The Gulbenkian Foundation's annual agenda is a celebration of culture in many areas, and perhaps for that reason has quietly passed the 50th anniversary of the Gulbenkian Museum this fall. With a collection of about six thousand works of art that help tell the history of the world, from Ancient Egypt to the first decades of the twentieth century, this space is unavoidable in the cultural itinerary of Lisbon, being internationally recognized. The Art on Display: Ways to Exhibit 1949-69 exhibition marks the milestone date and is curated by the museum's director, Penelope Curtis. The British historian left the management of Tate Britain and moved from London to Lisbon to take over the management of the Gulbenkian Museum in the fall of 2015. At most, Penelope Curtis drew a picture of the institution's role in the past, present and future of Portuguese society. .
In the 50 years of the Gulbenkian Museum, what is your assessment of the work of this institution and its role in Portugal?
The Museum celebrated its 50th anniversary this fall. Although it opened in 1969, it was planned from the time the Foundation started in 1956. This means that it is more of a 1950s than a 1969 building and perhaps this explains its longevity. What I wanted to explore in the research I did and the exhibition we did (Art on Display: Ways to Exhibit 1949-69) is the nature of your design and begin to understand better why visitors like coming here so much. This was also, for me, a strong incentive to accept this work (as director of the Gulbenkian Museum).
What made you then decide to run the Gulbenkian Museum?
The Foundation is much more than the Museum. But it was the Museum that worried Gulbenkian himself most, and it was probably because he wanted to keep the collection together that it never went to London or Washington, as he had come to wish. Portugal has benefited greatly from the fact that the Foundation has its base here and this has meant that it is necessary and sensible to update the Museum and make it relevant for today. In addition, as it has been little changed over the years, it has acquired the role of time capsule, which makes it even more difficult to change. Introducing new technologies, for example, is not easy in an environment that was built for a simpler yet more physical world. As a foreigner, I note that the Portuguese want to see the Foundation change, as well as to remain the same. This is a puzzle to me!
What would you like your legacy at the Gulbenkian Museum to be for the future?
I consider that I had a role in this transition from the Museum to the 21st century as a space that recognizes its wider context in a changing world. This was, in fact, the clear message from the original team and I hope that we will now be seen as being once again available for the sake of making art more accessible and more relevant to the general public and the public. disadvantaged society in particular. Bringing the two collections together was, for me, a license to have living artists responding to the founder's collection and his own position as a transnational figure.
The art of exhibiting is constantly changing. Today, in addition to traditional fine art exhibitions, there are also content and ways of exhibiting that are greatly influenced by technology. How do you see the next 50 years of the museum?
Fifty years is not a long time for a museum, yet the Gulbenkian (Museum) makes it seem like it has always been there. It is very well integrated in its context. For me, the issue is not to introduce new technologies or not, but to focus on the content that is at the "heart" of collections, which need not be about luxury and elites, but also about everyday life. and other broader issues, to communicate with a wider range of people. The museum is young, but it can look old. We have been looking for ways to touch on difficult subjects, including colonialism, migration and identity, and the Collection is wonderfully helpful. The combination of modern and old collections allows us to ask new questions and to continually be part of the contemporary world.
Art on Display: Ways to Exhibit 1949-69
Where? Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Main Gallery, Lisbon
When? Until March 2, 2020
Live and in color
The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is the scene of a special project, which he called Operation Night Watch, which consists in the restoration of Rembrandt's The Night Watch, dating from 1642, and whose process is open to the public. . The restoration, which began on July 8 and is due to be determined, is the largest research and conservation project in this work and has three phases: preparation, research to assess the state of the work and finally , the restoration. The work is being done inside a glass chamber in the museum gallery and the public can watch outside as well as follow everything on the museum's website.
In the feminine
Portuguese photographer Alfredo Cunha celebrates 50 years of career with a retrospective of over 60 photographs of women of different ages and cultures, captured in 20 countries. The exhibition The Women's Time is on display at the Lisbon Museum – Torreão Poente (at Praça do Comércio) until January 31, 2020. The photographer's images are accompanied by texts by Maria Antónia Palla and this exhibition contains only a selection of the content of a book by the same name as the Chinese Ink publisher, which was released in November.
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