In conjunction with ARCOMadrid 2017, the Museo Reina Sofía sets up an encounter between different professionals from European and Latin American museum institutions. The aim is to create synergies, promote joint institutional projects and put forth a reflection on the role of museums at the present time.
Today, contemporary art museums face new challenges arising from a globalised society in which the market plays down the legitimising role of the museum institution with respect to the artwork. This premise becomes clear in certain systems of funding which favour the private over the public, and with the ensuing proliferation of auctions, art fairs and other international events that champion private collecting. On the other side, and a by-product of the above, the logic of cultural tourism and the international movement of audiences and viewers imposes visibility as a condition of affirming the museum, reducing its chances of working on key yet also largely invisible aspects, for instance research and the production of knowledge.
Indeed, research is a vital issue in the operation of the contemporary art museum, encompassing diverse and vitally important areas such as the study of collections, the exploration of local and international art contexts, the coordination of internal departments, the programming of public activities and the drawing up of collaborative projects between different institutions. Nevertheless, in view of the constant pressure museums are under, tasks which produce a visible, fast and quantifiable return often take precedence over research. Thus, the event holds sway in the process, imposing a permanent demand of the present and leaving no room for the characteristic temporalities and methodologies in research.
Another aforementioned aspect is the production of knowledge, and its necessity in addressing the role contemporary art museums play in society and the strategies they can adopt to advocate frameworks of critical and collective reflection outside of marketing and performance. Currently, the possibility that new walls diminish and isolate art knowledge and artistic practices is a risk illustrated by recent events such as the US elections, the referendum on Brexit or the resurgence of xenophobic ideas in different parts of the world. This then raises the question: Can the museum be a place of discussion and action on these issues?
The 6th Encounter between European and Latin American Museums seeks to reflect on these unanswered questions by confronting ideas and practices, identifying problems and possibilities, building common projects and opening new perspectives of doing in museum institutions.
João Fernandes. Artistic Director, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid
Nekane Aramburu. Director, Es Baluard, Palma de Mallorca
Vicenzo de Bellis. Curator, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
Catherine David. Deputy Director, National Museum of Modern Art - Centre Pompidou, Paris
Mela Dávila. Director of Public Activities, Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid
Oier Etxeberria Bereziartua. Responsable of Artistic Projects, Tabakalera Centro Internacional de Cultura Contemporánea, San Sebastián
Gabriel Pérez Barreiro. Director, Colección Patricia Phelps Cisneros, New York
Juan Gaitán. Director, Museo Tamayo, Mexico City
Julieta González. Chief Curator and Interim Director, Colección Jumex Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City
Inti Guerrero. Estrellita B. Brodsky Adjunct Curator of Latin American Art, Tate Modern, London
Nydia Gutiérrez. Chief Curator, Museo de Antioquía, Medellín
Marta Mestre. Curator, Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Inhotim, Brumadinho
Cuauhtémoc Medina. Chief Curator, Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC), Mexico City
Adriano Pedrosa. Artistic Director, Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP), São Paulo
Carlos Prieto del Campo. Director of Studies Centre, Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid
Ane Rodríguez Armendariz. Director, Tabakalera Centro Internacional de Cultura Contemporánea, San Sebastián
Dirk Snauwaert. Director, Wiels. Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels