Parma University’s CSAS (Centro Studi e Archivio della Comunicazione, Italian for “Communication Research Center and Archives”) was founded in 1968 by art historian Carlo Arturo Quintavalle. On May 23, 2915, it inaugurated a new Museum located inside the Cistercian Abby of Valserena – also known as Paradigna Charterhouse – build between the 13th and 14th centuries with an official seal of approval by Boniface VIII, and deconsecrated in the Napoleonic Age. The Museum gathers the largest Italian visual and design collection of the 20th century, and makes it available to everyone.
The collection flaunts staggering figures: 1,700 paintings, 300 sculptures, 17,000 drawings in the “Art” section; 300 collections and approximately 9 million images in the “Photography” section; a total of 70,000 pieces between magazines, sketches, models, dresses, and illustrations in the “Fashion” section; 1.5 million drawings, 800 mockups, and 2,000 objects in the “Design” section; 3,000 illustrations, 11,000 satirical and comic drawings, 7,000 poster sketches, and 2,000 cinema posters in the “Media” section.
Under a Gothic church’s magnificent cross vault, in the Columns Hall and Underground Hall, now you can see works of art and design, photography and architecture, including some by Dorothea Lange, Giò Ponti, Tullio Pericoli, Giorgio Armani, Pier Luigi Nervi, Achille Castiglioni, Lucio Fontana, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Ettore Sottsass, and Mario Schifano.
In other words, you can find so much of what has made the 1900s so interesting, loved, and unforgettable.