“Spain”

Centre Pompidou Malaga: three years down the track

On the strength of its success, the Centre Pompidou Malaga, inaugurated in March 2015 and initially set up for a five-year period, recently had its stay in Spain extended until 2025. A progress report on its first three years and a review of a pilot project in favour of cultural decentralisation. Rumours had been flying around the streets of the Andalusian city for several weeks, but it was on 20 February that they were confirmed by Serge Lasvignes, president of the Centre Pompidou, and Francisco de la Torre, the mayor of Malaga. The inaugural planting of the Parisian museum overseas was an experiment. And after three years of operations, the assessment of the Centre Pompidou Malaga is highly satisfactory, resulting in an extension of the project and the prospect of new ones. Two branches will shortly emerge in Brussels and Shanghai. Museums proliferate in Malaga… Home to 570,000 inhabitants, the city contains no less than 36 museums, including the Museo Picasso, the Museo Carmen Thyssen and the first branch of the Russian Art Museum of Saint Petersburg, inaugurated in the same week as the Centre Pompidou’s Spanish site. This multiplication of art institutions is partially explained by the mayor’s policy, making access to culture a priority. By taking this stand, Francisco de la Torre hopes to boost tourism and bring economic vitality back to Malaga, a city heavily affected by the crisis. To finance the Centre Pompidou project, the municipality paid over 7 millions euros and committed to pay 1.5 million euros every year to the Parisian institution, for use of its image and exhibition design. Museum strategy as a cultural and economic springboard is an appealing idea in itself, but not always adapted to every spot. In the case of Malaga, it seems realistic. As Picasso’s city of...

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The Hermitage opens in Barcelona

The Hermitage Museum is to open a new space in Barcelona in 2019. The building’s construction has been conferred to architect Íñigo Amézola and will be located on the city’s seafront, in a new district being built to welcome hotels and new marinas. $43 million in private donations need to be gathered to finance the whole project. With a space of over 37,000 m2, spread out over five floors, the new museum will offer seven exhibition galleries. Targeting to draw 500,000 visitors per year, the director of the future museum, Jorge Wagensberg, insists that the institution will not be a simple franchise of the well-known Russian museum but will allow creation of a “continuous dialogue between science and art, highlighting both what unites and what distinguishes them, using modern scientific museology, a unique combination of parts, and (phenomenological) and museological...

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Louise Bourgeois, Inner Experience

Until 4 September 2016, the Guggenheim Bilbao is hosting the exhibition “Louise Bourgeois. Structures of Existence: The Cells”, paying homage to the work that haunted the artist in the last twenty years of her life. Louise Bourgeois didn’t tend to make concessions. For her, “space does not exist. It is a metaphor constructed to structure our existences.” It was in this mind-set of denial that she designed, in the last twenty years of her life, her Cells: her own metaphor for space. The Cells are complex works. According to Julienne Lorz, curator of the exhibition along with Petra Joos, they “are located in the indeterminate space between museography, staging, atmosphere creation and installation; a sculptural entity that, on this scale and on this formal level, has no equivalents in the history of art”. “Louise Bourgeois. Structures of Existence: The Cells” is an exhibition that has no equivalent either, so much so does it call for superlatives. For the exhibition, the Haus der Kunst in Munich and the Guggenheim Bilbao gathered 28 of these architectural spaces that are so impressive for their dimensions and their evocativeness. Gathering all the pieces was a tour de force. Julienne Lorz recalls: “This exhibition is unique for the diversity of lenders and the complexity of its installation. It’s certain that we won’t be able to see another such event again for dozens of years.” The works come from diverse collections: the Easton Foundation and the Louise Bourgeois Trust, of course, but also the National Gallery of Canada, the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma (Helsinki), the Daskalopoulos collection, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Centre Pompidou, and numerous private collections. Seeing these works gathered is a rare event, and it is incidentally the first time that Cells I to VI have been reunited since they...

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Why is the Prado keeping its Bosch works?

The Prado (Madrid) has decided to cancel its prospective loan of two paintings by Hieronymus Bosch (The Cure of Folly and The Temptation of St. Anthony) for a retrospective dedicated to the artist at the Noordbrabants Museum in his birth town, ’s-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands — “Hieronymus Bosch – Visions of genius” closes may 8, 2016. This turnaround follows conclusions published by the Bosch Research and Conservation Project, directed by Jos Koldeweij and Matthijs Ilsink, co-curators of the exhibition to be held at the Noordbrabants Museum, who attribute these two paintings to the artist’s workshop or a disciple, and not the artist himself. The Prado contests the validity of this conclusion, denouncing it as being based on “extremely subjective stylistic aspects”, and accuses the Noordbrabants Museum of breaking with the conditions of the agreement regarding the loan. The exhibition bodes to be one of the most important ones to be devoted to the master of the Flemish Renaissance as it has gathered 17 of the artist’s 24 known works. The two museums committed to collaborating in the organisation of the exhibition in 2008 before this affair brought tension to their relationship. The Noorbrabandts Museum will nonetheless be hosting two other works loaned by the Prado, a copy of Bosch and the Haywain Triptych, announced as the exhibition’s major attraction, and featured on the cover of the exhibition...

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The Prado acquires a Fra Angelico

The Prado Museum (Madrid) recently acquired a major Renaissance work: The Virgin with a Pomegranate, a tempera on a panel produced in the 15th century by Guido di Pietro, also known as Fra Angelico. The painting in question was one of the last by Fra Angelico to still be held by a private individual — the Duchesse of Alba who died in 2014. The Prado Museum announced this acquisition on 20 January in a press release. The painting is said to be in a remarkable state of preservation. The transaction amounted to €18 million and includes a personal donation from the heir to the Duchess of Alba, her elder son Carlos Fitz-James Stuart y Martínez de Irujo — a small panel recently attributed to Fra Angelico by the Prado...

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