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Barcelona: Art centres


11 February 2012

Barcelona: Art centres

After the meeting of the Delegated Commission of MACBA, the agreements, between Macba, the Generalitat (Regional Government) and the Ajuntament (Town Council), that reorganize the map of art institutions in Barcelona, have finally been made public: the Canòdrom will no longer be the site of a future Barcelona Art Centre and Moritz Kung will not be its director; Fabra y Coats will house this future Barcelona Art Centre, without fixed leadership but with a curatorial committee, that will decide on the content; and it will all depend on Macba, which will also take over La Virreina, the FAD building when the FAD moves to its new headquarters in Les Glories, la Capella and part of the CCCB.

One has to remember that the clamour for the Canòdrom to become the site for the Barcelona Art Centre had not always been seen as a good option. While the Canòdrom as the site of this future centre seemed to be a fact certified by the Generalitat and Ajuntament of Barcelona, what was still questioned was the role of the Centre d’Art Santa Mònica, reformulated after the resignation of Ferran Barenblit, with the post being given to Vicenç Altaió, without a public competition. The fact is that with the new denomination, the position of Arts Santa Mònica, given the budget cuts, is now in danger. It is worth calling for this space not to be lost as well.

Ultimately those in charge of the administrations have not really handled the subject of the Canòdrom very well. It began with little conviction in an attempt to please the sector after its revindications over the Santa Mònica affair (the need for it to be an art centre, after an open call for its director). A few years have been spent beating around the bush and above all its director, Moritz Küng, selected from a competition, with a project that he has not been able to define or defend. In the meantime, much time, energy and money have been lost.

If up until now the network of art institutions was dependent on the local administration, it seems it will now be dependent on Macba. However, one sole institution doesn’t create a rich tapestry, this is created through diversity. Promoting and reflecting this diversity implies extending the range of options, opening up to different agents, generating projects, visibility and exchange with other agents in a global debate.

With all the time and money that has been lost in the process the current plan needs to optimise any investments. The dependence of all the institutions on just one eliminates the politics of open calls, but this should not also imply the renunciation of its democratisation and diversity. For this however much the Ajuntament, the Generalitat and Macba may talk of biodiversity (sic), neither in one sense or another, is it a good sign that the more specific information in La Vanguardia, states with regard to the programme of Fabra y Coats that it “will be run by a ” curatorial committee” made up of representatives from Macba, the Virreina Centre de la Imatge and la Capella in calle Hospital, which will programme at least three exhibitions a year”.

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