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MNCARS and the return of the caravels


15 December 2012
Zabala. “Revisar/Censurar”, 1974

MNCARS and the return of the caravels

A few days ago the Foundation Museo Reina Sofía presented a project to the media that had been foreseen since the arrival of Manuel Borja-Villel as the director of MNCARS. What also didn´t catch us unprepared was the passing of the regulatory law that grants it greater autonomy in its management, a fact that will set in motion the task of capturing those longed for private resources. Once they are found, advantage has been taken of this opportunity to establish the basis for a network that can offer the institution a lot more room for manoeuvre, reaching out to make various Hispano-American cultural agents active participants. The cure, for the lack of economic investment by the State, will come supplied by collectors from the other side of the ocean (plus Helga de Alvear and Juan Abelló). What is more, this foundation aims to become the seed of a Network of Museums of the South: the money and works that are donated will be organised into a digital archive and various exhibitions to be shown in the Reina Sofia and in a few museums in South America (presumably in the cities of the investing collectors). The collaboration with study centres and universities is another of its objectives.

The problem lies in the fact that until now communication between MNCARS and the universities has been characterised by silence more than words. What has been lacking is a common sharing of initiatives that on the one hand would manage to humanize the museum and on the other inject this large dose of reality that is lacking in university teaching. At some point, Manuel Borja-Villel declared that it would be good to carry out such an association but that “the university structure is not very permeable”. If the perception is still the same, and that therefore who he is addressing is foreign universities, we will be losing the opportunity to escape the archaic, academic, black hole that part of the educational institution has fallen into, dragging its students with it. But it is not a problem that affects only the university. The non-existent collaboration between cultural institutions within our own frontiers is a huge burden that continues to pursue us and that nobody seems to want to stop; it seems it is much easier to deal with Chile than with Badajoz.

The MNCARS foundation (with its future Network of Museums of the South) is a colossal project, in proportion to the needs of the museum-city that Manuel Borja-Villel directs. We will all end up benefiting from the investment in art that is made, enjoying works and artists little known in our continent, that will introduce new outlooks and realities into the context of our coexistence with Latin America. However, those who are going to charter the boat ought to ensure that the crew is happy so that internal mutinies don’t arise, as reflected, for example, by the complaint made by the unions represented at MNCARS (28 November of this year).

It is time to rectify the errors, to start from scratch uniting theory and praxis. For this foundation to foment the creation of cognitive capital and be really open to society, where the exchange of experience is enriching not just for being announced, but for being received.

How strange is fate. These countries that in a distant past were conquered and plundered by Spain, will have to come to our rescue. Now they are the ones who will culturally colonize us, responding to our call. Now it is Spaniards who are once again grabbing their suitcases to head for the Americas.

Alba Benavent is an eternal apprenticeship. An art historian, she observes the artistic world under a curious as well as analytical look. Research has always been his favorite subject. With a restless mind, almost as much as his feet, he proposes to make the intricacies of the artistic bar from the reflection around the different performances of his agents more accessible. She writes the blog elchiringuitodelarte.

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