of the Parliament built by communist dictator Nicolai Ceausescu.

The palace was left unfinished when Ceausescu was executed in 1989 and is only gradually being finished and filled with art.

Mihai Oroveanu, director of the museum, opened galleries on four floors of the palace this week, representing a modest 4 percent of its interior space. He said the galleries will exhibit young Romanian artists and host traveling exhibitions from foreign museums.

"This museum has had a long gestation, and although I wouldn't say there is a real cultural policy in Romania, nevertheless the government of Prime Minister Adrian Nastase, who is an art collector himself, has put money into the project," Oroveanu said.

Ceausescu bulldozed 7,000 homes and 26 churches in southern Bucharest to make way for the neo-Baroque monstrosity begun in 1984. It is the second largest building in the world after the Pentagon building outside Washington, D.C.

The Romanian Parliament finally moved into the building in 1994 and voted to create a museum of contemporary art four years later.

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Copyright 2004 by United Press International

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