In conjunction with ARCOmadrid 2020, the Museo Reina Sofía has organised an encounter among different professionals from museum institutions, both in Europe and Latin America, in order to create synergies, promote institutional collaboration and set forth a critical reflection on the role museums must play in relation to the society that promotes them.
At present, we are witnessing a process of wholesale historical redefinition that affects museums, their public roles, responsibilities, powers and conditions. There is now a pressing need to rethink the very concept of the museum, despite it being addressed at different points across its own arc. Far from reaching a new, agreed definition, the ICOM Conference in Kyoto, held only a few months ago, has shown that there is still much to debate.
Starting from different shared experiences, this forum seeks to encourage dialogue around today’s museum institution. Such experiences stem from other heterogeneous contexts and their approaches put forward alternatives to the museum model built from the paradigm of Western modernity. The goal is to activate and inhabit it from the diversity afforded from other possible functionalities.
The programme is thus articulated around four key ideas that shape themed blocks: the museum understood as a place of encounter, as subject to questioning, as an articulating agent in the environment and as a starting point for creation and development.
The first block considers the museum as a sounding board, public forum, refuge, with enquiries made from inside and outside the actual institution, opening up gaps that make it porous and permeable to divergent demands and uses, and broader than those which conserve and exhibit collections or resume bygone discourses, thus continuing along the lines of that extolled in critical museology.
A second axis underpins the idea of decentrality, calling upon the possibility of affecting and questioning museums from decolonial and feminist approaches, thereby making the geopolitical centre/periphery dichotomy difficult, altering its one-way order and pointing to certain positions currently subject to transformation. What does it mean to conceive of decolonised, depatriarchalized museums?
Thirdly, the encounter assembles different art projects which have approached the notion of a museum through the appropriation of form, history and museum space, with the aim of helping to forge resignifications and explore untapped potential.
The final part looks to the idea of a museum acting outside itself; that is, exploring the upsurge of the modern idea of a museum from practices which have forced a rethinking of its uses and borders, not only acting on its immediate surroundings but, moreover, exercising a social role outside its customary sphere of influence.
Gloria Cortés Aliaga is a curator at Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (MNBA) in Santiago de Chile. As an art historian and academic, she has curated exhibitions that include (en)clave Masculino (2016), Desacatos. Prácticas artísticas femeninas (1835-1939) (2017), Metalmorfosis. Capítulo Chileno del National Women in the Arts (2018), De aquí a la modernidad (2018), and, more recently, Yo soy mi propia musa. Pintoras latinoamericanas de entreguerras (2019) and Lo que el alma hace al cuerpo, el artista hace al pueblo. Laura Rodig (2020). Moreover, she specialises in studies from a gender and feminism perspective, and has explored the theme of shaping modernity in Chile and its socio-cultural scope in visual politics.
Max Jorge Hinderer Cruz is director of the Museo Nacional de Arte in La Paz and a writer, curator and philosopher. Between 2008 and 2011 he curated the exhibition project and associated publication Principio Potosí/The Potosí Principle (Museo Reina Sofía/Haus der Kulturen der Welt Berlin/Museo Nacional de Arte and MUSEF La Paz), with Alice Creischer and Andreas Siekmann. From 2014 to 2016, he coordinated the public seminar Micropolíticas from São Paulo and the programme Ações Culturais Autônomas (PACA), alongside Suely Rolnik, Tatiana Roque and Amilcar Packer. He is also co-author of the book Hélio Oiticica y Neville D'Almeida: Block-Experiments in Cosmococa - Program in Progress (Afterall/MIT Press, 2013), with Sabeth Buchmann.
Inés Katzenstein is a curator of Latin American art and director of the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Research Institute for the Study of Art from Latin America, MoMA, New York. She has curated exhibitions such as Liliana Porter: Photography and Fiction (2003); David Lamelas, Extranjero, Foreigner, Ètranger, Aüslander (2005); and Marcelo Pombo, un artista del pueblo (2015), and edited Listen, Here, Now! Argentine Art of the Sixties: Writings of the Avant-Garde (MoMA, 2004). She is the author of Liliana Porter in Conversation with Inés Katzenstein (Fundación Cisneros, 2013). From 2004 to 2008 she worked as a curator at Malba-Fundación Costantini, Museo de Arte Latinoamericano in Buenos Aires, and in 2008 founded the Art Department at the Torcuato Di Tella University, which she directed until 2018.
Magda Lipska is a curator at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, curating exhibitions that include Lest the Two Seas Meet (2015), Danwen Xing. A Personal Diary (2017), Niepodległe: Women, Independence and National Discourse (2018) and Hope is of a Different Colour (2019). She is also the co-founder, along with Annett Busch and Marie-Hélène Gutberlet, of the research platform Woman on Aeroplanes, which explores how women have been politically and artistically underrepresented in African liberation movements.
Miguel López is head curator of Theoretical Philosophy in San José (Costa Rica). As a writer, researcher and curator of contemporary art, his practice primarily focuses on collective processes, experimental art, feminist art and themes related to gender and sexuality intersected by processes of political memory. He is the author of numerous publications on contemporary Peruvian and Latin American art, and is the founding member of the Southern Conceptualisms Network. In 2016, he won the Vision Curatorial Award from ICI - Independent Curators.
Pablo Martínez is director of Public Programmes at MACBA (Barcelona). As an educator and researcher, he has been in charge of CA2M Public Activities, coordinated education programmes at the Museo Reina Sofía, and worked as an educator at Patio Herreriano, and assistant lecturer in Contemporary Art in the Fine Arts Department at the Complutense University of Madrid. Furthermore, he has occupied research residencies at Vrije University, Amsterdam, Tate Britain and the Bronx Museum of the Arts, and is the editor of, with Yayo Aznar, Arte actual and editor-in-chief of the research journal on art and visual culture, Re-visiones.
Cuauhtémoc Medina is head curator at Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico. A graduate from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and with a PhD in Art History and Theory from the University of Essex, in 2012 he won the Walter Hopps Award for Curatorial Achievement from the Menil Foundation. He was also a member of the Curare Critical Space for the Arts and the independent critics’ group Teratoma A.C., as well as associate curator of Latin American art in the Tate Gallery collections, curator of Manifesta 9: The Deep of the Modern, in Genk (Belgium), collaborating with Dawn Ades and Katerina Gregos, and head curator of the 12th Shanghai Biennale, with María Belén Sáez de Ibarra, Yukie Kamiya and Wang Weiwei.
André Mesquita is curator of Mediation and Public Programmes at the Museu de Arte de São Paulo, MASP, (Brazil). He holds a PhD in Social History and is the author of Insurgências poéticas: arte ativista e ação coletiva (2011), Esperar não é saber: arte entre o silêncio e a evidência (2015) and Mapas dissidentes: contracatografia, poder e resistência (2019), and is co-author of Desinventario: esquirlas de Tucumán Arde en el archivo de Graciela Carnevale (2015). He was part of the curatorial team Losing the Human Form. A Seismic Image of the 1980s for Latin America (Museo Reina Sofia, 2012) and Politicization of Friendship (Moderna Galerija/Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, Ljubljana, 2014). Furthermore, he is a member of the Southern Conceptualisms Network and explores the relationships between art, politics and activism.
Gustavo Ortiz Serrano is director of Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Bogotá. He was chairperson of ICOM Colombia between 2008 and 2010, and vice chairman of the same organisation for Latin America and the Caribbean between 2010 and 2013. A visual artist, university lecturer, curator and writer, and author of publications that include La contemporaneidad en Colombia (2006) and Cultura con significado social (2011), he has collaborated with journals like ARCO News, Revista Española de Museología and the Journal of Latin American Studies from the University of Georgia. Moreover, his contemporary art portal (http://digitalconcept.blogspot.com) won the prize for best blog in Colombia, awarded by Cámara Colombiana de Informática (the Colombian IT Chamber).
Marian Pastor Roces is an independent curator and writer. She is the founder of TAO INC, a corporation that develops exhibition, museography and urban planning projects. Her curatorial career includes participation in creating major Philippine museums of social history and contemporary art, for instance the Museum of Indigenous Knowledge in Manila. She is also a member of the expert group Brain Trust Inc., which is committed to the Mindanao Peace and Development Plan. Her critical vision of Biennials in Over Here: International Perspectives on Art and Culture, edited by Gerardo Mosquera and Jean Fisher (MIT Press, 2004), became a benchmark text in the study of management models.
Carla Pinochet holds a degree in anthropology from the University of Chile and a PhD in Anthropological Science from the Metropolitan Autonomous University of Mexico. She carries out her work as a researcher and teacher in anthropology, art and cultural practices in Latin America, and is currently an academic in the Anthropology Department of the Alberto Hurtado University, and head researcher in the project FONDECYT Practices of Leisure and cognitive work: a study of the creative, artistic and intellectual sectors.
Natalia de la Rosa holds a PhD from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, with her interests centred on modern and contemporary Mexican art, muralism, public art, and avant-garde and post-avant-garde theory in Latin America. She curated the collection of Mexico’s Museum of Modern Art from 2014 to 2016 and later worked as a post-doctoral associate at Duke University. She obtained the William Bullock-FEMAM Chair Award in 2017 and the Fundación Jumex A.C. grant in the field of research from 2019 to 2020 with the project Community Museum and Reading Club of Sierra Hermosa. She is part of the work groups Biquini Wax EPS and Yacusis – the Sub-Critical Study Group.
Osvaldo Salerno is director of Museo del Barro in Asunción, Paraguay. A visual artist, architect, cultural manager and university lecturer, his professional field explores museography, museology, expography and curatorship. He co-founded Museo del Barro in 1979 and was a museologist at Museo de la Justicia de la Corte Suprema de Justicia de la República from 2007 to 2013, and general director for Heritage at the National Secretariat of Culture until 2018.
Manuel Segade is director of Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo (CA2M) in Móstoles, Madrid. He holds a degree in Art History and a Diploma of Advanced Studies from the University of Santiago de Compostela, and studied a post-graduate degree in Cultural and Visual Studies from the Arts and Humanities Research Council at the University of Leeds, UK. He also coordinated the programme of the Metronom Room at Fundació Rafael Tous d'Art Contemporani, in Barcelona, and has served as head curator at the Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea (CGAC) in Santiago de Compostela. He is the author of Narciso Fin de Siglo (Melusina, 2008), an essay on the construction of the body in the late 19th century.
Santiago Villanueva is in charge of the Area of Expanded Influence at Nuevo Museo Energía de Arte Contemporáneo, La Ene, Buenos Aires. He also curated the series Bellos Jueves at Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes and was a pedagogical curator at the Museo de Arte Moderno in the same city. He is the editor of the journal Segunda época and, with Fernanda Laguna and Rosario Zorraquín, coordinated the project 2019 Spazio de arte.
Hortensia Völckers is an artistic director and a member the Executive Board of Kulturstiftung des Bundes en Halle an der Saale (Germany). She was a member of the curatorship team at documenta X in Kassel and was part of the supervisory committee at the Vienna Festival. Under her direction, Kulturstiftung des Bundes has launched a number of new programmes, for instance Agents for Creative Schools, TRAFO – Models for Culture in Transformation, 360° – Fund for New City Cultures y hochdrei – Changing City Libraries, where socially relevant themes are explored, such as migration, cities with a diminishing population, the culture of sustainability, the future of work and cultural education.
Tuesday, 25 February 2020 / Museo Reina Sofía. Nouvel Building, Auditorium 200
Presentation by Ana Longoni (director of the Museo Reina Sofía’s Public Activities Department and Study Centre) and Lía Colombino (director of the indigenous art collection at Museo del Barro, Asunción, Paraguay).
4:30pm – 6:30pm
The Museum as a Sounding Board
Participants: Pablo Martínez, Magda Lipska and Gustavo Ortiz Serrano
Coordinated by: Gloria Cortés
7pm – 9pm
Participants: Marian Pastor Roces, Natalia de la Rosa and Hortensia Völckers
Coordinated by: André Mesquita
Wednesday, 26 February 2020 / ARCOmadrid. IFEMA, Pavilion 9, Auditorium Forum
12:30pm – 3pm
Museums as an Artist’s Project
Participants: Inés Katzenstein, Miguel López and Cuauhtémoc Medina
Coordinated by: Carla Pinochet
Thursday, 27 February 2020 / ARCOmadrid. IFEMA, Pavilion 9, Auditorium Forum
12:30pm – 3pm
The Museum Outside Itself
Participants: Max Hinderer, Osvaldo Salerno and Manuel Segade
Coordinated by: Santiago Villanueva