The living museum

Santiago Iturralde
A veces un cerebro y ningún ojo, a veces un ojo y ningún cerebro [Sometimes a Brain and No Eye, Sometimes an Eye and No Brain], 2019
Óleo y lápiz sobre tela [Oil and pencil on canvas]
35 x 130 cm

What is the mission of a modern and contemporary art museum faced with a scenario like the one we are living through? How to redesign its modus operandi in order to bring home the fact that a museum is much more than its buildings, galleries and exhibitions? How to bring the hundreds of researches and proposals produced by the museum to the public at large? What is the role of the museum’s curators, conservators, producers, publishers and educators, the chief interlocutors of artists and museum-goers? What is the towering role of the artist at this time?

The quarantine imposed by COVID-19 calls on museums to reflect and galvanise beyond their doors in order to meet the needs of the communities to which, in our own case at the Moderno, the community of Argentinian artists and society as a whole – the vast majority of whom today are at home – owe their existence. We are facing a global crisis ridden with distress and uncertainty. What is the role of culture – a fundamental right of people – in times like these? What is the role of imagination and creativity? What role can artists from all disciplines play, alongside museums and art centres committed to the mission of bringing these artists’ creations to the most diverse audiences?

This week the Moderno is inviting different artists, educators and cultural intellectuals to share their works, creations and thoughts in order to shed light on the here and now, and to present their vision of the museum’s role today and what the museum of the future should look like. What will museums be like when they reopen? What strategies will they deploy to provide spaces for their employees and visitors to learn and enjoy in safety and security? How, post-pandemic, do we become healing, linstitutions? Could we – all the museums together – encourage the development of a society that is more caring, more diverse and inclusive, more accessible, more sustainable and ecological, more egalitarian and – why not – more feminist? What are the values we want to share through culture and bring to the whole of society?

Victoria Noorthoorn