Last Monday the Museum presented its new programme for the 2009/2010 season in an incomparable location – the renovated Las Meninas Room.
Before presenting the program and the exhibitions calendar, the Director, Pepe Serra, stressed two basic ideas that underpin the Museum’s lines of actuation. Firstly, the idea of complexity and heterogeneity: ‘We must bear in mind that audiences have changed and diversified a great deal while museums have remained very static,‘ Pepe Serra said at the press conference. Society has changed and museums need to evolve accordingly. Hence the need for critical reflection in order to make the Museum’s programmes more complex and more heterogeneous, offering different things, but always on the basis of a project, with each one contributing value.
Secondly, he outlined the need to revise the concept of the exhibition. The big productions, very expensive and short-lived, do not always make sense. There are a number of options for achieving a quality production and the exhibition is not always the most appropriate: the best thing may be a publication, a seminar, etc. Rather than be a slave to a certain rhythm of exhibitions, the Museu Picasso wants to put on shows that offer new knowledge and have added value. The new programme aims to rethink Picasso and place him in context, look at him from the present, put forward new narratives and tie in with the concept of creation. Therefore, in addition to big shows, the exhibition programme is opting for a regular series of small- and medium-format temporary interventions in the collection itself and collaborative ventures with living artists as two of the first steps in this direction.
From right to left, Barcelona City Council’s Delegate for Culture, Jordi Martí, and the Director of the Museu Picasso, Pepe Serra, making the presentation in the Las Meninas Room. Photo: Europa Press
The exhibition “Secret Images. Picasso and Japanese Erotic Prints” will mark the start of the new season at the Museum on November 5. This will be the first ever public showing of a large part of Picasso’s collection of Japanese prints, and without doubt a novel contribution to our understanding of him, discovering a surprising and illuminating dialogue between his work and that of the Japanese artists.
On the left, ‘Raphael and Fornarina. XXIII: alone, embracing on the ground’ by Pablo Picasso. Mougins, September 8, 1968 [III] © Museu Picasso, Barcelona 2009. Photo: Gasull Fotografia. © Estate of Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid, 2009. On the right, ‘Erotic Scene’, attributed to Katsukawa Shuncho, c. 1789-1801. Private collection.
From May to September, “Rusiñol-Picasso”, an exhibition with a more local flavour, will offer new insights into Picasso’s relationship and connections with one of the people that most influenced him during his youth: Santiago Rusiñol. The show is being organized jointly with the Cau Ferrat museum in Sitges, which will make its entire collection available for this exhibition. Based on the thesis developed by the show’s curator, Eduard Vallès, in his recently published “Picasso y Rusiñol. El cruce de la modernidad”, the exhibition will explore the nature of the reciprocal influence between the two artists.
On the left, The Park of the Moulin de la Galette/Courtyard in Montmartre by Santiago Rusiñol. Paris, 1891. Museu Cau Ferrat, Sitges. © Santiago Rusiñol, VEGAP, Barcelona, 2009. On the right, Portrait of Santiago Rusiñol by Pablo Picasso. Barcelona, 1899-1900. © Museu Picasso, Barcelona 2009 AHCBAF. © Estate of Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid 2009.
And in October we open our doors for the major exhibition of the season, which will analyse the influence of Degas on the work of Pablo Picasso. This will be an exceptional opportunity to appreciate the extent to which the French artist was important to Picasso. Barcelona will have the privilege of being the only European city to host this one-of-a-kind show, which will only be presented at the Clark Art Institute de Massachussetts and the Museu Picasso, and will allow us to see works that have never loaned out before: a rare luxury made possible by a very thorough body of research.
The Dance Class by Edgar Degas, c. 1880, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute.
Reflecting the network of links between Picasso and Catalonia, in October we will have the opportunity to see the first album of photographs that Picasso made in Horta de Sant Joan. The exhibition is part of the celebrations marking the centenary of the artist’s second stay in Horta.
And, in furtherance of new lines of work relating to the creative process, from January to May the Museum will host an artist’s project by Rodney Graham. The Canadian artist will present “Possible Abstractions”, created especially for the Museum on the occasion of the major retrospective at the MACBA, and will show his series of paintings “Picasso, My Master”.
Of note among the educational and social functions performed by the Museum, the second edition of the postgraduate course ‘Rethinking Picasso’ will be presented by leading international specialists and introduce a new generation to the research field; the work of the Education department, now in its second year of existence, has met with a highly enthusiastic reception, and this academic year the department is expanding its scope; finally, there is a wide range of activities to appeal to all tastes and interests.
Before concluding the presentation of this new season, the director drew attention to the deployment of the Museu Picasso on Web 2.0 and its immersion in the social networks, where it has already begun to generate interest and discussion, as readers of the blog are no doubt already aware! We will, of course, continue to work on and improve it in the future.
What do you think of the programming we’re offering at the Museum? What do you think is missing?