The role of museums in the 21st century is a matter of debate. It can not be otherwise because the future of art is at stake as the key element in the liberation of the scourges of the past. When a society assumes the challenge of finding an accommodation for its museums, it chooses one option among many others. The work of cultural journalism is to offer information about these options and draw attention to their social importance. In this regard I will begin by highlighting the conclusions drawn from the multiple exposure that takes place these days and until the end of the year in the French city of Lille, where the Eurocentric point of view has been removed, displacing the old centers of interest with new ones that raise the cultural fusion in a topic of special relevance, Eldorado, with Mexico as guest guest since, for the migrants of this country who daily cross the Rio Grande, the United States is their Eldorado.
What conclusions has been reached? First, the confirmation that the complementary work of the museums is the best way to prevent a city from falling into oblivion; second, that this work rests on new ideas, projects and shared hopes; and third, that there are cities that bet on museums as there are cities that bet on festivals, music, film, theater, literature or history.
In cities that opt for museums, living, enabling, creating their urban environment means doing so through the museum synergies where the public budget is combined with private capital. It is effective? Good question. But the answer is affirmative. Well it's not just Lille, so are Marseille, Nantes, and other cities in France that are reaching visibility thanks to the impetus that comes from the concept of musealized city; in Spain the case of Bilbao is exemplary. Thanks to the Guggenheim Museum, the necessary synergies were created to transform a city whose economy was based on blast furnaces and related industries.
Twinning museums is a trend. Duplicate, inaugurate, institute R & D centers. From creating a clone with repeated works of art, original and copy, as in Lascaux in France, Altamira in Spain, to replicate a museum in other countries, the Picasso Museum is in Paris, Barcelona or Malaga; the Louvre Museum in Paris, Lens or Abu Dhabi, the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Amsterdam and, predictably, Barcelona. There are many more cases. It is an original way of making, producing, creating and inventing museum discourses in different, even distant, geographies.
There is also the possibility of merging a strictly tourist plan with a work of art by a master, it is what could be called the show museum. For example, the latest invention of the Louvre has been an association with Airbnb to spend a night as a couple in front of La Gioconda. The prize was won by a British woman after answering the question "why should you be the person selected to spend a night in front of La Gioconda?". And when he won, he took a spritz with his boyfriend on a sofa in front of the portrait of Leonardo Da Vinci. In the future world, there are decisions that assume risks, such as considering the patrimony subject of a contest is to understand the museum as the area of evasion of a society.
"The future of museums goes beyond the permanent collection," says Diane Drubay, founder of We Are Museums, a company that organizes an international event on the future of museums. At present, there has been interest in exhibitions about minorities or the graphic language of the silent majority. Between art and anthropology, the reality of slavery or the complaints of the oppressed of history is shown. Postcolonial discourses are effective because they explain, assign and delimit an exhibition space. Societies silenced by the effect of a Eurocentric story become visible to the public.
This approach has freed ethnological museums from the colonial memory, as has the Musée des Arts Premières de Quai Branly. There are samples that support the renovation, such as that of the Musée d'Orsay on the black Model in painting, from Géricault to Matisse. The Liverpool experience of the International Slavery Museum, inaugurated in 2007 on the occasion of the second centenary of the abolition of slavery, or the exhibition planned for 2020 at the Rijksmuseum, where slavery is an integral part of European history
There is also the challenge of "letting the subordinate speak," an expression used by Gayari Spivak to address the world of women. Since the creation of the first museum dedicated to women in 1945, the National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House, in Rochester, USA, many have been made, but not enough and at the moment with Western dominion; in North America there are 29, in Europe, 27, but only 5 in South America, while in Asia there are only 11, in Oceania 3, and 4 in Africa.
There are many perspectives open to the future. From turning the museum into a healing space, like the Museum of Fine Arts of Montreal, a pioneer in artistic therapy, which implements a program of "museum recipes" for free visits, until the museum becomes a space of sociability as does the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, promoting "useful art" for the community, with free meals every Thursday. We have the possibility of making museums "vital actors in the evolution of society", says Diane Drubay, or "the best allies of new technologies", as Emma Lavgne suggests, because "augmented reality (digital images added to a real work) is a creative tool for the artist. " But is that art? The debate is still open. For this shift in the function of museums loaded with good intentions but with debatable results culminates with the use of information technology to resolve sensations so that companies such as IBM develop logarithms, so that their potential clients experience the same sensations as those who visit a website. museum without having to get up from the sofa of their houses.
In any case, the future is to recover the public's fascination with masterpieces, says Emma Lavigne, president of the Center Pompidou in Metz: in the future, where the power of digital imaging will be important, people will go to museums to see the works of art "in their real dimension". It is about betting on an educational function, which happens, according to Philippe Bélaval, president of the Center des Monuments Nationaux, to define "the role we want to give to authenticity in perceptions". This role will attract young people who are enthusiastic about reading and digital media, as long as a flexible schedule is achieved, as the Center Pompidou Metz proposes with Night in the Museum, linked to the exhibition Painting at night.
In short, what is the challenge of museums in the 21st century? In 2017, Audrey Azoulay, then Minister of Culture of the Hollande government, said that the biggest challenge was to turn them into "the common house of contact with society." In that we are.